Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel

In Theatres: 
Mar 08, 2019
Running Time: 
124 minutes

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had its fair share of strong women including Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter, and most recently Letitia Wright’s Shuri, it’s been nearly 11 years and 20 films with the men leading the charge. That all changes with this week’s release of Captain Marvel, the 21st film of the MCU and Marvel Studios’ first female-led superhero film starring Brie Larson in the titular role. It’s a monumental milestone for Marvel and while not as strong as some of the more recent Phase Three entries, it still soars to new heights for the universe at large.


The year is 1995 and as a member of the Kree’s elite military team Starforce, Vers (Brie Larson) trains under the tutelage of its leader, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), to control her emotions and think tactically in order to be the best soldier possible. That is all put to the test when a rescue mission is turned into an ambush and Vers is taken hostage by the Skrulls, an alien race of shapeshifters. While she is able to break free thanks to her Kree powers, she crashlands a ship on Earth, which jars memories of a Carol Danvers that have been buried deep within her subconscious. Teaming up with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and rookie Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Vers discovers a connection between Earth and her past and does all that she can to regroup with Starforce to prevent a Skrull invasion and all out war.


Captain Marvel is a flashback to a time long before Iron Man or the Avengers where Earth’s only experience with superheroes of any kind was Captain America. The film does get off to a somewhat rocky start as it jumps straight into the Kee-Skull war that has been taking place on the planet Hala. It immediately throws a lot of information and characters at you. Vers/Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel has a pretty complex history and her introduction is pretty intense, even for those familiar with her from the comics. It takes a few beats to understand the various relationships between the characters and races.


Thankfully, the story picks up once Carol crashlands on Earth and teams up with Fury. The chemistry and banter between Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson is simply fantastic, bringing a buddy cop feel to the film. Larson is clearly the one in charge of the situation, despite her fish out of water scenario on Earth, and Jackson is just along for the ride doing what he can. It’s wonderful to see a younger, two-eyed Fury and the return of Coulson to the big screen. It can go a little overboard with the 90s references, but Captain Marvel feels very much like a tribute to MCU’s Phase One as well as something fresh that can get you excited about what’s to come in the future.


Perhaps what Captain Marvel does best, however, is with its message of hope and perseverance in the face of adversity. It’s without a doubt an empowering and inspirational film that young women can look up to. Some of the best scenes are between Larson and Lashana Lynch, who plays Danver’s best friend and fellow pilot Maria Rambeau. There are some heartwarming and emotional scenes between the two of them as well as Maria’s daughter Monica, played by Akira Akbar. Captain Marvel works best with these small and intimate scenes between characters.


I’m also a fan of how Marvel Studios subverts expectations. I won’t give away any spoilers for the film, but there are a few surprises in store, ones that I’m sure are going to divide the fandom much in the same way Iron Man 3 did. I like that Marvel isn’t afraid to take chances and doesn’t always stick to the comics as the end all, be all. They sometimes switch things up, and with Captain Marvel I think it will work out for the better in the end. Marvel is always thinking about the long game and rarely have they disappointed.


Captain Marvel isn’t a perfect film, though. The action is pretty standard and some might even say disappointing given that Captain Marvel is supposed to be the strongest hero in the MCU. It’s not bad. It just doesn’t make quite the impact as say Black Panther or Thor: Ragnarok. Captain Marvel is a solid, mid-tier addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a wonderful introduction to the titular character and a welcoming return for others like Fury and Coulson. In the end, Brie Larson is more than capable of carrying the film and possibly the entire MCU on her cosmic shoulders.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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