Captain Marvel Review

The Plot

The Marvel Cinematic Universe bring its first female fronted superhero movie to the franchise with this 90s set sci-fi romp that sees Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) try to regain her memory with the help of a young Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson)

The Good

It’s obvious to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of comic book movies that Marvel Studios has been a hell of a long time coming. Even the DC Extended Universe managed to get there first with Wonder Woman nearly 2 years earlier despite the MCU’s 5 year head start in the connected universe race if you will.

With such anticipation surrounding the film it’s refreshing to see that the protagonists gender is never made as important a part of the film as fans have been (arguably rightly) making it to be. While it worked for Wonder Woman’s WWI setting to repeat it here in the 90s just wouldn’t work as well.

Having last seen the world left half in ashes by Thanos in Avengers Infinity WarCaptain Marvel bridges the gap to Endgame by jumping back 20 years to finally introduce Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers and it’s far from simple. Landing us into the middle of a hitherto unexplained alien world, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck don’t make it too easy to allow the audience into the life of Danvers, or Vers as she’s known to begin with.

Before too long the 90s nostalgia is peppered in as Danvers crashes through the roof of a Blockbusters (remember those!) and soon runs into a young Nick Fury with two eyes! Fortunately there’s no Hot Tub Time Machine style repeat joke of wondering when will be the moment he loses use of it. That didn’t stop this critic from wondering throughout though!

Brie Larson wastes no time in winning us over and is simply a delight to watch from the very opening. Having been named the MCU’s strongest character by a country mile, Larson has no trouble at all holding that title. Even as Danvers goes through the oft-treaded origin story of finding one’s self it’s easy to see just how strong she is and how inevitably instrumental she will be in Endgame.

What Boden and Fleck manage to do best in Captain Marvel however is in their use of the films villains, the Skrulls. A race of aliens that are able to change form into whoever and whatever they like, leaving the plot to twist and turn at points but never making you overly cautious at each character that comes on screen. The idea is never overplayed nor underplayed but it does bring forward questions regarding the last decade of MCU films. Surely no one is to be trusted now the Skrulls are involved and arguably have been since the 90s…

The Bad

One of the major downsides to Captain Marvel is it’s timing in regards to Marvel Studios releases. Arriving just in time to bridge the gap between Infinity War and Endgame is both its blessing and its curse. With the conclusion so close it’s hard to start watching Captain Marvel without constantly wondering how it all feeds into the larger story. Without giving too much away, it feels ultimately that had the release schedule been switched around a bit it could have helped.

Meanwhile, Captain Marvel’s unquestionable strength ultimately becomes one of her biggest weaknesses. By it’s third act set pieces, Carol Danvers slips into Superman territory in the fact that she’s so incredibly powerful that nothing feels like a threat to her. It’s a problem Supes has always had for this critic at least and now it seems that it’s a problem Captain Marvel has too. Frankly if she were to swoop into Avengers: Endgame and undo all of Thanos’ work with a snap of her fingers it wouldn’t be at all surprising. Perhaps if the inevitable switch between rediscovering Carol Danvers to discovering Captain Marvel hadn’t been so instantaneous it may have worked better.

The Ugly Truth

For the most part, Brie Larson is a welcome entry to the MCU, with a solo outing that doesn’t try to make too big a deal out of it’s much discussed gender politics. However, impressive though Captain Marvel’s strength may be, it ultimately becomes her downfall by the film’s closing act. Also it’s worth noting that you’ll never look at your cat the same way after you’ve met Goose…

Review By Johnny Ellis

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