Ghost Is Kept Away From The Heroes For Too Long
Ghost has around two run-ins with our eponymous hero before the grand finale, where - if anything - Ant-Man and the Wasp are trying to help the poor girl. The film goes from initial attack, to villain-capturing-hero, to the rant which gives viewers the motive behind everything, to the finale which essentially ends with the villain being spared and given a second chance of life. As much of a detour as this is for Marvel movies - the villain almost always bites the dust - it's far too paint-by-numbers to have much of an impact.
It's extremely reminiscent of Hela (Cate Blanchett) in Thor: Ragnarok. A world-class actress wasted in a role spent ranting and raving to her minions about what a great goddess she is, and how much she was wronged. She's separated from Thor and his journey on Sakaar for too long; she exists as something to be beaten rather than a whole character in her own right. Similarly, Ghost exists as an obstacle to be overcome or later an injustice to be corrected, rather than a character in her own right.
Ghost lacks repeat interactions with Ant-Man and the Wasp, just as Hela lacked repeat interactions with Thor. They're both merely interludes to a larger arc for the heroes, and that doesn't do either character justice.
Was Ghost Sympathetic Enough?
Sympathetic villains seem to be what the Marvel Studios team strive toward; they make for compelling storytelling when viewers aren't entirely sure who they should be rooting for. Loki, Killmonger and even Thanos all had points of view that didn't seem entirely crazy - it was only in their methodology that they falter. Killmonger's desire to share Wakanda's wealth and scientific advancements with the world was captivating. Thanos' argument that the universe is over-populated isn't without merit, especially when confronted with his own planet's history.
Said sympathetic viewpoints aren't always so easy to grasp for fans. Thor: The Dark World's Malekith was born into a Universe shrouded in darkness. His aim was to return it to that darkness, to find the peace his species so desperately craved, but the idea was either too abstract or not communicated well enough for anybody to really empathize with his complaints. Whiplash in Iron Man 2 was upset because his dying father was previously robbed of any credit for his scientific work. This injustice was perpetrated off-screen decades ago within the film's timeline, and instead we get Ivan Vanko spouting a few sentences about vengeance being his and then for the rest of the movie he remains largely silent and/or violent.
Ghost falls somewhere in the middle; she's undoubtedly a sympathetic character, considering she was only a child when her parents died at her feet and she was turned into a living specter. But the fact remains that she's only given one or two scenes to emote and convey her pain - then it's back to being set-dressing and an obstacle for our heroes.
At the very least, Ghost survives, with potential redemption at hand. The domino effect from Marvel's villains owning no centricity is that they then become dispensable. Just like Loki, or Bucky Barnes, she is a character that can hopefully continue to grow from one film to the next, especially with an actress as talented as Hannah John-Kamen in the role. Ghost can go from villain to anti-hero to franchise cornerstone if they really wanted her to - all they have to do is bring her into a bigger portion of the limelight next time out.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019