“CAPTAIN MARVEL” is finally coming to theaters this weekend. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck this much anticipated newest installment in the MCU stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers. Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Bening, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou and many other familiar faces fill-out the supporting cast. This will be a non-spoiler review. I will not dive into any plot-points or into the specifics of any character-arcs. I will keep this review as generalized as possible, but still informative.
All you need as a synopsis for this movie is that it’s set in the 90’s and it’s the origins story of Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel. It’s her introduction into the MCU and it completes the journey of who this character is. What her powers are exactly. Where and how these abilities came to existence. Where she’s been all this time, and much more. Going in I was expecting the traditional origins story framework, but I thoroughly enjoyed the fact this movie twisted that template up. The trailers gave me the impression of a procedural introduction story. With some flashbacks earl on, the first wave of adversity, and then the current day mission to round-out the plot-line. That wasn’t the case for this one despite delivering on all those facets.
I loved the fact that the writing took a new approach in how it told its origins story. The information we are accustomed to is all there. But it’s sectioned up and delivered in nice timely doses that for me kept the intrigue and interest at high levels. The film starts out very strong. It ends with gusto and charm. I enjoyed a bulk of the second-act but there were lulls in the pace. It does get a little explanation heavy at times as well, but for the amount of backstory they needed to fill in prior to “Endgame” it didn’t bother me as much as it normally would. I still felt like I was continually growing a stronger bond with the character. Connecting to her feelings about the powers she has, and the gradual acceptance of who she was. So, for me the dialogue being on the heavy side in terms of world-building worked for me.
Primarily because the story had a nice flow between the all the different moving pieces. I enjoyed learning more about the history of Nick Fury prior to when we were introduced to him many years ago. I enjoyed learning about the Skrull’s and the Kree’s. But script never lost focus on the arc of Carol Danvers becoming Captain Marvel. Taking the time to capture the growth which kept the story moving forward, effectively building excitement for the closing act. I thought the casting choices from top-to-bottom were fantastic. I will admit I knew of Captain Marvel’s existence but I’m completely unfamiliar with the character. So, whether Larson was miss-cast I couldn’t tell you.
However, as a fan of comic-book movies, and going into this one as a blank slate I loved her performance in this role. She was tough, intelligent and determined. But at the same time, she had heart, sincerity and charm and that was as Carol Danvers. Embracing the identity of Captain Marvel, I felt Larson was equally commanding as she felt every bit of a superhero. She also captured the growth in the character with an authenticity that brought some realism to a fictionalized scenario and that’s an awesome thing for a comic-book to accomplish. She felt more than capable in the action-sequences. Her fight scenes were awesome, and her pre-film training paid off. There were plenty emotional layers to the character, and I felt Larson was fantastic in capturing them all.
Larson also had a great chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson. Their moments together added some nice splashes of grounded humor to the story-line. I also thought Jackson on his own did a solid job of giving the character of Nick Fury some different personality traits. Or at least small tweaks to the ones he already had. It was subtle, but nicely captured the feeling of a younger, slightly more naïve Nick Fury. I thought the performance from Ben Mendelsohn made a nice impact of the film with the range he captured. Jude Law was also very good in this character and felt comfortable in the role. He too conveyed a natural chemistry with Larson that sold their character dynamics. I don’t want to go into details on any character development in the story simply for spoiler sake, however overall everyone brought their best effort.
The make-up, wardrobe, and production design were immaculate, and I thought everything looked extremely detailed. The special-effects were as crisp and polished as you would expect from a Marvel film. It certainly was vibrant and visually spectacular when it needed to be, but also as equally down-to-earth when the story location called for it. The set-designs and backdrops were immersive from start-to-finish. I enjoyed the action-sequences particularly later in the film. I think this movie does a great job of capturing the true power of Captain Marvel and showcasing it to hype up the inevitable face-off with Thanos as good as you could expect. I will say however that some of the action felt on the traditional side. I would have liked possibly more intensity to some of the sequences, and maybe an additional set-piece somewhere in the second-act to keep the energy up.
But as it was, the action complemented the heart and the sense-of-humor of the story-line to give you a little bit of everything. The soundtrack was excellent, and as 90’s kid I felt so much fun nostalgia while watching and think the playlist did an effective job of helping capture the time-period. I had a ton of fun with this movie and sure there were a couple things I would have done differently with some plot-points and would have like a little more uniqueness to the action. But I very much appreciate that this script was able to fit itself perfectly within the MCU in terms of tone, yet it was subtly able to step out of the Marvel Studio formula while doing so.
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