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WALSH: ‘Captain Marvel’ Is A Towering Artistic Achievement

By  Matt Walsh

“Captain Marvel,” which the star promises will be the “biggest feminist movie of all time,” opens this Friday. That same star, Brie Larson, has also declared that she doesn’t want white males reviewing her film. So I proceed here with great caution and continuous apology.

The movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has already given the feminist superhero movie high marks. Many of the compiled critics have lavished the film with extreme praise. Some of the positive reviews, on the other hand, use not-so-positive descriptions like “forgettable,” “not top tier,” “a work in progress,” and “more of a solid building block for future endeavors than a must-see solo adventure,” but ultimately give the movie a favorable grade. It is an action film with a female lead, after all. You are not allowed to dislike it. Especially if you are a white male. It was on this same basis that the all-female “Ghostbusters” was lauded by critics and “Wonder Woman” was acclaimed with the kind of praise usually reserved for Renaissance paintings.

Not one to break the rules, I will say only two things about “Captain Marvel”: (1) I have not seen it, and (2) It is a towering artistic achievement. You may object to my reviewing a movie I haven’t seen, but why do I need to see it? I already know what opinion I must — literally must — have about it. And so I can report that “Captain Marvel” is the most remarkable film ever to grace the silver screen. Frankly, it makes “Citizen Kane” look ridiculous, by comparison. I feel the sudden urge to go to Orson Welles’ grave and yell at him for making a movie that is so much worse than “Captain Marvel.” I do not know why any filmmaker ever bothered to make movies that aren’t “Captain Marvel,” or why they will continue to make movies even though “Captain Marvel” has already been made.

“Captain Marvel” is, in a word, miraculous. Some white male critics have called the movie an “inspiration” and a “supernova.” I agree with their assessment even as I condemn them for taking jobs away from female movie reviewers.

What is the plot of “Captain Marvel?” I find your question deeply problematic. “Captain Marvel” does not need to explain itself to you. It does not need to justify its existence. Only white males, steeped in unearned and unrecognized privilege, have the luxury to worry about things like plots and story arcs. Everyone else will go and see “Captain Marvel” simply to bask in its glory, like angels before the throne of the Most High.

Does Brie Larson do a good job acting in the movie? Again, your question is stunningly mysognistic. Brie Larson isn’t there to impress you. You have no right to judge her performance. She is not a puppet dancing on your string, you scum. All you need to know is that Larson is there, in the film, existing, breathing, being. Her performance was already magnificent before she stepped one foot onto the set. Her performance was inspiring and beautiful even before she was born. This moment, this movie, was written in the stars, destined from the beginning of time.

“Captain Marvel” transcends film. It is not enough to call it the greatest film in history. Indeed, it is one of the greatest events in history. The invention of the printing press, the polio vaccine, the moon landing, Amy Schumer’s first standup special — these are civilizationally transformative events. “Captain Marvel” takes its place in that category.

If I were to offer one criticism of “Captain Marvel,” it is the runtime. It is just 128 minutes long. I wish that it lasted as long as my very life, so that I would never have to be without “Captain Marvel.” I wish that I could live every moment gazing upon it. The movie gives me life and purpose. I am not worthy to watch it. So I didn’t, and I won’t. I offer this only as tribute to an utterly sublime piece of art. And as proof that I am not sexist.

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