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New Escapist Column! On How “Captain Marvel” and the Perils of Prioritising Plot Above Character…

I published a new piece at The Escapist earlier today. With the news that Nia DaCosta will be directing the sequel to Captain Marvel, it seemed the right time to take a look back at the earlier film.

There is a lot to like about Captain Marvel. It is an extremely charming movie. However, it also suffers from one of the bigger recurring problems of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is structured around a major plot reveal that lands at pretty much exactly the halfway point. However, this plot reveal is both incredibly obvious and something that prevents the first half of the movie from engaging in any characterisation. Captain Marvel feels like an expression of the recurring sense that Marvel Studios movies are nothing more than plot delivery mechanisms.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Jessica Jones – AKA I’ve Got the Blues (Review)

Jessica Jones loses a little steam when it gets out of the adrenaline rush that was the AKA WWJD?, AKA Sin Bin and AKA 1,000 Cuts triptych.

There is a sense that the show is not entirely sure about how exactly it wants to end; like its eponymous lead, there is an anxiety about sticking the landing. It is a problem similar to the one that faced Daredevil, which had its own issues when it come to offering a satisfactory conclusion to a season-long arc. (Indeed, Daredevil feels more like a checklist of matters that require closure rather than a story of itself.) More than that, the show has built towards a sustained climax in its eighth through tenth episodes, but there are still three hours left to fill.


Jessica Jones has always felt a little over-extended. AKA Crush Syndrome and AKA It’s Called Whiskey essentially introduced Kilgrave twice. AKA The Sandwich Saved Me, AKA Sin Bin and AKA 1,000 Cuts each feature Kilgrave captured by our heroes only to escape through various convenient means. The Will Simpson subplot fits with the themes of the season, but does feel like a stalling tactic. Malcolm provides the heart of the show, but the writers never find a convincing voice for Robyn and so their subplot also feels like padding.

So there are some basic structural issues going into the final few episodes of the season, just as there were some structural issues with the opening few episodes of the season. Nevertheless, Jessica Jones does make a number of clever decisions as it builds towards its conclusion. Instead of ramping up and outwards, as would be the natural impulse, the show begins narrowing its focus and winding down. AKA I’ve Got the Blues and AKA Take a Bloody Number are surprisingly intimate in their scope following the scale of the show’s climax.


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