Dumb Things People Ignored In Captain Marvel
Marvel came up with their first female-led superhero movie with Captain Marvel, earlier this year, and the good news is that it was pretty impressive.
Unfortunately, however, it's not entirely perfect, and there are some aspects of the movie that are forced to provoke a little head-scratching.
Here is the list of all dumb things people ignored in Captain Marvel.
The first Thor movie makes a point of describing Arthur Clarke's Third Law: that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
The Kree falls right in line with that rule.
As a futuristic space-race, the Kree have all sorts of magical technology at their disposal, most of which are ahead of anything Earth's soldiers could ever dream of using.
But the one thing they don't seem to have down is a reliable walkie-talkie system.
During the opening mission, a whole lot of Skrull ambushing goes down when Carol's team can't get their darned cell phones to work.
And yeah, it is not like Earth had the best wireless coverage in 1995 either, but it does seem like comms are something you should prioritize if you're going to a world crawling with shapeshifters — and you still insist on splitting up.
After Carol takes a wad of purple sleep zap to the face, the Skrulls take her back to their ship and start poking around in her memories.
Like all great film and T.V. heroes who find themselves under the knife, she quickly realizes she's being messed with and busts out of there, smashing her way through half a dozen guards in the process.
That's when the toady standing closest to Talos does what any great henchman would do in a situation like that: He points his gun at her.
Obviously, the Skrull couldn't kill Carol since his boss still needed the information in her head — not to mention the fact that Marvel Studios still needed her for, conservatively, around 14 more movies.
But were they all out of their sedatives? Or did Talos know that killing Carol there and then would have made for a far less interesting movie?
MacGuffin trouble is the worst kind of problem.
In case you're unaware, a MacGuffin is the plot-necessary object that everybody in a story wants.
It's the suitcase in Pulp Fiction, the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
And Marvel's lightspeed engine technology in Captain Marvel.
But why does anyone care about traveling at lightspeed?
Every space-faring species in the MCU already has access to mind-bogglingly quick intergalactic travel, and that includes the Kree and the Skrulls in this movie.
In practically no time, they move from one side of the galaxy to the other.
To put it in perspective, traveling at lightspeed, it would take a little over four years to go from Earth to the closest neighboring star.
That's a hell of a commute compared to punching in a few coordinates and getting across the universe in the space of a day.
But for some reason, it's also bafflingly presented as a technology that could quickly end future wars — meaning the whole thing feels a little like the present-day United States sabotaging China's plans to develop advanced horseback riding because of that tech would be dangerous in the wrong hands.
That train sequence early on in the movie might have looked cool, but a whole lot of it didn't make much sense.
So what's the problem? Well, firstly, that train that Carol and the Skrull are fighting on is the Los Angeles Metro Blue Line.
The Blue Line runs on a 22-mile stretch of track between downtown L.A. and Long Beach with 22 station stops in between, which the mathematically inclined might notice averages out to one-stop per mile.
The train moves at an average speed of 55 mph, meaning that it should pull into a station about once per minute.
But does it stop while Carol and the Skrull are tussling?
No, not once.
Now, if you're generous, you could point out the system might have been different in 1995 — or even accept that this is one part of the movie that requires a little suspension of disbelief.
Even if you do that, though, it's much harder to believe that not a single person on that the train pulled the emergency cord when a lady in full body armor started beating the hell out of a suspiciously athletic older woman.
When Coulson was first introduced in Iron Man way back in 2008, he was an affable enough a government official — clean-cut, nonthreatening, and adamant in his desire to meet with Tony Stark on behalf of his employers, the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division.
The name was long and rambling, and it was a pretty great joke for him to insist on using the full title every time.
Luckily, someone clearly realized that they had been sitting on a pretty badass acronym the whole time, and in subsequent appearances, the group was referred to as S.H.I.E.L.D.
But while S.H.I.E.L.D. has been around in some form or another since the 1940s, Captain Marvel gives us the earliest instance of somebody actually using the term 'S.H.I.E.L.D.'
So why did Coulson imply they hadn't come up with that acronym yet in Iron Man?
Did they go by S.H.I.E.L.D. for a while, then abandon it in favor of the longer name at some point during the late '90s or early 2000s?
Or was it just that none of Coulson's colleagues told him that they had come up with a better name for the organization over twenty years ago?
Superhero origin stories kind of work like double-deckers.
On the bottom layer, you have the meaty personal tale that explains just why the character became a force for good in the world.
Spider-Man's loss of Uncle Ben is a big one or the death of Batman's parents.
The top layer, however, has all the fun stuff: how they got their powers.
Think Peter Parker getting bitten by that spider or Batman doing push-ups over and over until he could punch people so hard that they wouldn't do crime anymore.
This part isn't usually the most realistic part of the movie, but hey, if you're willing to extend your disbelief enough to accept that a guy can run faster than a jet, you're not going to hop off just because he got that power from getting struck by lightning.
Still, Carol getting her powers by exploding herself is still a heck of a leap.
Not to get all "but in the source material" on you, but in the source material, Carol got her powers when an alien device blew up and melded her D.N.A. with a nearby Kree.
From what we saw in Captain Marvel, she was granted her powers by the grace of lucking out and, to put it in comic book terms, getting bitten by a radioactive kaboom.
It's not a terrible origin, it's just that, as ways to get your powers to go, this one's a little less Superman and a little more What Women Want.
Do you know what most military organizations love about their uniforms?
The fact that they're uniform in the first place.
Is this a huge deal?
But it seems peculiar that the Kree, maybe the most elite military force in the universe, gave their soldiers battle armor that could swap out color palettes easier than a MySpace home page theme.
And that goes doubly when you consider how Jude Law's Yon-Rogg sees Carol's new duds and immediately gives her hell for it.
Why give your soldiers customizable Halo multiplayer armor if making the hues a little more summery is some ultimate offense?
And on that subject, how come Carol still wore the Kree insignia on her chest after redesigning her outfit?
She made such a big deal about not wanting to wear Kree colors anymore but still couldn't help rocking their logo after she defected. It's free advertising, Carol!
You're supposed to hate those guys!
When the Star Wars prequels first came out, one of their biggest problems was the inherent difficulty in telling the origin story of a badass, iconic character.
Darth Vader was an influential, mysterious figure in the original trilogy, and while characters like that are practically begging for a backstory, it's often hard to show how somebody became an iconic nightmare without showing them as a less attractive, less scary.
That's how you end up with Anakin.
The point is, Samuel L. Jackson should've known better.
As fun as Jackson himself is in Captain Marvel, Nick Fury is played as sort of a joke. For all his talk of fieldwork and Cold War skullduggery, he's mostly just a goofball with a shockingly short memory when it comes to whether the animal he's holding is an actual monster.
We don't see the Machiavellian super spy who was willing to bazooka one of his own men out of the sky in The Avengers.
Instead, we see a guy who keeps a tentacle demon full of superweapon in his office after it's already killed like eight guys.
And who couldn't even come up with the word "Avenger" on his own?
You can only assume that the next decade or so on the job got him seriously jaded. Carol Danvers is shown to have a wide array of powers in Captain Marvel, but none are more impressive than her ability to craft an interstellar communications device out of '90s electronics.
It's even how she closes out the movie: handing Fury a tricked out space pager before bouncing back to outer space.
Carol pretty much insists that the pager is just for emergencies when she gives Fury the gadget, and you have to assume that he's going to take that seriously.
The guy is a professional, after all.
But nobody could possibly have guessed he was going to take it way too seriously.
What constitutes an emergency, Nick?
The time a Norse god rained laser hell on New York, maybe?
Because he did that using the Tesseract, which might as well be known as the Captain Marvel Box.
Or how about when an army of robots tried to drop a city in the world?
Or one of the dozens of times that Bruce Banner turned into the Hulk and decided to smash everything in sight literally?
Frankly, you'd be hard-pressed to think of a potentially world-ending event that took place in the ensuing years that wouldn't have been worth Carol's time.
People love to whine about Marvel movies for the same reason they like ripping on McDonald's
french fries: because they're famous.
But you know what?
Make fun of them all you want, but they're still going to get your money eventually because the worst thing you can say about either of those things is that they're occasionally just a little too familiar.
Oh, and the sodium in the fries, but that's not such a problem with Marvel movies.
But herein lies the biggest problem with Captain Marvel.
Even with its inspiring underlying message, so much of it just felt like a Marvel movie greatest hits Mad Lib.
They captured the Guardians of the Galaxy-Esque era-specific soundtrack.
They even had their own Groot in Goose the Cat, complete with hallway tentacle-slam slaughter.
Elsewhere, the one-liners popped up in the middle of action sequences right where you knew you would find them.
And man, even that part where Yon-Rogg tries to monologue Carol into a fight and then gets clobbered, was lifted straight out of another movie; it was copied almost beat-for-beat from the scene where the same thing happens to Loki in Avengers.
None of this is movie-ruining stuff, obviously, and most people know exactly what they're in for when they sit down for an MCU origin story.
But it still would have been nice if they'd spend a little more time trying to find their voice.