It was June 1981, I was newly divorced for the first time, living in Ripon, Wisconsin, and I took a young woman to the movies in Oshkosh. It was one of those fancy new movie theaters that had not one, but two screens, and so we had a choice of two movies — Superman 2 or a new movie with Harrison “Han Solo” Ford, called Raiders of the Lost Ark.
I didn’t know anything about the second movie except that it starred Harrison Ford, who went to Ripon College 11 years before I did and had become a star as the result of the (then) two Star Wars movies. I lobbied for following the Ripon connection and the chance to see Han Solo in something different, whatever that might be, and we agreed to pick Ford over Christopher Reeve.
Long story short: We were so geeked out by the adventures of Indiana Jones that we didn’t want to leave the theater, so we went across the lobby and watched Superman 2, too.
That’s the kind of afterglow I have been feeling since watching Godzilla Minus One this week. I was so geeked out that I joined three Godzilla groups on Facebook in search of other people who loved loved loved this film, and I was not disappointed. I’m not the only one who thinks this is not just a great Godzilla movie, it’s a great movie, period.
In an echo of that June night 42 years ago, I was still so geeked out Friday afternoon that I decided to take a couple hours off and go see another movie, The Marvels, while it’s still in town. It’s the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, teaming Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau, who resists taking a superhero name in part because in the comics she is one of several women who has taken the name Captain Marvel, and that might be awkward in the movies.
This movie has, at least in the context of the multibillion-dollar Marvel universe, bombed at the box office. In fact, I was the only person in the theater for the 1:10 p.m. Friday showing. The word on the street was that the film is a whole lot better than its weak box office might suggest, and the word on the street is absolutely correct.
It may not be the best of the 30 or so Marvel movies, but it’s far from the worst one, and I had a great time. I adore the character of Kamala Khan, the comic book geek who is endowed with superpowers and lives out her dream as Ms. Marvel, and I adore the actress Iman Vellani, a real-life comic book geek who is living her dream playing Kamala Khan on TV and the movies.
Brie Larson does another nice turn as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, Teyonnah Parris is a fine Monica Rambeau, and British actress Zawe Ashton plays the role of the designated villain, Dar-Benn, with an appropriate mix of menace and sympathy.
Goose the Flerken returns after a scene-stealing turn in Captain Marvel. The flerken may be the single greatest invention in the entire Marvel Universe. I shall not say more. Spoilers, you know.
I think audiences may just be getting weary of comic-book movies. DC Comics released The Flash earlier this year, another entertaining movie that did not attract much of an audience. Maybe people are starting to think, “been there, done that,” when they see superpowered humans in tight costumes.
Whatever’s going on, all I know is I’ve seen one spectacular movie and one really good flick in the last few days, and so I went home happy.
Bottom line: Catch The Marvels if you can, and absolutely, positively go see Godzilla Minus One, an astonishingly good piece of cinema.