Emptiness rings out at the late night session. Nobody sidles up to plonk down in the theatre seats beside. Gone are the crowds ready to drown out the on-screen dialogue. It’s hours from midnight when the bleeding starts.
Blue blood runs out of the nose of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and there begins the look into identity and party affiliation that is the political introspection of Captain Marvel. The film after all keeps asking the self the question of the self under question. Where does loyalty and the being seat itself when memories are a construct up for manipulation?
The whole film situates itself as a retrofit with flashbacks. Danvers keeps having issues with her memory and sense of being surrounded by a 90s soundtrack of grunge and alternative from the likes of Nirvana and No Doubt. A lot of the scenes have a sense of openness with chunks of the sky and dirt roads visible, unhidden from buildings. That landscape breathing a spaciousness toward a widening sense of the mind. A chasm that exists when memories are unreliable, or left blank in parts.
Not unlike the redaction of government documents, or whatever flimsy evidence they drop on the people to instigate wars in the name of others. Swathes of pages blank or hidden behind the guise of information protection. A need to know basis of charging the front lines and dropping bodies. No questioning the line of command, running full tilt to carry on carrying on and carrying them out.
The Kree-Skrull War runs along a narrative of feasting on propaganda from fine people on both sides. Each warring faction clawing their way for the upper hand in the territorial mind grab. Both offering their political case and arguments for truth with hazy ground as dust kicks up along the horizon of all the scenery. So the questions keep coming up on who is right and who is ready to suppress the truth of the other side. Again and again flashes of supposed memories keep rolling back, adding to the dissonance.
Captain Marvel keeps fighting between the logistics of the present with scenes rocking about in that brain being of another time and another person. Each new face or location adding a sense of questioning the self to keep it going. Of trying to understand the meaning behind the colours on the suit and whether or not it matches up with what’s going on inside. It’s not always enough to fight for a cause when the motivation behind it keeps loosening its grip.
Watching an Aussie (Ben Mendelsohn) play an American playing a Skrull playing a US official continues the through line of deception by truth. Someone’s truth at least. A unblunt look at the essence of being when shreddings of DNA and a shallow copy of memories are enough to pass most detection. Enough to shed off as a copy of the person you’re talking to unless you really know them. And even then. Even then we get to come back to asking if the person today is allowed to change from the years before. Or if we are locked in stone by the perception of others around us, keeping us in a situation that normal growth is seen as an other that needs to be taken care of.
Memories lie at the heart of Captain Marvel with wars and blood on the battlefield being states of perception. Where the construct of today comes only from yesterday, yet yesterday itself is up for interpretation. There isn’t much actual blood letting. It is more of exploring how someone’s blood runs at all and how much of the past really makes the person standing in front of the cracked mirror today.
Reviewed on Monday, 1 April 2019