captain marvel in endgame

Captain Marvel is an entertaining film. It’s not one of the best entries in the MCU, but it’s fun to watch, and Brie Larson makes for a great, sarcastic, no bullshit superhero. Larson’s Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel is, in short, a great new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the MCU has a serious Captain Marvel problem: they don’t know what to do with her.

This isn’t Larson’s fault. Nor is it the character’s fault. The problem boils down to this: Carol is so powerful, that the only solution the MCU can think of level the playing field is to sideline her. Spoilers follow.

Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel made quite an impression in Avengers: Endgame. First, she gets a cool new haircut. Second, she gets to kick some serious ass. But we have to wait a very long time to see that. Almost three full hours, in fact. On one hand, you can understand why this is happening. Endgame has a ton of characters to deal with, and not everyone can get the same amount of screentime. But the sidelining of Carol Danvers in the film seems ill-advised, especially since the film is being released after the standalone Captain Marvel movie just introduced her. Why have that movie at all, if she’s barely going to figure in to the movie? Why not just introduce her in Endgame?

It genuinely seems like Marvel doesn’t know what to do with Carol. Much like Superman, Carol is superpowered to the extreme. Writers and filmmakers have been struggling with this in regard to Superman for years. How do you make someone so invincible, so unstoppable, engaging? What’s the point in putting a character like that in danger, when we always know they’ll come out ahead? More often than not, storytellers introduce some sort of weakness to exploit in order to bring Superman down a few notches.

But Endgame doesn’t have time for that. So instead, it sends Carol off into space, only to bring her in in the final battle to kick some butt. When she shows up, it’s exciting. She bursts through the atmosphere in a sonic boom, and pummels Thanos in ways the other heroes could not. Watching Carol unload on Thanos, it becomes clear why Endgame waited so long to bring her back. Had she been around sooner, Thanos would’ve been stopped much quicker. On the surface, this is fine – because that’s what the story requires. The story demands that Thanos stay alive a little longer, which means Carol can’t go punching his big, stupid purple face into oblivion.

But surely there has to be a better solution than benching her, like an injured football player. The character deserves better than that. As do the character’s fans. To be fair, Marvel is just getting started with Carol Danvers. Hopefully in films to come, writers and directors will find clever, exciting ways to keep Carol in a story while also keeping her mega-powers from ending the story too quickly. But that takes work. It takes commitment. It takes time. And the Endgame screenwriters just didn’t have that time.

Which means I should probably cut them some slack. Yet it bothers me. Give us more Brie Larson. Give us more Carol Danvers. Don’t introduce a character, write yourself into a corner, and then shrug and push her off to the side. Find new ways to keep us engrossed, and keep her part of the action. If filmmakers have managed to do this with Superman several times, there’s no reason they can’t do the same with Captain Marvel.

“She’s one of the most powerful – and one of the most popular – characters in our comics,” Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige said of Captain Marvel, “and will be the most powerful character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” That’s great! Now find a way to make it work, please.

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