On DVD: Captain Marvel

To say that Captain Marvel is overdue in joining the ranks of the MCU is a bit of an understatement — but now that she’s here, and here to stay, we’ll let it slide. It took Marvel over 10 years to get a headlining female hero in their lineup, which would be maddening if Marvel wasn’t also a part of Hollywood. For all its progressivism, Hollywood is slow. Why? Because old white men have all the power. Tale as old as time.

Captain Marvel (and Black Panther) was only possible because Marvel Studios managed to break free from its oldest, whitest, most conservative keeper of the status quo. Thank goodness for that; anyone with a brain will tell you movies starring women and people of color make heaps of money. Add “superheroes” to that equation, and, well, there’s a reason Disney owns Marvel Studios, and Marvel isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

This all gets pretty meta when one considers Captain Marvel itself. On the production side, it has more women involved in creative and executive positions than any other Marvel film, including co-director Anna Boden and composer Pinar Toprak, both the first in those roles in the MCU. It stars Brie Larson, who won my heart forever when she presented Casey Affleck with the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2017 but refrained from clapping for him. Its story is one of a woman overcoming psychological abuse and finding her strength — and herself — amid the muck of lies a man told her to keep her under his control for years.

On every level, Captain Marvel is about a woman refusing to give up when men tell her she is not enough. Because of this, and because of Larson’s layered performance and excellent supporting cast (Samuel L. Jackson! Ben Mendelsohn! Lashana Lynch! Annette Bening! Jude Law!), it also stands as one of the most rewarding rewatches in recent Marvel memory. It takes a second viewing, or even a third, to really see how sinister Jude Law’s villainy is and to appreciate how well he weaponizes his handsomeness to trick everyone into thinking he’s not just a hero, but a mentor and a friend.

This is just one example that shows just how well crafted Captain Marvel is. The execution is easy to miss in a first viewing — I left the theater that first time feeling a bit mixed about it — but repeat viewings really make Captain Marvel shine. The directors and writers managed to create a story that, from a woman’s perspective, feels universal in spite of the comicky spectacle of warring alien races and a cat who turns into a tentacle monster. So many things that only women experience are seeded throughout the movie — don’t let your emotions control you, if I’m wrong then prove it, got a smile for me, honey? — and never in a way that feels pandering (like, say, Dark Phoenix). We have a majority of female writers to thank for that.

As a new parent, I appreciate that most of the special features on the Blu-ray of Captain Marvel are four minutes or less. The short featurettes highlight standout aspects of the film, like the feline actors, Larson’s experiences flying with real Air Force pilots, and the comics’ inspiration for the film’s Carol Danvers (shoutout to Kelly Sue DeConnick!). The longest features clock in at eight minutes and are also the most worth watching. The first is the film’s deleted scenes, which shed some more light on Jude Law’s villain, and the second is a longer featurette emphasizing visual effects producer Victoria Alonso’s longtime contribution to the MCU.

While part of me wishes the special features were longer and more akin to those found on the Black Panther Blu-ray, Captain Marvel is also a film with less world-building and thus less need to explain itself. At this point, you can’t really go wrong with adding the latest Marvel movie to your DVD collection, and Captain Marvel is no exception.

Captain Marvel is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital platforms.



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Aly Caviness is lifelong film obsessive, co-owner / administrator of Midwest Film Journal, and member of the Indiana Film Journalist's Association. Through Lynch, her grandmother taught her how to spot “The Girl,” and through Frankenstein, her grandfather taught her how to love in spite of fear. She blames Jack Sparrow for her MA in colonial Atlantic history and Guy Pearce for her marriage.


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