This movie has me thinking about some of the danger points in Marvel’s multi-textual narrative strategy. The first is that the component movies must absolutely work individually until there are enough of them to make the over-narrative visible. Marvel surmounted this challenge with seeming ease. The early Iron Man, Thor and Captain America movies were individual successes that elicited and encouraged attention to the narrative that wasn’t yet visible.
However, now that over-narrative has become primary. Individual movies are no longer viewed primarily as individual movies even if they are (and to Marvel’s credit they clearly are) made to be individual success. Instead, they are viewed—consumed actually—as steps on the way to the next episode of the over-narrative. And so in this later stage of the multi-textual enterprise, the second danger that emerges, is that these movies will be products of negative space, simply blocks filling in pieces, trifles.
Captain Marvel is a good movie. Brie Larson is great. I liked it a lot. I don’t really care about anything in it though, and very much feel like it exists to introduce me to and convince me to buy into the human god-figure who will fix the Infinity War problem. What I wonder is this: will I think differently and better of it after Endgame has come and gone and let it off the hook?
Two final thoughts. This movie reminds me of Green Lantern so much I looked up whether they shared cast or crew. (Despite the cultural consensus around that movie, this is, for me, a very good thing.) Also, the family here is lesbian. I take this as obvious, and yet, it is never stated or even really hinted in any direct way. This left me feeling a bit gay-baited by yet another not-gay gay film of the sort that seems to be very much the rage these days.