Anghus Houvouras on Captain Marvel’s treatment of Nick Fury…
I’m having a real Mugatu moment here. Marvel movies, for me, have become like the ‘many’ looks of Derek Zoolander: Everyone seems to be excitedly waiting for what’s next while I sit back and wonder how on Earth no one notices that we’re staring at the exact same thing over and over again. And here I sit, wondering if I’m on crazy pills while mediocre tripe like Black Panther gets a Best Picture nomination and the exceptionally average Captain Marvel is being showered in praise.
I realize I’m the anomaly in this scenario. I sat in a crowded theater last night as everyone laughed and clapped watching the ludicrously banal Captain Marvel.
My biggest issue with Marvel Cinematic Universe is how dependent on humor they’ve become. Every character has to be a wisenheimer with a Chandler Bing/Buffy Summers style quip ready to diffuse any serious moment. With the exception of Captain America and Black Panther, the vast majority of Marvel characters have taken on the Robert Downey Jr. style comedic riffing which feels apt for Peter Parker or Peter Quill but a little strange coming from Thor or Bruce Banner.
The Marvel movie mandate seems to include leaning heavily into the humor. Captain Marvel is a quip-filled fiasco… a tone-killing tornado. There’s no bigger victim of this comedic catastrophe than Nick Fury.
Pardon my French, but Nick Fury is a bad mother fucker. Or at least, he was before the creative team behind Captain Marvel turned him into a joke-spewing sidekick and completely castrates the character. Samuel L. Jackson usually finds a way to make a movie more entertaining, but I cringed as they made the hardened bad-ass who helps assemble the Avengers into a bumbling, passive goofball.
Fury in Captain Marvel comes across a lot like Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan in the Iron Man films. He has the same ‘trying not to look like he’s in over his head’ vibe that Favreau so effectively brought to life in the Iron Man movies and Spider-Man: Homecoming. And while I understand that they are trying to make the character a greener, less experienced agent, the character never makes the transition into anything other than bumbling comedic relief.
It’s difficult for me to draw a line between the Fury we see in Captain Marvel and the one who we were introduced to in The Avengers. This is a family-friendly Nick Fury and it frustrated the hell out of me.
I’m sure there are those who will defend this choice. That this younger, less experienced Nick Fury isn’t the hardened hero we’ve seen excellently portrayed in movies like Captain America: Winter Soldier. We’re witnessing the first steps on his journey towards becoming the calculating, hard-choice making head of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Maybe. But it felt weird that Fury never really seemed all that shook by the revelation that he wasn’t alone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That alien infiltrators were potentially everywhere. That powers beyond his imagination could destroy earth with a snap of their fingers. It’s implied that he eventually gets there. When we meet Fury in the Avengers, he’s been using the Tesseract to create weapons to defend Earth against threats. He’s spent decades preparing for the inevitable. Does it feel like those seeds have been planted when he spends the aftermath of an alien attack washing dishes with Carol Danvers after being blinded by a cat? To me, it absolutely didn’t.
Every Marvel movie character has been turned into joke regurgitating machine whose superpower is exceptional improv skills and delivering sick burns. Nick Fury feels undone by the creative choices in Captain Marvel for the sake of turning him into the comic relief sidekick.