Why a Captain Marvel sequel should tackle the war genre


With Captain Marvel launching its way into theaters, there’s already heavy potential for a sequel and, much like many Marvel films, a sequel could tackle a non-superhero specific genre. Spoilers for Captain Marvel follow.

Like most introductions to characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel introduces another enjoyable character into this massive tapestry of a universe that has been created. Also, like many of the first films for these now iconic characters, the quality of the film is “mid-tier Marvel.” Mid-tier Marvel is perfectly enjoyable, but it’s definitely not the best that the studio and universe can offer or have offered in the past. The thing is though, with the way Captain Marvel ends, there is potential for a sequel to build on what was set up in this film and lead to a truly great franchise.

One way that a Captain Marvel sequel could become something greater is by tackling a different genre like so many Marvel films before it. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller. Captain America: Civil War was a psychological thriller. Ant-Man and, to an extent, Avengers: Infinity War, were heist films. Spider-Man: Homecoming was coming-of-age film. There’s massive precedent for an MCU film to tackle another genre, and that’s exactly what a Captain Marvel sequel should do: tackle another genre, specifically the war genre.

By tackling the war genre, this would push Marvel out of its comfort zone and push along Carol Danvers’ story in a meaningful and thoughtful way that could probably make for the darkest Marvel film to date. There are glimpses of this tone present in Captain Marvel, mainly during the first act of the film before Carol arrives on Earth. The tone presented in those couple of scenes where the Kree Starforce are fighting the Skrulls on Torfa are tense, dark, and slightly scary in the way that a war film would be. Imagine an entire film with that tone.

Taking on the war genre would simply make sense, given where the film ends as well, with Carol transporting the Skrulls to a new planet. It honestly can’t be that simple because the Kree are honestly the worst and will fight tooth and nail to destroy the Skrulls. So it would make sense for an even grander war to break out. There could be incredible scenes akin of the “No Man’s Land” scene in Wonder Woman or even the war scenes in Captain America: The First Avenger, but hopefully closer to the tone of Wonder Woman, given the pulpy tone of Captain America: The First Avenger.

While Captain America: The First Avenger is technically a war film, it’s not in the same vein as the war genre has historically been. It’s more in the vein of the pulpy, action-adventure films of the 1940s, very similar to the Indiana Jones series. It’s an action-adventure film that happens to be set during World War II and is not actually a war film, so in essence, it’s a genre that hasn’t been tried fully in the MCU yet.

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By venturing into war territory, a sequel could also deal with propaganda tactics used by domineering aggressors such as the Kree are. It would be a way to shine a light on real life tactics in a way that would enhance the story being told, just like Captain Marvel did with the reveal the Skrulls are refugees, not terrorists. By taking away that black-and-white morality dynamic, the story and characters shift in meaningful ways in Captain Marvel, and that can be used to an even greater effect in a war story.

By going this route, this could also make Carol grapple with the things that she has to do and the things that she has done. She’s a soldier who has taken her fair share of lives, as soldiers do, so by forcing her to take that look introspectively at the things she has done can make her an even more empathetic character. They touch on it slightly in Captain Marvel, but there’s a great possibility to dive even deeper into her psyche, particularly her regrets.

The film doesn’t even necessarily have to be about a grand-scale end to the Kree-Skrull war either, but rather something akin to Apocalypse Now or Saving Private Ryan. The film can be about one mission, that’s it. One mission that changes the very fabric of who Carol Danvers is. Or it could be something closer to Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda’s masterpiece The Omega Men: The End is Here, which showcases an entire war fought in the same story. Both can work and, as someone currently not hired to write a Captain Marvel sequel, both would be an interesting continuation of Carol Danvers’ story.

Next. Captain Marvel's link to other MCU films. dark

With the way Captain Marvel ends, it feels like a war in the stars is inevitable, and it would be a bold move for Marvel to tackle the war genre, much like they’ve tackled other genres in the past.