This superhero blockbuster marks the 21st entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first female-led hero to come from the studio. It is also something fans have come to expect as an electrifying set-up to ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and they’d be right, as this film is a blast and introduces a bold new figure to surely help out the remaining heroes come next month.
Kree solider Vers (Brie Larson) mentored by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) has continual flashes of a life she cannot remember. After a mission to rescue a fellow solider from the shape-shifting Skrulls, she crash lands on Earth and runs into pre-eye patched Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Together they hope to stop the Skrulls from invading this planet and along the way Vers aka Carol begins learning who she is and what power she has.
There is no doubt that Captain Marvel is now the most powerful character in the comic book movie franchise and though it does sometimes feel like a watch merely serving as a stepping stone to April’s mammoth ‘Infinity War’ follow up, this is a film that nicely deals with the might of women and Carol’s journey is a complicated one which leads us to face great moments of confusion, vulnerability and surging strength.
In terms of how the film sounds and looks, well we get the backdrop of a 90’s era so a soundtrack shuffles from the likes of Des’ree to Nirvana which is swell. Ben Davis’ cinematography is a gorgeous treat also because the audience get to flit from the sci-fi whizz of space to the 1995 grunge of our home turf. A late on dog-fight has stunning shots and brings a ‘Star Wars’ visual to the home-bound action.
‘Captain Marvel’ may not blow everyone away but the studio finally rising to the table, offering us a gutsy female hero and hiring a female director and composer for the first time are waves in the right direction and this is a movie that’ll no doubt inspire a lot of hopeful women and little girls to see that not all heroes are men. The core strength does emanate from the progress of the title character so it is a shame the movie doesn’t fully feel like it has its own identity. The space set antics and fight styles do borrow a tone most obviously associated with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and Nicole Perlman; writer behind that movie, being one voice behind the story is a factor to that. The echoes to this flashy sci-fi 2014 flick don’t harm the film, they just make it feel less its own product.
The Skrull element which utilises on a treacherous back and forth play of ideas marks the film as a fun and intriguing watch due to the doubt we, Carol and Nick share in not knowing who to trust at all times. The shape-shifting is used well and does tinge the whole film with a sort of political yet lively drama to who could be who.
Brie Larson is a great Carol Danvers; she has whip smart assurance in her Kree scenes wonderfully equalled by her literal crash to reality as she tries understanding her past. Larson is a Marvel-lous actor who knows how to blend subtleties into the broader parts of playing a big screen saviour. The comedic asides, her general wry looks or smirks and the heart fuelled moments especially felt in the scenes with her and pilot Maria, are emphasised greatly thanks to the glowing shooting star might of her performance. Also, to get the gift of a Fury and Coulson before the Avengers days is lovely. The de-ageing process can often be an uncanny thing to look upon but gladly it isn’t long at all until you accept the two eyed younger looking Jackson as normal. The buddy relationship between him and Larson flares through the screen with great warmth and adds a perfect lightness to the story.
Sure the film is slightly slow to kick off and the Marvel Guidebook to Making Origin Stories is pretty much followed to the letter but the nostalgia and the central performances do make ‘Captain Marvel’ a crackling, soaring entry to the MCU.