Captain Marvel II

"Captain Marvel II has a Superman problem: the hero is an overpowered, unrelatable character"

Carol Danvers has already been established as one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU, a hero so incredibly important, that she doesn’t have enough time to protect Earth; she’s got the entire universe to worry about."

– Forbes article by Dani Di Placido Art . Article at Forbes.

The article goes on to describe that Cap'n Marvel essentially doesn't change during the course of the story of the first film, so there's no "story arc" for the character.

This isn't necessarily a problem, there are many instances in Hollywood story construction where the hero doesn't change - - a number of John Wayne cowboy movies feature a character where the "Duke" isn't altered by the events around him, but everyone else is, and at the end he has to decide to stay put under the new conditions his actions have created, or he exits (usually he exits, the situation now one where law and order prevail and he is no longer needed. Also, it is now a situation where his character cannot thrive, so the screenwriter has him ride off alone away from the conformity of settled civilization.)

The solution for the ultra-powerful Cap'n Marvel, according to the piece from Forbes, is "... what if there’s something out there that she isn’t equipped to deal with?" That's the premise for a hundred-thousand comic book stories, and if well written into a script, could certainly serve for a story premise. But it also just repeats the cycle of the superhero being powerful, then overcoming the momentarily undefeatable enemy by deploying even more power, often in the guise of:

  1. sheer brainpower
  2. organization of a brilliant, well-timed plan
  3. displaying a ferociousness in action that the character, we are told to believe, had never displayed before
  4. rounding up friends, usually ones where there has been some alienation, and then together this reconvened unit defeats the enemy
  5. blind luck

The major issue that confronts superhero movies is one that doesn't go away for any genre: how to tell an entertaining story where it doesn't matter too much who or what the hero is, but whether the tale in combination with the character can carry an audience. If the character is fascinating, together with a "good story" it is an effective box office combination.

Unfortunately, often the Hollwood solution to the dilimma of the sequel is instead drawn from a list of options that are:

  1. repeat the first story but in a bigger way with new subsidiary characters
  2. add more CGI effects
  3. give the character a sidekick, often one meant to be a psychological mirror of the audience the movie-makers imagine is out there. (This is flattering the audience, a strategy that is usually a reflection of salesmanship skill instead of story craft.)
  4. radically altering the character into a new direction (this is also clearly an abandonment of the character's "character." Gutting the personality of the hero, inserting something new, then demanding the audience respect the new character under the banner of the old character, i.e., bait-and-switch.)
  5. add even more CGI effects for a longer periods of time on the screen

The expectation at Comic Book Brain is that a great deal of creativity will go into making the production deal for Captain Marvel II, hopefully that same energy will go into solving the problem of an audience-viable story.

Original Page March 2020

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