There is a moment pretty early on in Captain Marvel when Jude Law turns to Brie Larson and tells her that he wants to help her become the very best version of herself. I’m pretty sure that it took all of my inner strength not to get up and yell ‘WHAT IF THIS IS THE BEST VERSION’ at the screen. Lady Bird fans will understand.
Captain Marvel is the newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe from directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. The film stars Brie Larson and, like Ant-Man and the Wasp, takes place before the events of Avengers: Infinity War.
Only, instead of just going a few months back, this time we’re going allllll the way back to the 1990’s, before Ant-Man, Iron Man and Captain America were the ones in charge of protecting the earth.
Back then, it was Carol Danvers’ (Larson) job.
Carol is an ex-U.S. Air Force pilot who, somehow, has found herself on an alien planet known only as Hala.
She doesn’t remember how she got there, exactly, as everything in her memory from before six years ago is a bit of a blur, but she does know that Hala has treated her well as the planet is how to the Kree Empire — which is basically just a group of noble warriors who travel around the galaxy to kick ass.
And kick ass they do as the Kree have been in an intergalactic war with an ancient alien race known as the Skrulls for longer than even the history books remember.
Nobody really remembers why that war even started at this point, but Carol does know that the enemy is a powerful one. The Skrulls not only have a bunch of technology that’s more powerful than the Kree has ever seen, but they also have the ability to transform their appearance to match anybody that they please.
So, yes, their enemy is basically Mystique from the X-Men movies, but this time they’ve got a bunch of space guns, too.
A McGuffin plot-device brings both the Skrulls, who are lead by a man named Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), and Danvers to Earth (or as they call it, C-53) as they’re both racing to find a woman named Mar-Vell (Annette Bening) before the other one does.
Along the way, Danvers not only has to confront her past and begin to put together the pieces of a life she used to live, but she also runs into a number of faces that the audience — given that you practically have to be a die-hard MCU fan to understand everything going on in this movie — will recognize from past films; such as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Ronin the Accuser (Lee Pace).
Wait, Ronin? The bad guy from the first Guardians of the Galaxy who didn’t really do anything at all during that movie and built up no fan-base whatsoever? That can’t be right, can it? What’s that? He doesn’t do anything whatsoever in this movie either and really just feels like an afterthought? Oh. Well. Alright then. Carry on, I guess.
All jokes aside, there’s no way to talk about Captain Marvel without talking about all the conversations that have been going on around this movie for the past couple of months.
Given that this is the first time a woman has headlined a Marvel film (we’re 21 movies into this franchise and there’s no reason why it should have taken them this long, by the way), there are some people who desperately want this movie to succeed and desperately want this movie to fail — the latter of which are likely a bunch of man-babies still living in their parent’s basement and have nothing better to do than troll around on the internet all day long.
With the internet being a place that only sees things in black-and-white, those discussions have become so polarizing that, in times like these, it’s important to take a step back and breath for a second. Captain Marvel isn’t a political agenda item. It’s a film. Whether or not you like the film doesn’t dictate whether or not you do or do not support women. We’re allowed to judge this movie off it’s own merits.
Of course, it’s worth repeating that it’s ridiculous it took this long for Marvel to create a female-led superhero movie, but now that it’s here we’re allowed to celebrate it’s existence while also approaching the filmmaking aspects from a critical aspect.
So, how is the actual quality of the film then? All things considered, it’s not half-bad.
I’ve seen a lot of discussion about this since Captain Marvel has been released, but I’m part of the group who thinks Brie Larson is perfect casting for this role. Larson has always been an actress who I’ve loved, whether she be appearing in something heavy like Room or Short Term 12 or lighter like Free Fire or Trainwreck. Here, she’s playing the capable hero who’s on a journey of self-discovery, and Larson’s talents bring a lot to that role.
In fact, that whole journey was really my favorite part of the movie. While the flashback sequences themselves are a little uneven and kind of just thrown into the movie at random times, seeing Carol put her past altogether and then figure out what that means for her future really worked for me.
Without spoiling anything, there’s a moment towards the end of the film where she kind of comes to a realization and the film shows a brief montage of her brushing herself off and standing up from certain situations, which resulted in my audience clapping and cheering during the middle of the movie, myself included.
Performances from Jackson (which is met with some incredible de-aging technology), Bening, Gregg and Law are all fine and dandy too, but there are two others that I want to specifically point out.
The first is Mendelsohn’s. When Captain Marvel starts, were left to think that this is going to be yet another routine villain performance from Mendelsohn that we’ve seen in Rogue One, Ready Player One and a hundred other movies. He’s a good bad guy and all, but that stick is getting pretty routine.
During the second half of the movie, though, he does get to do something different. Again, I’m not going to spoil what that is, but he’s allowed to bring a different kind of tone into his character which is unlike anything we’ve seen Mendelsohn previously do, and he completely nails it.
The second performance I want to highlight is Lashana Lynch. Lynch plays
As good as the performances may be, it’s the rest of Captain Marvel that brings the movie down just ever so slightly.
From a script perspective, there’s arguably too much going on in this one movie. For the first act, it feels like something that comes straight out of Guardians of the Galaxy, only to completely switch tones in act two as it then becomes this 90’s road trip movie between Carol and Nick Fury.
That’s fun and all, but then act three comes along and tries to raise the stakes, which then turns the whole thing into a generic superhero climax.
There’s also just a lot of information that Captain Marvel tries to present the audience with in general. Maybe it’s because Marvel felt that they need to explain so much in order to make the character of Carol Danvers make sense or maybe it’s because they’re doing some of this to set-up for Avengers: Endgame, but there’s so much exposition in Captain Marvel regarding the Kree, the Skrulls
Now, when it wants to be badass, the film can be badass (even if some of those song choices during those moments are a bit on-the-nose), but we also can’t overlook all the mediocrity that surrounds the project, too.
All of that is to say that Captain Marvel doesn’t quite hit the Black Panther levels we were all hoping it would and rather falls among the MCU ranks of Doctor Strange or the first two Thor movies. It’s certainly not bad, and I’m still going to tell you to go see it in a theater just to get the full experience. Just enjoy it for what it is and don’t politicalize the film anymore than it already has been.
That being said, I still want to see Black Widow, Valkryie, Shuri, Rogue and a Susan Storm get their own movies now, too. It doesn’t just stop at one, people.
Watch the trailer for Captain Marvel here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought of the film!
'Captain Marvel' - Hail to the Queen [REVIEW]7