12th Mar2019

‘Captain Marvel: The Official Movie Special’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Various | Published by Titan Comics/Marvel | Format: Hardcover, 96pp


Until relatively recently, and under an older management no longer in place, it was said that a female led superhero film could never succeed. Men just wouldn’t go and watch apparently. Ironically, Marvel themselves could have been the first to consign that to history with a solo Black Widow film, a character popular enough to succeed, but they dithered and so DC took the plunge with Wonder Woman and it was a huge success. Hey, guess what, modern audiences aren’t reflected by the views of old rich guys in board rooms, thank goodness. Wonder Woman’s success of course paved the way for Captain Marvel, which is just hitting cinemas now. I won’t get into the politics of the film in the lead up, all to do with a certain section of fandom threatened by Brie Larson’s feminist views, but will say this helps cement female led films in the popular consciousness. Not bad for the humble comic book, a medium still looked down on even today.

So, Captain Marvel. For those up on their comic books, Captain Marvel was originally a male Kree superhero, and Linda Danvers gained her powers by being caught up in an explosion and having her DNA merged with his. She originally took the name Ms. Marvel, and had her own series starting in 1977, which I proudly have the entire run of. She then has a very convoluted path, proudly becoming an Avenger and taking the names Binary, then Warbird, switching costumes and powers several times, until settling as Captain Marvel in 2012.

The film, of course, primarily takes its approach from the post 2012 Captain, costume and all, but there are a few affectionate nods in the film to the characters history. A quick footnote, both Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel were never big characters at Marvel, and Captain Marvel was created and named to secure copyright over the name so DC’s original bearer of the name Captain Marvel had to be published as Shazam. Roll forward all these decades, and two films are opening within weeks of each other called Captain Marvel and Shazam. The universe moves in mysterious ways. This Marvel Movie Special is the eighth, with many more to come, and all have done exactly what you would expect, with a rundown of the film, the actors, the characters, and chock full of great photos. Captain Marvel: The Official Movie Special is no different, up to the high standard of the previous editions. The Special is divided into four main sections, looking at the Directors and writers, the cast/ characters, and the ‘behind the scenes’ extras.

The film actually had co-directors in Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who in the past have directed together but primarily on low budget films, and over several pages they explain their interest in the MCU, in this project in particular, and their desire to get on screen the Carol Danvers from the 2012 Kelly Sue DeConnick written book, which is well worth picking up if you’ve never read it. DeConnick was, naturally enough, signed up as a consultant, and there is an all too short interview printed here. I, for one, would have liked to read a little more but hey, I guess it’s a Movie Special. The biggest chunk of the Special is the interviews with the actors about their characters, views on the films, all the standard stuff. Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson have some interesting things to say, but the rest are pretty routine ‘loved working on it’ type stuff. A few interesting tit-bits, and some nice shots from the film, but pretty standard stuff.

The final section is like those extras you always get on a blu-ray, the chance for Production Designers, Costume Designers, Stunt Directors and the like to get a little spotlight. With this film all are actually extremely important as the look and feel of the film is vital. The recreation of mid-1990’s America and the believability of Kree and Skrull technology and planets. Up on an IMAX screen it did indeed look amazing. The Special closes out with an interview with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, most assuredly not one of those old execs I mentioned the beginning. His progressive vision for Marvel, for taking a chance with casting and characters and directors, is the reason we have over a decade on fantastic Marvel films. He’s very much hands on in terms of knowledge, though he clearly leaves the talent he hires to do their thing. In that respect, he’s very much in the vein of Stan Lee himself, and it is entirely fitting the final words and picture in this Special are of Stan himself.

Another solid Special that delivers what the average fan wants, some background, bios, and interviews with lots of glossy stills. If you enjoy the film, you’ll definitely want this.

**** 4/5

Captain Marvel: The Official Movie Special is released today courtesy of Titan Comics.


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