Set from the far reaches of the universe to the swamps of Louisiana Captain Marvel tells the origin of Carol Danvers. She is a human who finds herself in the middle of an intergalactic war and through her actions inadvertently brings that war to an unprepared Earth.
Starring Brie Larson, a young Samuel L. Jackson, and Ben Mendehlson Captain Marvel promises to answer all the questions you didn’t know you wanted to be answered. For example, did you want to know how Fury loses his eye? Well, you’ll find that out, and it’s unapologetically lame. Sadly that’s how I felt for three-quarters of this film – disappointed.
Captain Marvel is easily one of the more fascinating characters born out of the pages of Marvel comics. Gifted godlike powers from an encounter with an alien species known as the Kree, Carol Danvers is a hero with sass and strength in equal measure. Now she is the first female hero to lead a Marvel film, and unfortunately, the film is less Captain Marvel and more Major Mediocre.
The opening third is easily the best part of the film. From the fight choreography, cinematography and world building you are drawn in. There is a lot of mystery for general audiences in this film. Unfortunately, there is very little intrigue for seasoned comic book readers who know Carol as a comic book character.
Set in the 90s’ Captain Marvel is a nostalgia trip, for me though this was a trip I could have done without. The references were mainly duds. In particular a recurring joke about the newly born internet. It’s not clever, it’s not innovative, and it adds nothing to the film.
These are, but minor grievances and just the nitpicks I had. If these were the only issues I had, then I’d be singing Captain Marvel’s praises. So let’s start with what positives I found in Captain Marvel. The Skrull are brilliant. Ben Mendehlson as their leader Talos is easily the highlight of the film. He has a wry sense of humour and at times a cutthroat sensibility that lends credibility to the vicious sensibilities of the Kree/Skrull War that is the inciting incident of the film.
There is also Lashana Lynch who plays Maria Rambeau best friend to Carol Danvers. For the little of the film, Lynch is in she steals the show. She gives a brief monologue that brought me to actual tears, but it was hampered by my biggest problem with this film. I will go into that particular element later in the review.
As I stated earlier the opening third of Captain Marvel is the best part of the film and this is down to an impressively choreographed brawl between Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and a ship full of Skrull. It’s fun and energetic, and clearly, Larson is having a lot of fun. Unfortunately for the rest of the film Larson seems checked out.
It is like the directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have one idea of what makes a strong character, they must be stoic, and so Carol is stoic at the start of the film and stoic when the movie ends. This is disappointing because she supposedly goes through this incredible emotional journey over the course of what seems like two days and she just walks it all off as if she was told her favourite item on the lunch menu was absent that day.
This brings me to the most significant issue with Captain Marvel; Brie Larson is phoning it in. She is devoid of the charm we have come to know from the talented actor. Gone is the funny Molly from 21 Jump Street, there is nothing of the intimidating Envy Adams from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World instead we have a de-aged Samuel L. Jackson working his magic against an uncharacteristically bland Brie Larson. I could rattle off more of the pros and cons of Captain Marvel, but you will likely see this film regardless.
I was happy to sit through Captain Marvel. It is a competently directed film with a decent cast. The action and spectacle of it can be enjoyable at times, but my ultimate take away from Captain Marvels first outing is this – I don’t need to see it ever again.