April 13


Superheroes and freaky cats: how Captain Marvel rewrote the rules


Cat Behavior

From the tale behind Nick Furys eyepatch to the rehabilitation of the Skrull, the latest Marvel film has altered comic-book canon in fruitful ways

If there’s one thing we should have been primed for, prior to viewing Captain Marvel, it would be to expect the unexpected. Marvel is a studio that, time and again, has chosen to twisting comic-book canon to suit new wants, rather than deliver overly faithful adaptations of the original work.

The addition of the Skrull, a race of alien shape-shifters, to the Marvel universe, prompted predictions that we may ultimately see storylines riffing on the 2008 Secret Invasion storyline, in which various members of the Avengers are replaced by extraterrestrial interlopers. In the comics, the Skrull are usually evil and often bent on invading Ground and taking it for themselves. So the facts of the case that Captain Marvel’s trailers indicated Skrull disguising themselves as human while fighting Carol Danvers( Brie Larson) naturally led commentators to suspect they were up to their old tricks.

To twist that narrative on its head and make the Skrull the victims of a race of fascistic foreigner warriors, the Kree, was the various kinds of masterstroke that only Marvel could pull off. Any other studio would have faced accusations of subverting canon, but the Disney-owned studio has done such a great job of creating its cinematic universe that it has credit in spades from fans.

We trust that if Marvel has chosen to alter the route the MCU works for the big screen, there must be a good reason. And here, there is: it is the involvement of the Skrull, and the revelation that they are not the bad guys after all, that allows Danvers to escape her straitened existence as a kind of Kree pet and achieve her destiny as Captain Marvel. The Skrull’s new identity as downtrodden refugees was also another example of Marvel’s penchant for sprinkling its bombastically far out fantasy cosmo with only the right amount of real-world complexity.

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s film shakes up the MCU in other ways, minor and major. For a start, we discover that Danvers has been a part of the MCU since before we previously thought it had begun. There was always more than a hint, in 2008′ s Iron Man, that Tony Stark’s tin-suited Avenger didn’t represent Nick Fury’s first superhero rodeo – what would have been the point of setting up S.H.I.E.L.D if there were no other super-suited titans out there to inhabit it? Now we know how he got the idea for the Avengers in the first place: from his 1995 encounter with Danvers and her Skrull pals.

It’s all in the eyes … Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury in Captain Marvel. Photo: AP

This doesn’t solve the riddle of what Fury was up to between 1995 and 2008. Are we really to believe it took him 13 years to find his first genuinely superpowered hero( with apologies to Hawkeye and Black Widow )? So might the MCU go through farther ret-cons over the next few years, as Marvel fills in the gaps with other as yet unmet characters such as the( soon to be Disney-owned) X-Men?

Another big moment in Captain Marvel is the discovery of faster than light( FTL) travel by Mar-Vell( Annette Bening ), which allows the Skrull to escape the clutches of the Kree and try to find themselves a new home world in a distant galaxy. Some fans have wondered why this was such a big deal, given that various races in the MCU have been shown to boast superfast space travel. However, the ” jumping gates “ seen in movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy 2 seem a little bit closer to wormholes, letting fast travel between specific points in space, rather than Star Trek-style” warp velocity” travel to any part of the galaxy- or to other galaxies entirely. How Mar-Vell’s discovery might expand the cosmic side of the MCU in future movies remains to be seen.

Less vitally for Marvel’s future, though rather more entertainingly, we also discovered how Fury lost his eye. He once told us it was as a result of trusting person he shouldn’t have. What we didn’t realise was that this someone was a freaky foreigner with Lovecraftian tentacles and the ability to store entire pocket cosmoes in its mouth, masquerading as a plain old ginger pu cat. Goose( surely a Top Gun reference) the Flerken must count as the weirdest addition to the MCU since Howard the Duck turned up in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Finally, how about that mid-credit scene as a primer for Avengers: Endgame? We all knew, following the events of Infinity War, that Danvers would most likely answer the dying Fury’s pager distress signal, but it was still good to see her back on Earth in the flesh. Did the events of Captain Marvel give you confidence that she’ll be capable of defeating Thanos and reversing the effects of the purple Titan’s climactic thumb click? Let us know your thoughts on that one, and all the new film’s revelations, in the comments below.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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