“Captain Marvel” stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law. Released on March 8, 2019, the film is about a former fighter pilot who must use her powers to save Earth from a galactic conflict between two alien worlds.
The film is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who also directed “Half Nelson”, “Sugar”, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”, and “Mississippi Grind”. It is based on the Marvel Comics characters, Captain Marvel (created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan) and Carol Danvers (created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan), and it is the twenty-first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before we head off to our final showdown between the Avengers and the purple bald-headed Titan himself, Marvel has another superhero to introduce to us on the big screen. The best part about that is that she has the power to wreck stuff up, including spaceships. Captain Marvel is another superhero that I was familiar with from the animated Marvel shows, including “Avengers Assemble”, because again, I haven’t read that many comic books during my childhood. Despite that, I was looking forward to it because of the post-credit scene from “Avengers: Infinity War” and Brie Larson, who has so far impressed me in every movie she’s been in starting with “Room” four years ago. Billed as the first female-led superhero film from Marvel Studios, will this latest installment in the MCU soar high into the sky or fall hard like a rock?
Rather than continuing where “Infinity War” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” left off, the film instead heads into prequel territory by transporting its audiences to the 1990s. So expect to see plenty of 90s nostalgia during this adventure, folks. Similar to the other solo films in the MCU, “Captain Marvel” is a run-of-the-mill origin story that depicts Carol Danvers (Larson) and her journey to discover her true self. The only difference is that the film actually begins with Danvers already possessing the powers instead of showcasing her getting the powers in the first act. While I do appreciate this minor change, I felt that the film didn’t do anything else to make its formula more…extraordinary. Does that make it a bad film? Of course not. Just because a film follows its certain formula step-by-step, it doesn’t always mean that it’s considered bad. To me, it all depends on how well the formula is executed onscreen. From my personal perspective, the final result of its execution was far from perfect, but it had some suitable moments that were either fun or humorous. So, I guess you can say that it’s another standard MCU film that’s a part of a ham sandwich, with “Ant-Man 2” and “Captain Marvel” being the slices of ham and “Infinity War” and “Endgame” being the two breads. Under the direction of Boden and Fleck, the film makes fine use of its storytelling and set designs to go along with its visual eye candy, but it didn’t have the right amount of energy and intensity to reach the same heights as the other solo MCU films from the past, including “The Winter Soldier” and “Iron Man”. Again, it had some entertaining moments, but there were also a couple of underwhelming scenes that kept it from flying into the clouds. I thought Brie Larson fit the role of the title character quite nicely. As for her performance, it took me a while to get used to it compared to my experience with Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers. After that, I was completely fine with it. It’s not the best performance I’ve seen from her, but in terms of how she manifested her character, she did all right. The real star of the show was none other than Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who assisted Carol. It’s nice to see that Jackson is still having fun portraying the character, although I did find it ironic that he’s been upstaging Larson in almost every scene. Maybe they should’ve called it “Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” instead and have him as the main character? Jackson was one of the two actors (the other being Clark Gregg) who received a digital de-aging transformation in order for their characters to fit the film’s timeline and I got to say, I was really impressed with the results. Jackson looked exactly like he was back in the actual 1990s. Looks like the filmmakers found themselves a technological fountain of youth. Ben Mendelsohn also delivered a solid performance as Talos, the leader of the shape-shifting beings known as the Skrulls. The rest of the cast were suitable in their minor roles even though some of their characters came off as either generic or underused, such as Clark Gregg as Coulson and Jude Law as Yon-Rogg, Carol’s mentor. Another thing I would like to point out is the film’s action sequences. While they’re fun to witness on the big screen, none of them really stood out as memorable or emotionally-driven. There were also a couple of action scenes that suffered a little bit from the wretched “shaky cam” maneuver. The humor, on the other hand, was able to deliver some well-earned, light-hearted laughs, most notably from Jackson and Goose the cat, and no, it is not named after an actual goose.
Overall, “Captain Marvel” serves as a respectable and entertaining breather before things get serious again in “Avengers: Endgame”. While it’s not the next “Iron Man” or the next “Guardians of the Galaxy” due to its flawed storytelling, the film has enough power in its soul to deliver another decent chapter in the long-running superhero franchise. If you enjoyed some of the other MCU films, there’s a good chance you might like this one as well despite its shortcomings.