Captain Marvel is in cinemas now!
Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom.
Before reading on…
I’m starting out this one by saying I absolutely in no way agree with any of the hate and criticism being levelled at Brie Larson for comments she has made in the past.
If you’re here expecting a tirade of hate for so-called social justice warriors then leave this page now and never return. We’re living in 2019 not 1819 and inclusion (when done correctly) is an important part our media.
This is not an easy review to write. With so much criticism being thrown at this movie for the sake of chaos I feel almost strong armed in to giving it a glowing review just because it doesn’t deserve the reception its getting.
But it’s also important to be to be honest.
Captain Marvel is yet another movie which follows the blueprint of Marvel origin stories. There’s very little here which we haven’t seen before in one way or another.
Though it is be dressed differently it’s ultimately still a predictable story which is elevated by sometimes excellent special effects and a bombastic soundtrack. But given that this is Marvel showing us what Phase 4 and beyond has to offer it’s not encouraging to see them retreading the steps of every solo movie which has gone before it.
What is important to note is that there are still enjoyable aspects of Captain Marvel. B plot lines are much more engaging than the main storyline and actually inject some unique creativity and emotional storytelling. The biggest issue is the lack of development that Carol goes through during the movies 2hr runtime.
At the beginning she is a punk kid living on Hala. She has problems with authority and problems controlling her powers. We do then see her regain her memories and learn to control those powers but in the end she is still the exact same punk kid with the exact same issues.
That wouldn’t be a problem if this wasn’t her origin, but it is and so walking out of the cinema my biggest concern was that her origin was ultimately squandered in order to set her up as a problem for Thanos. Given that Nick Fury’s beeper becomes an important plot point in the movie as does the Tesseract I have a niggling feeling the story of Captain Marvel was dominated by a need to setup for Endgame.
What was very encouraging to see was how the movie handled the dynamic between the Skrulls and the Kree. The setup of the movie very much follows the blueprint that one group is the hero and the other the villain.
In the third act this is very much flipped on its head in a very clever way. Making the Skrulls the victim of the Kree gave the movie a unique way presenting the motivations of its characters. It quite literally pulls the rug out from under the audience and for a while you are left wondering just who you are supposed to be rooting for.
It cleverly puts us in the same mindset as Carol. Given that, at times, she is a difficult character to identify with I really appreciated the writers being able to mirror her mindset in this way. Likability of the lead character was something which worried me from the trailers.
I was very pleased to find her much more likeable than all the promotional footage had made out. I would still have preferred a bigger character arc but I’m not hyped for her to appear in Endgame an whup some Thanos ass.
Carol’s relationship with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is one of the highlights of the movie. Her lack of respect for people in power really sets him on the back foot for much of the movie. It’s also great to see a younger Fury for whom we get to understand more of how he becomes who he is when we meet him later in the franchise.
It’s also nice to have Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) back in the mix. I was hoping his character would feature more though. He’s little more than a glorified cameo but all power to Marvel for bringing him back to the movie and securing that timeline.
Ben Mendelsohn makes for a great, conflicted Talos. I’ve seen him recently referred to as the MVP of modern movie villains so it was nice to see him perhaps not quite a black and white here.
The rest of the ensemble is solid. None of the Kree warriors particularly stand out. Jude Law features in the movies obvious twist as does Annette Benning although great to see her in an action role. It’s all standard Marvel fare at this stage.
Captain Marvel does feature an epic 90s nostalgia soundtrack. From Nirvana to Garbage with some added No Doubt it was a great trip down memory lane. The dialogue and some of the scenes do also echo that 90s feel really well but the movie does use that nostalgic humour as a crutch at times.
I wonder for the younger generation whether watching a CD-ROM taking minutes to load or struggling with dial-up internet will be much more than a history lesson. It certainly made me feel old!
A criticism levelled at Black Panther, particularly in its third act battle, was the quality of the CGI. This movie is very similar in that at time the special effects are breathtaking yet it also has moments of verging on PlayStation cut scene circa 2001.
I particularly liked how Carol’s powers were rendered. Both colourful and powerful it feels like the best all round representation of a character whose power is fundamentally limitless.
Some of the sequences of the character in mid-flight or the final scene inside the Supreme Intelligence when Carol is thrown through a wall are a little more sketchy. Her movements take on that rubber-ish look which giveaway that it’s not a real actor.
Pinar Toprak does a fine job of accompanying the story with her soundtrack. Marvel isn’t know for having the most standout music but this score is certainly on the higher end of the MCU when it comes to quality. What the character was lacking was a true standout theme, something I think all heroes deserve in their own right.
Captain Marvel is ultimately a derivative Marvel origin story. But whilst it remains predictable it is still entertaining and by no means the train wreck that many will paint it out to be.
Solid performances and some flourishes of greatness certainly make it an enjoyable if not unique experience. Above all Marvel deserves a round of applause for finally putting a female character in a solo movie.
Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, a U.S. Air Force pilot whose an Air Force whose DNA fuses with that of an alien, and she’s thrust into the middle of an intergalactic conflict. The cast also includes Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jude Law as Mar-Vell, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, and Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch, Algenis Perez Soto and McKenna Grace in as-yet-undisclosed roles.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman and Geneva Robertson-Dworet.