Captain Marvel is another success story for Marvel Studios that is both a reward for longtime fans, but also a familiar taste.
A Hit, But Not Quite A Home Run
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a long tenure in the film business, and as its 21st entry in the continuing series, does Captain Marvel stand up there with its fellow, successful superhero films? Short answer is; yes. Captain Marvel is a solid origin story on the brash, ass-kicking, unstoppable superheroine that firmly established itself in Marvel canon in several great, though sometimes clunky, ways. Once again, the formula for successful MCU movies gives us an entertaining two-hour story that leaves us excited for the future of the character and the series as a whole.
Easter Eggs Galore
The film’s first act thrusts the viewers right away into the futuristic, Kree-homeworld called Hala. Before this film, our only experiences with the Kree have been with Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy, and although this movie takes place a few decades ago, its good to see that little has changed. The Kree are a warrior race, and Carol Danvers, played by award-winning actress Brie Larson, is a major gunner on her team. This team is comprised of capable Kree fighters that show off their technology well, but aside from Minn-Erva, their sniper, are cardboard cutouts of characters. The team is carried by the dynamic between Carol and Jude Law’s character, the leader Yon-Rogg. He is her tough mentor, and from the beginning, it’s clear he’s been the one to teach Carol how to use her mysterious powers from the beginning. The first act follows the team on an exhilarating mission to fight the shape-shifting Skrulls, where we’re treated to a glimpse of Captain Marvel’s iconic mohawk, and it quickly leads to Carol’s capture. This is the catalyst that brings her to Earth, her once-home, and we begin the quest to recover her lost memories. Amnesia storylines are rarely done so well that they captivate the audience completely. Her mission to find her identity drags on through the middle act, but the antics she and good ol’ Nick Fury get in were more than enough to tide me over. After getting through several comedic beats, some which landed better than others, we arrive at the final act where certain dramatic twists and turns bump this film up to another level. All I’ll say is that if you’re a fan of the MCU, there are several satisfying rewards hidden in this film for you. The final battle caps off the film with an adrenaline-filled spectacle. Carol Danvers’ moment to realize her true potential was well-deserved, empowering, and elevates her to the upper echelon of powerful heroes.
Packs A Punch
What Captain Marvel lacks is creative vision. Whereas Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther had their own flavours for their solo outings, this film is more the result of the best parts of the MCU’s formula for success. The film takes place in the 90’s, and though it granted us a couple unique gags, the film hardly takes advantage of the iconic setting. The soundtrack is filled with great hits, with Nirvana deserving a mention, but they take up so much attention, and yet aren’t so well integrated into the film. There are several photo-blast packed action scenes, but the jarring cuts caused me to lose track of exactly who was blasting who. These photo-blasts look fantastic though, as do the rest of the special effects. The Skrull transformations deserve outstanding praise, as does the final act. Certainly, this film is an explosion of colour and action that is a pleasure to the eye.
For what this film lacks, it’s characters carry it the rest of the way. Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers authentically as a stoic, battle-hardened warriors that loves nothing more than to brawl and get dirty. Although held down by a weaker script, the jokes her character dryly slips out give her a certain charm. Samuel L. Jackson here shows us a younger, greener Nick Fury. This peek into the person that will one day carry secrets within secrets shows us that he wasn’t always so cunning. He used to be a skeptical field agent with a fondness for cats, and it’s clear here that he will eventually lead a SHIELD that is dedicated to finding people exactly like Carol. Ben Mendolson as the Skrull Talos and Jude Law both give us their all, despite the goofy costumes and sometimes clunky dialogue.
Captain Marvel in of itself is a well-done superhero movie that happens to have been made late in a long line of exceptional films in the genre. It doesn’t waste all too much effort in reinventing the wheel, but we what we are given is top notch. For an introduction to Carol Danvers, a seemingly unbeatable, ass-kicking weapon of mass destruction, it has made me eager to see what the Russo Brothers will do with her in Avengers: Endgame. Speaking of, don’t miss the first post-credits scene.