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Random Thoughts: Captain Marvel, Or This Is Marvel's Wonder Woman

"Thanos? Bring it."

•First of all, I've only seen this once, and I came out of the theatre with very little to take home with me. This is one of those very rare films which I practically forgot as soon as I exited the cinema. Is it because I may have been a bit sleepy? Maybe. But again, that's very rare. Even Brie Larson's pretty mug was forgettable.

•As a "girl power" film, it of course makes sense that this film was released to coincide with International Women's Day, which is on the 8th of March. I guess you could classify Captain Marvel as a feminist movie, and an enjoyable one at that. Although DC beat Marvel to the punch with the critically-acclaimed Wonder Woman, this film is a step in the right direction. So, good job, Marvel, and may you release more films about superheroines.

•The songs used were great, of course, especially for kids who grew up in the 90s. However, I am of the opinion that the music used was great on its own, but not as a soundtrack. The way the music was used in Captain Marvel was a far cry from how James Gunn used his 80s soundtrack in Guardians of the Galaxy (both Volumes I and II), which was more cinematic. The Guardians of the Galaxy music not only set the time the films were set in, but they also set the mood, and were somehow connected to Star-Lord's journey. Captain Marvel's song catalogue, on the other hand, felt like it was just there to set the milieu.

•I've been more of a Marvel fan than a DC one, and that was since grade school. Sadly, I was not a fan of Captain Marvel as a character. The only thing I remember was that Captain Marvel in the comics was a male. I'm basing my memory off a Marvel trading card, and I have to admit, my memory may be hazy. Anyway, whether or not Captain Marvel was originally a male or female is moot: the fact that Marvel Studios decided that the superhero who bears the studio's name, and the superhero rumoured to be the only one who can whoop Thanos's ass, would be female, that's a big step in the fight for gender equality in Hollywood.

•Honestly, I found the plot a bit confusing. But then again, I've only seen it once, and I was a bit sleepy. Anyway, the film was set in the 90s, right? But then Carol Danvers was having flashbacks of a different life, which kind of looked like it was a life in the 90s. So what is it, really? I think I need to watch this again, at least before Avengers: Endgame hits the theatres.

•Now let's talk about Samuel L. Jackson. The modern-day Nick Fury is a bad-ass, and he even looks the part, with his eyepatch and slightly toned down Pulp Fiction swagger. Then we find out how he got the scar. Scratched by a cat. I guess people just assumed he got it fighting some super villain, then he just kept silent and let people go on thinking that.

•And speaking of cats, that ginger feline kind of stole the show. The name Goose, I think, is a Top Gun reference, because of the whole fighter pilot vibe they got going. And the whole tentacle-shooting-from-the-mouth thing makes the cat look like it came straight out of Men In Black. Anyway, I think Goose is more than just comic relief. He may have a bigger part to play in Avengers: Endgame. Wouldn't it be cool if it was actually Goose that defeats Thanos?

•Yes, we know this movie is about girl power, but is there also a queer angle to it? I've heard opinions that Carol Danvers and her Air Force BFF Maria, played by Lashana Lynch, are lesbian lovers. Honestly, I didn't get that vibe, although my gaydar has never been accurate. If the lesbian angle was intentional, it wasn't obvious. And if it was obvious, it doesn't really matter. They're close friends, and whether or not they're lovers doesn't matter.

•And of course, no Marvel movie is complete without special effects. Marvel has been setting the standard for popcorn flicks even before the MCU was introduced. With these kinds of storytelling, world-building is crucial, and with world-building comes believability, because what good is an alternate world if it's not believable?

Men do not generally give up their seats to powerful women.

Captain Marvel. USA. 2019.

Original rating: 6.6/10
Gemma Chan: +0.2
Gemma Chan in blue makeup: -0.1
Unrecognisable Ben Mendelsohn: +0.1
Unrecognisable Lee Pace: +0.1
Recognisable Djimon Hounsou: -0.1
Jude Law plot twist: -0.1
Annette Bening: +0.1
Clark Gregg: +0.2
Final rating: 7/10


Random Thoughts: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, or Please Don't Make a Fourth One

"You're probably coming back as a Netflix series."

•Being the last film in a trilogy, I was expecting a cry-fest. You know, like what Toy Story did when it (supposedly) ended. There were a few scenes that could've unleashed tears, but they didn't come.

•The courtship scene of the two Furies, where they danced and flew in beautiful formation, kind of reminded me of the robot courtship ritual of Wall-E and Eve. Although of course Wall-E was set in space, but it was pretty much the same. It even had the same effect, making you go, "Aww, how cute! They're just like humans, but less horny!"

•I was hoping for more Kit Harington also, but he was relegated to one of the grownups like the one-legged Gobber (Craig Ferguson) and Hiccup's mom Valka (Cate Blanchett).

•For some reason, I enjoyed the villain here. So his name is Grimmel, and he's voiced by F. Murray Abraham, and you couldn't tell it was him because he used some kind of accent. He doesn't invite that much hate, compared to the previous film's villain Drago, voiced by Djimon Hounsou, who loved screaming his lines. Grimmel seemed smarter, more relatable, maybe because he actually used strategy, compared to Drago's brute force.

•The movie felt less animated, for some reason. I mean, except for the character designs, the details in this film tend to lean towards photorealism. The cinematography was great, as usual, since they used cinematographer Roger Deakins as visual consultant for all three films in this series (Deakins won an Oscar for 2017's Blade Runner 2049). He captured the bleak, dreary look of the Viking world quite beautifully, and I think the colourful huts compensated for the lack of color, even if it did remind me of third world slums.

•Okay, let's talk about TJ Miller. I know the guy's difficult to work with, which was the reason he was kicked out of HBO's Silicon Valley. But is an actor's work ethic enough to grant him something close to persona non grata status in Hollywood? I mean, I can understand if he gets a marked decrease in acting gigs, but it has to be something really serious if he loses a voice acting gig for a character he's already voiced in the previous two movies, right? Okay, I just Googled it, and apparently, TJ Miller has some sexual assault allegations on his plate. Tuffnut – I mean, tough luck.

•Just some minor nitpicking, but is it possible to have a sinkhole in the ocean? Isn't "sea level" supposed to be the lowest level for land that isn't submerged in the water? Because the "hidden world" referred to in the title, the ancestral domain of all dragons, can be found below sea level, but on dry land. I'm sorry, but that's just not realistic for me. Dragons I can suspend my disbelief for, but not that.

•I think it's a fitting ending for Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless to part ways. A lesser franchise would've kept Hiccup and Toothless together until the end, like they were meant to be together. But Toothless is a dragon, and I appreciate how the filmmakers stayed true to the essence of dragons. These are majestic creatures, and they cannot be tamed, so it's a good thing Hiccup and Toothless parted ways as equals, not as master and pet ending their relationship.

•And on that note, I think the filmmakers did a good job of ending the series. Some film franchises give you a trilogy, then suddenly come out of left field with a fourth film (I'm looking at you, Toy Story). A trilogy in itself can sometimes feel like an obvious money-making venture, like how they forcefully stretched out The Hobbit into three films. But a good trilogy, when done right, can be a beautiful thing. How to Train Your Dragon as a trilogy was well done, and I really hope the producers leave the franchise alone. Any additions to this film universe should be done in the form of spin-offs, not forced continuations.

"Of course I have facial hair. I'm a Viking."

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. USA/Japan. 2019.

Original rating: 8.0/10
Stoic scenes: +0.1
Final rating: 8.1/10


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