In my last write-up on Captain Marvel, I made it abundantly clear just how boring I considered the plot and characters. I attributed this largely to weak writing, which resulted in our hero, Carol Danvers, coming across as a generic super-person with no distinctive background that makes her compelling. There’s more than a handful of problems that arise from this issue that go beyond the big screen. However, I wanted to focus on a big challenge that Avengers: Endgame now faces with the addition of Captain Marvel to the MCU. (WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD)
But we still need to get this out of the way because it’s such a huge elephant in the room: Captain Marvel is no more feminist propaganda than Superman is White Powerful Male Vitality propaganda. Both are overpowered indestructible super-people who have been characterized as gaining immense power via circumstances largely out of their control. One is marketed towards girls, the other to boys, simple as that. Sure, Carol Danvers comes off at times as overly snarky, and some of Brie Larson’s virtue signaling interviews were a bit cringe (which may have had an impact on her portrayal given how much publicity she received, but who knows and who cares). I don’t think any of this detracts from the fact that this is at the end of the day a Disney-forged MCU film. It has the same beats as the rest of the anthology, just more generic.
And that’s why I’m now nervous for Endgame. We had the perfect setup for the final Avengers movie: 50% of the universe wiped out, despair everywhere, and the only hope for the future falls in the hands of a handful of defeated characters. However, we’ve grown to know and love our original heroes over the course of dozens of films. Marvel played their cards extremely well in developing what would have otherwise been heroes that we’d loose interest in before the second wave of films even came around. As a result, The Russo Brothers were able to tackle the challenge of cramming a bunch of superheroes into Avengers: Infinity War without having to devote a ton of time on character building. The end product was an excellent stepping stone for what I anticipated as a truly epic finale.
Then we got the end credit scene to Captain Marvel. Our downtrodden heroes look miserably defeated as they impatiently wait for any spark of hope. Then BAM: Carol Danvers literally just shows up, having descended from the cosmos like Space Jesus, looking more determined than ever to kick some serious butt. We now know that The Avengers, once a hodge-podge of motivated heroes with a mix of odd abilities, now has the most physically powerful tool possible to defeat Thanos, and they were basically just handed this ability on a silver platter. Carol can vaporize people and fly through starships and laser her way through nearly every obstacle. She gained these immense powers after one short, bland film, and shows up as a near-goddess without the audience having benefited from watching her character develop in any way.
The bottom line with Endgame is I don’t want to see Captain Marvel just slamming her fist through everything and totally saving the day. Obviously there’s the huge problem of 50% of the universe being killed, and I’m sure The Russo Brothers have devised a clever way for our main heroes to figure out how to rectify this. But Superman, in my mind, has always been the most uninteresting aspect of the DC Universe, because he pretty much can do it all without limitations. Marvel now has it’s own Superman, except she doesn’t even have to worry about kryptonite. If they want to make Endgame just as compelling and interesting as Infinity War, they’ll need to use her judiciously, lest the film become generic action sludge. Am I actually that concerned that Endgame is going to suck? Eh, not really, I think I trust The Russo Brothers enough to ensure that doesn’t happen. But at the same time, Captain Marvel (regardless of if she was a woman or man) seems like an unnecessary and uninteresting addition to the MCU that’ll hamper future interesting plot developments more than benefit them.