Captain Marvel Review

Captain Marvel movie posterSynopsis
During a mission to rescue an undercover Kree operative, Vers (Brie Larson) is captured by the shapeshifting Skrulls. She manages to escape, crashing on Earth. On Earth, she discovers her hidden past with the help of SHIELD agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

Review
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been waiting for Captain Marvel for a long time. For one, it finally brings a movie headlined by a female character. For another, and on a more personal level, it finally brings Carol Danvers into the behemoth film franchise. She is one of my favorite Marvel comic characters so I am ecstatic to see her on the big screen. But most importantly, it shows Nick Fury before he was director of SHIELD. OK, maybe that’s not the most important but it was still fun to see. Anyway, the big question is whether or not it was worth the wait. For the most part, yes.

At the center of the film is Brie Larson as the titular Captain Marvel (who was never actually referenced by her superhero name in the film). Larson brings some spunk and good amount of sass to the character of Carol Danvers. Much like what Robert Downey Jr. did with Tony Stark in Iron Man, Larson brings her own personality to the character. One thing she copies perfectly is Carol’s self-confidence.

One of my favorite aspects about Captain Marvel is that it has a buddy cop vibe. Larson and Samuel L. Jackson spend a majority of the film together, searching for a way for Vers (aka Carol) to get a message to her team. Buddy cop movies often succeed or fail based on the central duo. Since this is Larson’s and Jackson’s third film together, there was a clear rapport between them that gave them good chemistry and created a fun dynamic. This energy between the two of them prevented the film from becoming dull.

Nostalgia is all the rage these days. When a movie takes places in the past, particularly the recent past, there has to be references to events, pop culture, and technology of the time. This movie, set squarely in the middle of the 1990s, has its fair share of references that will make anyone who grew up or lived during the era are sure to pick up on and laugh at. Some were given in the trailers, like Blockbuster, but there were other references to Radio Shack, dial-up internet, and Mallrats, along with many, many more. Picking up on these are just as fun as picking up on comic easter eggs in other MCU films so I won’t go any deeper.

With how advanced computer animation is these days, many films would opt to motion capture the Skrull actors and use CGI in the final cut. However, I really appreciated the use of makeup and prosthetics to bring the shapeshifting aliens to life. It adds a hint of realism to an otherwise fantastical part of the film.

Speaking of CGI, it seems Marvel has taken a liking to de-aging. They first applied the process to Michael Douglas in Ant-Man to some successful results. However, that was just for one scene. This time, they applied the process to Jackson for the entire film. Like Douglas, it doesn’t look weird or enter uncanny valley territory. Clark Gregg gets the same treatment but his character of Agent Phil Coulson isn’t as prominent as Jackson’s Fury.

I have been on record saying that the Marvel formula doesn’t bother me. I’ve constantly referred to Iron man as the template of how to do a superhero origin film; it works and is a proven formula that I enjoy. However, I know it doesn’t work for everybody and others are getting tired of seeing the same structure over and over. While I was alright with the way the story was set up, I just wanted to give you a heads up if you are one of the ones who have had enough of the Marvel formula.

For the most part, Marvel films have had pretty crisp cinematography during their action scenes and sequences. However, this movie used shaky cam more than other MCU films have in the past. It seemed to get better as the film went on but it still caught me off guard at first.

I thought Captain Marvel was GOOD πŸ™‚ With a feeling more at home in Phase One, it offers nothing ground-breaking from a story-telling perspective. However, it still offers loads of fun and plenty of entertainment. Quickly becoming a massive box office, there’s no doubt a sequel is already in the works. With the success of this and Wonder Woman, hopefully the notion that female-led superhero films cannot perform at the box office is dispelled and we will see many more in the future.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Anna Boden – Director / Screenplay / Story
Ryan Fleck – Director / Screenplay / Story
Geneva Robertson-Dworet – Screenplay / Story
Nicole Perlman – Story
Meg LeFauve – Story
Pinar Toprak – Composer

Brie Larson – Vers / Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel
Samuel L. Jackson – Nick Fury
Ben Mendelsohn – Talos / Keller
Jude Law – Yon-Rogg
Annette Bening – Supreme Intelligence / Dr. Wendy Lawson / Mar-Vell
Lashana Lynch – Maria Lambeau
Clark Gregg – Agent Coulson
Rune Temte – Bron-Char
Gemma Chan – Minn-Erva
Algenis Perez Soto – Att-Lass
Djimon Hounsou – Korath
Lee Pace – Ronan
Chuku Modu – Soh-Larr
Matthew Maher – Norex