Captain Marvel: Film Review

I can’t really put my finger on why but I wasn’t excited about Captain Marvel, even when everyone was raving about the trailers etc. I just didn’t understand the hype. So I went in with a certain ambivalence and I’m pleased to say I came away feeling positive. It’s good!

Brie Larson is introduced to us as Vers, a woman with superpowers who lives on Kree, but has flashes of an earlier life that she can’t quite piece together. She is part of the Kree’s military unit Starforce with Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan) and Korath (Djimon Hounsou). During one mission, while tackling the shape-shifting Skrulls, she falls to Earth, is pursued by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and finally learns about her true identity – Carol Danvers.

This is the first female-led MCU superhero movie and it was co-written and co-directed by a woman (Anna Boden, along with Ryan Fleck) and yeah, there are some small differences but they are subtle. There isn’t as much action throughout, more time is given to quieter, character moments and developing relationships, and Larson isn’t presented in a sexy way. It also, thankfully, didn’t follow the tired blueprint of a superhero origins story, because the whole plot is essentially Carol figuring out her origins.

Carol is portrayed as a vulnerable person confused about who to trust and trying to figure out how to keep a handle on her emotions, so she felt like a realistic woman, despite her extraordinary powers. Larson was the perfect choice for the role. She is kickass, looks amazing but she also has heart and brings the emotion as well as the comedy. I loved her little personality quirks and how her face lights up when she nails a move. She’s awesome, but I loved Jackson and Goose the cat more – they were the real stars of the show.

Larson has worked with Jackson a few times now and their chemistry is obvious. They have great banter together. The film takes place in 1995 when Fury is just beginning at S.H.I.E.L.D. and it was fun to see him looking younger, with both eyes intact, and playing Fury in a major role after lots of cameos in recent MCU films. The top support stars are Ben Mendelsohn as Skrull leader Talos, who is given good comedy moments, Annette Bening (what a cool piece of casting!) and Lashana Lynch, who brought the feels as Carol’s best friend Maria. Their friendship was the heart of the movie for me. Starforce teammates Law and Chan drew the short straw and had very little to do.

It ticked so many boxes for me so I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t love it completely or ever feel real excitement watching it like some other MCU movies. It took a while to get going in the beginning and it took me ages to be invested in the story because it was told in a confusing and messy way early on, hopping between past and present, Earth and other planets. After I had a clear idea of who she was, I enjoyed it and appreciated many things about it, except for the messy CGI final battle that seems to plague all these movies. I also hope that we’ll eventually get an explanation about why she hasn’t come to help Fury and the Avengers in the past 24 years ’cause that’s my burning question.

However, the film is smart and has many laugh out loud moments and Avengers references to spot. The ’90s setting was great for nostalgia and funny jokes about retro clothing and technology and there was a cool soundtrack. Although it lacks a certain something, it is still an entertaining addition to the MCU and I can’t wait to see how she fits in with the others in Avengers: Endgame.

Please note: Make sure you stay for the mid-credits scene – it is ace and very important – and keep an eye out for the moving tribute to Stan Lee at the beginning – it gave me tears.

In cinemas Friday 8th March

(Rating: 4/5)

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