I don't normally talk about films here but the new Captain Marvel film felt like it complimented the gender flipped Taming of the Shrew at the RSC, so here we are.
The reviews I've read for Captain Marvel have all been solidly middle of the road which is fair enough. My expectations for a superhero film are that it'll provide solid entertainment, if it does more that's a bonus. They've also compared it to Wonder Woman and found it wanting, which I find much more surprising. I liked the Wonder Woman film more than I expected to (because DC films have so far been mostly disappointing) and Gal Gadot was excellent in it, but it didn't feel as groundbreaking to me as it obviously did to some.
Turns out that Carol Danvers is the hero I was waiting for, and Captain Marvel the film that would deliver such a thing. Given that Marvel haven't always made the best of their female characters (Scarlet Johansson's Black Widow has been particularly badly served) it's really good to see them crack it here.
Brie Larson looks more like an athlete than a swimwear model in this, and her costume looks fit for purpose - which is a pretty good start in itself because that's still all to rare. We liked her back story too - before she acquires her super powers she's already the sort of woman who persists in following her goals regardless of the setbacks.
We also liked that her key relationships are friendships, and female friendships at that, and also that Lashana Lynch who plays best friend Maria Rambeau turns out to just as amazing without any particular super powers, and that there's the space for her character to demonstrate just how amazing she is.
The link to Taming of the Shrew is that this felt like a genuine gender flip that quietly put women front and centre in the same way that almost every other superhero or action film has men. Unlike Wonder Woman where part of the joke is that she's a woman in a mans world. Because of that it felt genuinely fresh to watch, if not precisely groundbreaking (the Ghostbusters reboot was that film for me). I really hope a lot more things look like this in the future.