It took a decade, but this week Marvel brings us their first female led superhero film. Giving us a quick respite before diving into Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel brings us a unique Marvel movie, and not just because it has a female as the lead.
Captain Marvel is irreverent, playful, and puts a new spin on the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it fills in events long before The Avengers Initiative came to light, and introduces us to arguably the most powerful hero in the Marvel Universe, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson).
While the film feels unbalanced and shaky to start, that, I believe, was a conscious choice by the filmmakers as Carol, herself, is shaky, and unsure of herself. She has dreams of a life that she doesn’t remember, and struggles to keep her emotions and unusual powers in check.
She is a member of the Starforce, a Kree organization that has been engaged in a war with the Skrulls for as long as anyone can remember. When she and her team are assigned a mission by the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening), she, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), and the rest of their diverse team find themselves walking into a trap that sends her life spiraling out of control, figuratively and literally, as she comes crashing to the planet Earth… in the 90s.
There she encounters Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Coulson (Glark Gregg) and discovers her connection to the planet and the people there, all while confronting the threat of the Skrulls, led by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn).
When we and she discover who she is, there is no holding back, as she goes higher. Further. Faster.
Captain Marvel is unique, empowering (loved the single mother story), laugh-filled, and fun. Fans will recognize moments and characters, and may be delighted with the way the surprises that are doled out through the course of the film.
It’s done well. It’s done smart. And gives Carol Danvers the welcome she needs to the MCU.
There are payoffs, setups and reveals that will impact the MCU, and the fact that the film is as irreverent as it is, not in a Guardian of the Galaxy kind of way, but in a real, down to Earth this is how you would react way makes us feel like we’re in on something special from the beginning. We see how things have affected Coulson, and Fury (who is especially relaxed in this film, must be the CGI-de-aging).
Beginning with an updated Marvel Studios introduction (and a poignant nod to Stan Lee in the cameo) the film is a lot of fun, and while sometimes a few of the 90s moments and other things may be a little too on the nose, it doesn’t deter to the sense of joy that permeates the film. And that is down to Larson’s performance as Danvers. She’s so much fun to watch, and you want to see her rise up, to stand, to fight, to persevere, to lead, to be a hero.
There are some great alternate 90s tunes filling the film, some moments that those of us who lived through those times will remember (and not lament) and I love seeing such an empowering female hero not only be welcomed to the MCU, but stride easily to its forefront, and prepare to lead the charge in Endgame.
I had a lot of fun with this, loved Goose the cat, and Brie owned this movie!
Captain Marvel opens today in theaters!