Captain Marvel – A Trailer, A Hunch

Okay so obviously I know the Captain Marvel trailer(s) came out before the one for Avengers: Endgame.  And, in the wake of my feelings on Avengers: Infinity War, I’ve been pretty open about being more excited for Captain Marvel than Avengers 4.  So you may be wondering why, pray tell, didn’t I write about this trailer when it came out?  Well, when I watched it I had a feeling and this feeling informed what I wanted to write.  However, to write what I wanted to write, I needed to see if my hunch played out and for that I needed to see the Avengers 4 trailer.  Now, having basked in the glory and excitement of both the Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame trailers, I’m ready to talk about our first look(s) at Carol Danvers cinematic debut!

Before we go any further, as usual, here’s the trailer again so you can watch it for the bazillionth time.

Since we have two trailers for Captain Marvel at this point, let’s watch the second again too.  Okay?  Okay.

Alright, now on the subject of repeated views, have you watched either of these Captain Marvel trailers as often as you have the one for Avengers: Endgame?  What about anyone you know?  I know I haven’t.  I haven’t obsessed over them half as much as I already have for Endgame either.

This was my hunch, after I watched the first Captain Marvel trailer.  It felt lackluster and a little generic.  I started to worry Marvel was on the road to making the same mistake DC/Warner Bros did with Wonder Woman and Justice League.  They poured far more into Justice League’s marketing while ignoring (relatively speaking) Wonder Woman.  Now Marvel’s given me two lackluster Captain Marvel trailers and worked to break the internet with Avengers: Endgame.

Now let me be clear.  I love Captain Marvel!  As a matter of fact, I love her so much she was the character I chose to spotlight in my 200th post!  Carol Danvers is funny and awkward and wonderful.  As superheroes go, she’s strong.  She’s fast too.  She can fly.  She can absorb energy and emit high intensity energy blasts.  She’s damn near invulnerable and has a pretty high gear healing factor to handle anything that doesn’t bounce off of her.  She could go toe-to-toe with Superman on his best day.  She’s one of Marvel’s heaviest hitters, power-wise, but she’s also a rich, emotionally complex character.

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Carol Danvers with Djimon Hounou’s Korath the Pursuer and a group of Kree warriors. / Photo Credit – Captain Marvel

In the comics, Carol takes on way more than she can manage, scared of letting anyone down and – superhuman abilities or not – pushes herself past her limit.  She won’t back down from any fight but she also doesn’t know how to say “no” to anyone either…even when she really needs to.  She’s a military woman, having reached the rank of Colonel in the United States Air Force.  She’s a recovering alcoholic.  She loves Star Wars so much she named her cat Chewie (yay!).  She’s bold, impulsive, and certainly not one for “feelings talk.”  She carries responsibility for everything on her shoulders and she feels she needs to right every wrong, stop every evil, and protect everyone all the time because (as she sees it) with her powers she can so it’s her job to do so.  That’s not healthy…but for better or worse there’s something all of us can relate to in her character.

She’s a brilliant, deeply human character.  I love her comic and I am so, so, so excited to see how Brie Larson brings her to life on screen.  I can’t wait to see what her cinematic incarnation is like!  However, I don’t think these trailers in and of themselves do anything to make us excited about meeting her.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say unless you a) already know and love Captain Marvel from reading her comics or b) just get really super excited about everything the MCU puts out just because it’s the MCU, there’s nothing in these trailers to get you excited about the film.  Without context, they’re just sort of…bland.

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Captain Marvel hunts Skrulls on a subway car…except no one outside of people who read the comics will know this is what’s happening. / Photo Credit – Captain Marvel

And we have no context!  When the first trailer dropped, I watched it in class with my students, as we do whenever an exciting trailer debuts.  As soon as Carol punches the little old lady on the bus they were gone.  They were laughing and joking and chaos erupted.  No one watched the rest of the trailer.  Now I loved the scene.  It points to the sinister nature of the Skrulls and their terrifying biological shapeshifting ability to become anyone.  As characters, they’re part Invasion of the Body Snatchers and part Red Scare with a dash of religious extremism thrown in for good measure.  But, unless you read the comics, NO ONE KNOWS THIS.  No one knows that little old lady on the bus is a Skrull.  No one knows what a Skrull is!  So all my students saw was Captain Marvel hitting a woman on the bus and they didn’t pay attention to much after that nor, I’d wager, did they remember much from their first view of the trailer outside of that.

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Photo Credit – Marvel Studios

I’ve had quite a few conversations since these trailers dropped with family, friends, coworkers, and students.  I’ve actively sought these conversations out too, asking people what they thought, as I’ve explored my hunch.  In every single conversation (excluding the ones with people who read and already love Captain Marvel) I hear the same thing.  “Who is this?”  “Why should I care?”  “This looks stupid.”  “This looks boring.”  “Who is she supposed to be?”  “Is this before Infinity War?  Is she going to be in Avengers 4?”

Marvel drags their feet for ten years before making a female-led superhero film because, as Kevin Feige said in his oft-quoted excuse they want to “get it right,” and we end up here?  I’m sure the movie itself will be incredible.  I can’t wait to see Captain Marvel soar into the MCU for the first time!  And ever since I began reading her comics, my excitement for the inevitable age when Captain America, Iron Man, and Black Widow step aside and Captain Marvel and Black Panther become the new center of the MCU has grown.  What will this age look like?!?  I want to know!

But Marvel’s just given us a cliché sci-fi/fantasy trailer.  We see aliens.  We see laser blasts.  We see banter.  We get no real sense of the characters.  We don’t see the Skrulls shapeshift nor are we told they can.  There’s no sense that Yon Rogg (Jude Law) is as classic a Captain Marvel villain as Doc Ock is for Spider-Man.  We hardly glean anything about Carol outside of the fact that she’s lost her memory.  In one of my favorite moments of the trailer Nick Fury tells her, “We have no idea what threats are out there.  We can’t do this alone.  We need you.”  That line should be chill-inducing but the trailer gives the uninitiated viewer no reason to get excited about herWhy do we need her??  Who even is she??  There’s nothing done to make us believe she is the only one who can save the day.  Nor is there anything to make us believe she can save the day when any other random MCU hero couldn’t.

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I’ve no idea what’s going on here but I CAN’T WAIT TO FIND OUT. / Photo Credit – Captain Marvel

It’s hard to see this as anything other than another example of Marvel lacking a fraction of the faith for their female heroes that they have in their male ones and/or understanding how to use them.  The fact that Black Widow didn’t get her solo debut by 2013 is inexcusable.  What a waste!  And while last summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp had the Wasp in the title, it still wasn’t her movie.  (I thought she stole the show!  I liked the movie a lot too.  I found it far superior to Avengers: Infinity War as it returned the focus to what Marvel does best, a character-driven superhero story.)  But even with the Wasp in the title and playing a central role, it was still primarily Scott’s journey.  I mean we have to wait (because Captain Marvel comes out in 2019) OVER TEN YEARS for a solo story with a female superhero?  C’mon.

Now we’re here.  This is important!  Captain Marvel is such an exciting character!  This should be a HUGE moment!  But it feels all but eclipsed by Avengers: Endgame right now and it doesn’t seem like Marvel is doing much to change that.  It’s disappointing.  And it makes me sad.

All this isn’t to say I didn’t see a lot to get excited about in these trailers!  I just don’t think Marvel’s doing a good job of getting anybody who isn’t already a fan of Captain Marvel excited about jumping on board.  They seem entirely focused on Avengers: Endgame, leaving Captain Marvel to do whatever it does.

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I’m not going to lie…I’m still more than a little surprised they used the helmet/mohawk look in the film. / Photo Credit – Captain Marvel

Personally, I’m really intrigued to see how they structure her origin in this film.  In the comics from the ’70s, Carol Danvers was a supporting character in the adventures of the alien Kree warrior Mar-Vell before inheriting his powers and taking up her own costume.  Judging from the trailers Mar-Vell appears (thankfully) absent.  I have no emotional ties to him as a character; Carol’s the only Captain Marvel I’ve ever known.  And I think he’d just make the story more convoluted.  My guess (and, as always, I read no spoilers) is that Carol ends up abducted by the Kree for some reason and raised among them, getting her powers and partial Kree DNA that way.  This would also explain what happened to her memories.  We shall see…

Also, even if they don’t do a great job explaining who and what they are to newbies in the trailer, I CANNOT WAIT to see the Skrulls show up in the MCU!  As a kid I loved the Skrulls :).  I loved how they looked – classic “invading alien” with their green faces and matching jumpsuits.  And the fact they could shapeshift gave them the potential to be so scary.  Also, while I don’t think we’ll see the likes of it in this movie, I loved the Super Skrull!  This was a Skrull warrior who didn’t just shapeshift but could mimic the powers of the entire Fantastic Four too.  He was such a badass!  Eventually the Skrulls created a race of Super Skrulls capable of mimicking the power of any superhero whose DNA they managed to steal a sample of.  So I am PUMPED to see these zealot warriors come to Earth.

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Forget Thanos’ Black Order.  The Skrulls are an ENTIRE RACE that wants to invade Earth! / Photo Credit – Captain Marvel

I can’t stop watching the scenes where Carol’s using her energy powers too!  Visually this looks like one of the most stunning powers to come to the MCU yet.  Sometimes I just pause the trailer and look at the energy arcing off of her.

I am legitimately excited for this movie!  I’ve had the countdown to Captain Marvel on the board in my classroom since school started back in August :).  But so far it seems Marvel’s dropped the ball in showing everyone why they should be excited too.  Instead, they seem more focused on Avengers: Endgame.  Back in June, while on the press tour for Ant-Man and the Wasp, Kevin Feige promised a future of the MCU’s heroes where “more than half of which will be women.”  I’d love that!  I’d love an MCU where Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Okoye, Shuri, Nakia, the Wasp, Captain Marvel, and maybe Ms. Marvel, Ironheart, She-Hulk, and Squirrel Girl too are the majority.  But for this future to materialize, we need to see a clear spotlight shine on why these characters are the future of the MCU and why we, as fans, can’t live without them.

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BOO YAH!  Bring on March 8th! / Photo Credit – Captain Marvel

 

 

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Captain Marvel – A Trailer, A Hunch

  1. As someone who doesn’t know anything about Captain Marvel but kind of wanted to be excited because “yay, female lead and also other people seem excited for some reason,
    I have to agree that the trailers haven’t exactly hyped me up, and I’d basically decided not to watch this. Your post has done a better job of getting me excited about Captain Marvel than the trailers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well thanks for that! I’m glad I could give you a little something more to be excited about. And while it makes me sad, I appreciate knowing you share my thoughts here. Marvel has SUCH POTENTIAL to generate excitement for this and they’re letting it slip by :/.

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  2. At Infinity War’s end credits scene, I was practically hopping in my seat because I was so excited about Captain Marvel, but the guy next to me was like “I don’t get it.” So Captain Marvel already has to overcome the fact that only fans really know her. And while I think they could do something interesting with the fact that the movie has story in both the past and the present (presumably some leading up to Endgame), I worry they’re taking a bit of a step back by jumping back to the past. And the trailers were trying really hard to be mysterious even for fans so I think they didn’t give enough concrete details for people to really “get” Captain Marvel.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The same thing literally happened to me too!!!! The woman to the right of my wife said “do you understand that?” My wife immediately turned to me and asked “do you know what that means?” And I said…”Captain Marvel.” And they both said, almost simultaneously, “Who is that?”

      I just shrugged my shoulders because I don’t know much about her either.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I had the same experience in my showings. I had to explain it to family, friends, and random strangers :). As to googling, they’d just have to search “star thingie at the end of Infinity War” because they didn’t give us anything else. Now I’m curious as to how many people checked it out on their own.

        And yes, a bit of a long shot or not, I’d LOVE if that scene sent people to their comic shops to start reading and learning about Captain Marvel!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I didn’t know any of this was set in the present! That’s kind of exciting! I’ve read so little about the film itself, trying to hide from spoilers, I must’ve missed that. But that’s cool! I think you’re spot on too with the mystery factor. Mystery is fun but, just as you said, they need to be sure to give enough to get people interested in the film to begin with.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am really fascinated by the poster in the subway car that says “Positive Thoughts, Positive Life”…given what you said about her drinking, her overwhelming sense of responsibility, her general unhealthy modus operandi, the poster seems subtle and well-placed. Or I am just reading into it too much. But I digress.

    I have watched the Captain Marvel trailer(s) more than the Avengers: Endgame trailer, but that has more to do with a general desire to know more about her and an excitement to see this film. I really know almost nothing about her, and she is going to be so important to the Avengers film – in a sense, the deus ex machina to set things right now that they (Disney/Marvel) backed themselves into a corner – that I need to know more about her NOW so I better understand her when she arrives in Avengers.

    Speaking of deus ex machina, what if her film is entirely premised on the concept? Stay with me here…

    Thanos destroys half of all life and holds the powers to fully manipulate…everything. This is a classic problem of narration where there is absolutely zero way for the current heroes (who have been cut in half thanks to the decimation…is that the name for it?) to win this fight. Sure, Cap says he has a plan but that plan isn’t as good as any other plan they already had. So how do the writers literally write their way out of this awkward corner. They absolutely have to invent

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    1. …okay, that was weird, my computer decided to just post the comment without me telling it to. Odd. Whatever, here we go…

      (Cont’d)

      They (the writers) absolutely have to invent a way out of the corner and Captain Marvel serves that purpose. Somehow, she has an ability that has not been seen/introduced which they can use to counter Thanos and their own narrative trap. But, they can’t just intro her in a movie like Avengers because they need to establish her backstory in this case. I mean, she could just show up and fix everything, but that would be such an obvious and apparent deus ex machina that it wouldn’t go over with general audiences. It would be confusing so instead they have to intro the “god from the machine” BEFORE hand. This is clever because it looks like part of the current phase (Phase 3?). Hell, consider this…they literally introduced her at the end of Infinity War by using a machine!!! Her symbol pops up on Fury’s pager (or phone?…doesn’t matter).

      So the “god” – and seriously, Thanos, literally with the powers of divinity at his finger tips – can only be countered with a godlike figure. Enter Captain Marvel. They give her an entire movie to establish who she is…which allows them to more “naturally” intro her in Endgame…and she, using her godlike powers, can be the rallying point to fix things (literally in universe and narratively for the writers).

      And so, if we turn around and consider what you are presenting about how she seems to be overshadowed by Endgame…hell, the Endgame trailer is the most watched ever (what!?!?!)…then she is nothing more than a contrived plot device getting a prequel to literally save all life in the universe. But mostly to save Marvel from their own narrative trap. Of course they aren’t doing a good job with her marketing and getting people excited for her film. Her introduction, but more specifically her movie, in my summation, is being used as a means to an end(game).

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  4. I like the looks of the images you’ve included. I’m often disgusted by how sexualized and unimportant female super heroes appear. The first one I really liked was Scarlet Witch. I felt even Black Widow was to sexualized in all her moves. She seems to be choking people with her thighs whenever I look. Thanks got bringing this to my attention. I’m happy to support women in film!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I second this. I remember seeing ‘The Avengers’ for the first time and thinking, “Okay…I guess Hawkeye’s costume is just as form fitting as Black Widow’s…” and then they do that completely needless shot of her bum as she goes to interrogate Loki. I remember feeling sadly disappointed, if not entirely surprised, as I watched it play out.

      I do hope what we’ve seen of Captain Marvel so far holds true for the film! If they stay true to her comics (at least from the Kelly Sue DeConnick era and beyond) she should be an antidote to how female superheroes are often misused. I’m excited and hopeful!

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  5. The first I became aware of Captain Marvel was years ago in the animated X-Men series when Rogue took her (then named Ms.Marvel) powers. I actually perceived it as similar to a rape. I didn’t know much more of her character until Civil War II & the new Ms. Marvel series, which made her Captain Marvel to differentiate between the two heroes. Here is the cheesy video that gave me my first awareness of some of CM’s story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8k7hlN5l9w I look forward to the movie that will hopefully give her a proper story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you included the YouTube link! Ahhhh, what a great flashback! I loved this show but, weirdly, I don’t remember this episode. My first experience of Carol Danvers was with Rogue too. I remember reading/hearing she got her powers from Ms. Marvel. But I had no connection to the character. Funnily enough, I was into my reading of ‘Captain Marvel’ when the light bulb finally clicked and I realized, “Ooooooh, this is who Rogue got her powers from!” It was a fun moment :).

      I’m actually pretty excited to see how they present her origin (which has be retold a few times and can be a bit convoluted in the comics) in this film.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s a more broken character than Superman is. She certainly aspires to that level of morality. But I’ve always felt Superman represents the very peak of human potential whereas I think Captain Marvel shows how even the greatest of powers can’t make us perfect if we don’t get our stuff together and deal with our issues. So she’s a bit more relatable, to the average person, than Superman is. I think we can see more of ourselves and our struggles in her.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Given the fact that she’s a solider she’ll take life when she feels the circumstances call for it. Her military background – and the black and white lens the military often employs – is a foundational part of her character. It’s used as a source of tension in her character’s journey and development as well.

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  6. A whole row of us cheered at the end of the Infinity War movie when the page goes out at the end of the movie, and you see Captain Marvel’s colours. We got that. (I’m talking about a regional cinema from country Victoria) For the folk who were there at the premiere who didn’t we quickly explained.

    Now I’m hyping up the movie with my Tween’s friends – I’m taking a whole bunch of them to the premiere to show them what a female superhero should be. I’ve watched the trailers for the movie, maybe 20 times, and look forward to seeing it when it’s released.

    I love what direction Margaret Stohl took the character in. She’s so real, so very human that she best personifies what Marvel can achieve. I just hope that the movie stays true to it. That we see her as flawed but as strong. That’s the message we need to be sending out, that you don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to keep showing up, to keep picking yourself up.

    I also have high hopes that because we’ll have an Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel will also make an appearance…….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you’re planning on a movie debut trip with everyone! That’s brilliant! What an amazing night and a great role model to introduce them all to as well.

      I agree; I hope the Carol we see in the films is the same we know and love from the comics – the same strengths alongside the same struggles. That’s why we love her so much. As you said, she’s so very human. Margaret Stohl’s Captain Marvel is my favorite too. Obviously I love and have respect for what Kelly Sue DeConnick created and what Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters did as well…but Margaret Stohl’s Carol is the one closest to my heart.

      There is so much to believe in, so much to inspire with Carol Danvers and I am so excited to see what happens when the world meets Captain Marvel on the big screen.

      Liked by 1 person

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