Captain Marvel and Avengers: End Game

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A few more Marvel movies have come out since I last did a review of them. I don’t have much to say about Ant-Man and the Wasp, other than it’s absolutely hilarious. Probably the funniest movie Marvel has ever done. It felt like I was laughing through pretty much every scene.

Turning to Captain Marvel, I liked that it took place in the 1990s as that’s the decade I personally have the most nostalgia for. I loved that some of my favorite bands such as Elastica, Garbage, and Hole were on the soundtrack. I was disappointed that they showed posters for bands like P.J. Harvey and Smashing Pumpkins, but didn’t play their music. Also, the fact Captain Marvel wears a Nine Inch Nails shirt for half the movie, but they don’t play a single Nine Inch Nails song felt like a tease. (Did they really need two R.E.M. songs? Couldn’t one of these have been Nine Inch Nails or P.J. Harvey instead?)

I was also nostalgic for other aspects of the movie as well. There’s a scene that takes place in a Blockbuster Video (for those too young to remember, people used to physically go to stores to rent movies) and another scene takes place in an internet cafe (not everybody had internet access back in the 1990s, so you’d go somewhere like this if you wanted to use the internet). I even caught myself feeling nostalgic for the Windows 95 icons.

Unfortunately, the humor also felt like 90s humor, which is to say, the jokes were old. The running gag about aliens being afraid of a cat felt like the sort of thing you’d see on a 90s (or even 80s) sitcom. Also, the final showdown between Captain Marvel and the main villain had what I think of as a Joss Whedon moment (he did his best work in the late 90s and early 2000s). The movie leads you to expect an epic battle, but instead Captain Marvel just casually shoots him. (Come to think of it, this isn’t really a Joss Whedon moment, so much as an Indiana Jones moment, making the joke even older.) But I guess if you haven’t seen these jokes before, they’re new to you.

I really liked the message of empowerment at the end. I initially thought of this as a girl power moment, but thinking back on it, it’s a moment of empowerment that fits for anyone who’s been told they’re weak and useless their whole life, but keep getting back up anyway.

You can’t help but compare Captain Marvel to Wonder Woman. While it’s totally subjective, I didn’t find Captain Marvel to be as fun as Wonder Woman was. I also didn’t find Brie Larson as compelling as Gal Gadot, but again, this is a subjective call.

I’ve also seen Avengers: Endgame recently. Just as in the previous movie, I wonder why the Time Stone by itself isn’t all you need to win. Seriously, just go back in time over and over until everything works out the way you want it to. Or even use it to freeze time so your enemies can do nothing to stop you. Why didn’t Doctor Strange use it to defeat Thanos the same way he defeated the villain in his stand alone movie? There’s some quantum-this quantum-that explanation for why you can’t do that. Eh, time travel movies never make sense. Like The Lego Movie 2 says, it’s best to just go with it and not think too hard.

The original six Avengers get most of the screen time in Endgame. Time travel allows them to revisit previous movies in the franchise which was fun. Iron Man and Thor both get to have a heart-to-heart with a dead parent. Captain America gets to see the love of his life again. They do something different with The Hulk. Hawkeye turns evil but it’s okay for some reason and Black Widow holds the team together. As you’d expect, they end up bringing back (almost) everyone who died in Infinity War (and the one notable absence is getting a show on Disney’s new streaming service, so he eventually gets to come back to life as well).

Although to make up for all the death reversals, a couple characters do end up dying in (supposedly) final ways. (If you haven’t seen the movie yet and you’re curious who died, just look up which actors’ contracts weren’t renewed.) Marvel giveth, and Marvel taketh away. The character deaths didn’t choke me up personally, because, well, this is a universe in which anyone can come back to life whenever they feel like it. I guess the deaths are supposed to be permanent this time around, but once a movie franchise brings people back to life, killing people off never feels like a big deal again.

I didn’t find Endgame that funny, either, although there were a few fun jokes (especially from Ant-Man). Endgame is probably the darkest Marvel movie since the Blade trilogy. (Are they trying to be DC now?) It was also strange that Natalie Portman got an end credit splash page for a movie she didn’t appear in.

The Marvel universe is still pretty full of white guys, but it looks like they’re going to start to correct that going forward. (Maybe.) It was disappointing that Captain Marvel didn’t get more of a role to play fresh off her own movie. There was a very contrived moment during the final battle in which all the female characters fought alongside each other which just felt like pandering.

And why did Gamora just abandon Nebula after the final battle? The relationship between the two sisters is a major part of the movie, but they apparently don’t so much as say goodbye to each other when all is said and done. Quill seems to be more broken up over Gamora’s disappearance than Nebula is.

This movie contained both a major male and major female death. The man got a funeral and a lot of people crying over him. The woman didn’t. What’s up with that?

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