CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019)

Captain Marvel Poster

Captain Marvel… the subject of much controversy and attention, the way these topics always roll on the Internet. What can be said about Captain Marvel?

First of all, it’s not a bad movie. I will just come right out and say that. Captain Marvel is a pretty damn decent film.

Set in the mid-1990’s, in sunny Los Angeles, California, Captain Marvel has a bit of a feel-good quality to it all. Starring Oscar winner Brie Larson (Kong: Skull Island, Room), along with other favorites like Samuel L. Jackson (Hitman’s Bodyguard), Jude Law (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword), Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One), Djimon Hounsou (Aquaman), our favorite Agent Coulson, played by Clark Gregg (500 Days of Summer, When A Stranger Calls), it also features some terrific newcomer performances, including but not limited to Lashana Lynch (Powder Room) who plays the best friend of Carol Danvers, Maria Rambeau. You get it, it’s a Marvel movie, there’s a bunch of great actors who all have names and acting credits and stuff. It’s the actors that make up these Marvel movies that are the plus for me-if they weren’t so good at their jobs, these movies wouldn’t get the bums in seats that they do.

Captain Marvel 1

This feels like a Marvel movie with more heart than some have felt like in the past, right from the get-go. Vers, played by Larsen, is a soldier living on the Kree capital of Halla in 1995. She is a member of the elite Starforce, a squadron that goes out and eliminates the growing threat from an enemy invader alien race called the Skrulls. She doesn’t have any proof of a previous life left behind. But her nightmares are all from the perspective of a female pilot on Earth named Carol Danvers. Primed to go on a mission to uncover a secret Skrull operation, she tries to tap into her unemotional “Kree warrior” side. All at the urging of the Supreme Intelligence, an AI and ruler of the Kree people.

But the impulsive, bright Vers struggles with the disembodied Kree warrior code. It’s only when she is allowed a conference with the Supreme Intelligence that she begins to get an inkling about her own origins. Then, when she runs the mission, the mission goes horribly sideways. By Talos, the leader of the Skrulls, she is subjected to a mind probe, but she finds an escape pod. She crash-lands, conveniently, in Los Angeles.

In LA, she attracts a lot of attention, both by trying to reach her own homeworld and also by hunting down the remaining Skrull warriors from her mission that have also crashlanded on Earth. There, she meets Agents Nick Fury, and Phil Coulson. Captain Marvel is a prequel, so at this point, Nick Fury is a relatively new FBI employee. He’s concerned with doing some good and not yet beleaguered by the inner machinations of the FBI. He’s still got both eyes. (And if you’re wondering why Samuel L. Jackson looks so good in this movie like I did, it’s because the Marvel filmmakers digitally de-aged him. This was the first time they’d done this for a whole film.) Together, Fury and Vers piece together some clues to her real identity at a U.S. Air Force base

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Captain Marvel is basically just a ton of fun. Lots of action, lots of spaceships, a ragtag group of friends banding together to save Earth. Perhaps the feel-good quality of the Captain Marvel film is owed, at least in part, due to all the 90’s music in the film, which I quite enjoyed. Almost as much as I enjoyed the 80’s music in Bumblebee. We can keep loading franchises with more movies and more prequels as long as the music’s good. Can you guess what I might have liked best about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2? It’s also in part due to the little CGI makeover Samuel L. Jackson has to go back to the ’90s. None of that awesome hair that he had in Pulp Fiction though, Mr. Jackson is all business here.

You might recognize one or two of the players in Captain Marvel from other films. Either as their own characters or as other characters. Ronan the Accuser, from Guardians of the Galaxy, played by Lee Pace (The Hobbit) makes a return appearance (or should we say, a pre-turn, because it’s a prequel?) as his blue self here. Gone is the Kree warpaint because although he belongs to the “blue” caste of Kree people, he has not yet gone full “zealot” as he appeared in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. I really enjoyed the makeup and costuming that they did to make the Kree warriors look so imposing. And my other favorite was Ben Mendelsohn as Talos the Skrull leader. Mendelsohn was a scene-stealer as Director Krennick in Rogue One and I enjoyed his performance again here. Not to mention the insane makeup job he probably needed to be a Skrull, to my untrained eye it looked great.

But the best part of what makes Captain Marvel so refreshing is not the old being rejuvenated here, but the new. And by that, I mean the oft-discussed, much-maligned Brie Larsen herself. And she is phenomenal and stunning, guys. I’m not making this up. Go see this movie now. Brie Larson could carry this movie by herself. You can tell Larsen has fun in the role of Captain Marvel, and her character is funny, smart, and gives a good asswhuppin’. In delivering her lines, she has a great sense of comedic timing that made me laugh.

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But, lucky for us, she also has the absolute pleasure of sharing the screen with the legendary Samuel L. Jackson, trading lines back and forth with him just as easily and as smooth as can be. Although a majority of great lines in any film with Jackson belong to him, I’d say the competition between him and Larsen for great lines is pretty swift in this movie.

I’d say of all the Marvel women, Larsen is the crowning jewel as Captain Marvel. She really owns the role, she can act, and she kicks a lot of ass. I don’t think it really matters what the haters say. And it shouldn’t matter to anyone who’s planning to see this movie. I’ll be looking forward to seeing her throw down with Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. I know now that Captain Marvel can pack quite a punch.

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