Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel debuts as a standalone film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, set years before the events of the first Iron Man film. Because of the main star’s grandstanding, I honestly went into this film with low expectations but found myself pleasantly surprised. Do not worry, there are no spoilers ahead.
Vers (Brie Larson) is a member of the Starforce, a group of elite Kree soldiers that are patrolling the galaxy looking for Skrull warriors who are a threat to the Kree Empire. Vers has unusual powers but her mentor and commander Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) wants to teach her to control them as she struggles with memories of a bizarre past.
Yon-Rogg leads the team on a mission in which Vers is captured by the Kree General Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). After an escape, she crashes on Earth where she begins to track down a “lightspeed” engine that the Kree are searching want for themselves. After meeting SHIELD Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), he and Danvers set out to find a mysterious scientist named Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) that might be connected to Carol.
The throwback to the nineties was the perfect setting for this film. It provided a nostalgic and often humorous trope to the overall plot, allowing it to have some breathing room in the already crowded spots in the MCU canon. The filmmakers hit all the high notes from movie references, stores, search engines, and even download speeds.
There were a few things I did not like about the film. There were several SJW talking points sprinkled throughout the film that made you roll your eyes at times. It was more annoying than anything, but it did not hinder the plot in any serious way. I have read thought pieces disguised as movie reviews on this criticism, but they are either out-of-context, overblown, or both.
As for the rest, I found some of the “tweaking” to the MCU canon to be clunky. In particular Fury and his eye. Since the movie is set between features, they could be explained away, but in the context of this film, it seemed a bit puzzling. Also, I was not happy that Genis Mar-Vell (the original Captain Marvel) was replaced with a throwaway character. That being said, perhaps he can make appearances later on.
A note on Brie Larson’s performance, I found her adequate to play Carol Danvers. She was not my first choice, but I was glad to see the constant unpleasantness she was displaying during the movie’s promotion largely absent from the film. Instead, she delivers in all aspects of the character except in the humor department. She is not funny in any of the comedic moments, with many of her humorous lines delivered flatly
That being said, the good definitely outweighed the bad. The soundtrack was spot on, from space opera compositions to nineties music, and the signature of the MCU, rock music. Per usual, the special effects were amazing and really brought out the science fiction aspect of the story, driving it straight home.
As for the plot, I found it very engaging. It does somewhat slow down at times, but it picks itself right back up and hits all of the high notes. The building up for adventure, action, and betrayals. It does a good job of bringing everything together to create an origin for Carol Danvers and introducing her into the MCU.
I also want to give praise to Samuel L. Jackson as a young Nick Fury. He is superb, as usual. He brings a hilarious and focused presence. Without him, I am not sure it would have been as good as it turned out. Also, seeing Clark Gregg return as Agent Phil Coulson (to the movies at least), was a powerhouse move. It was good to see him back in true SHIELD agent form.
Bottom line: While it did not have the epic feel of an MCU movie like Captain America: Winter Soldier, it was a good, enjoyable film. While imperfect, it is a science fiction story about one hero’s journey to becoming an Avenger.
FAVORITE QUOTE: Higher. Further. Faster.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Foul language
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, read my movie review of The Standoff At Sparrow Creek. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.