Vers (Brie Larson) can only really remember the last six years after she woke up on Hala. She’s been training with Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) to help the Kree defeat their arch-enemies the Skrull, a race of shape shifters, once and for all. When she crash lands on Earth Vers begins to have flashes of a previous life.
Captain Marvel is a lot of fun, it’s the kind of film that Marvel wouldn’t have dared to make until very recently because it is so alien, in every sense of the word. Over the last decade it seems as though the MCU has been slowly ramping up the levels of weird in their films so that audiences are now prepared all of the space-based shenanigans of Guardians of the Galaxy and now Captain Marvel.The further we get from the original Iron Man film the happier Marvel seem to be deviate from the template that they established, and it’s really beginning to pay off.
The film doesn’t actually give you too much to work with in the opening scenes either, we’re thrust into a universe with the Skrull and the Kree, two competing alien races locked in an galactic feud. We’re drip fed information about the two races over the course of the film but I thought the film did a good job of introducing everything without a lot of needless exposition. The Skrull could potentially be a game changer in the Marvel universe in films to come, they’re a race of shape shifters and so the possibilities for retconning is pretty high.
Despite the fantastical, alien opening Captain Marvel does eventually find its way to Earth in the 1990s where Vers teams up with Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), who is just a lowly agent of SHIELD. It’s a nice change of pace as the two slowly develop a nice chemistry and genuine bond, something that was essential to get right for the ending of Avengers: Infinity War to really work.
Captain Marvel feels like a film that’s made for me from the nostalgia of the 1990s setting to the Superman-esque feel of the character. As someone who has worked at Blockbuster and who also owned most of the songs on the soundtrack at some point in my life it transported me back in time. It’s not just the setting that is rooted in the 90s though, the film itself feels very much like a 90s action film with a relentless, kinetic pace to it. The de-aging technology feels like it has finally come into its own with Nick Fury in Captain Marvel. Samuel L Jackson looks fantastic and I didn’t even feel a hint of the uncanny valley that has usually gone hand-in-hand with the tech to date.
Brie Larson is great as Vers/Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel she has plenty of charisma and manages to balance being both tough and vulnerable at the same time. There’s a real strength to the performance that is tempered with a genuine compassion for everyone around her – it’s perhaps the most Superman-esque performance we’ve had since Christopher Reeve. The message of the film is important and one of optimism and hope as we’re told we don’t need to wait for validation or to be told that we’re good enough. We don’t need to bury our emotions or our feelings as they’re not a weakness but the key to a greater strength. It’s a good message for what some people will consider ‘just a superhero film’.
Carol Danvers’ relationship with Nick Fury might be great, but the real heart of the film is her reconnection with her best friend Maria (Lashana Lynch). The friendship and shared history between the two of them felt really apparent from the moment they first come back together. It was nice to see a friendship like this take centre stage rather than forcing a romantic subplot into proceedings.
I think there are some moments of the film that could have been tightened up but they’re really minor quibbles and are few and far between. Perhaps the most notable is that some of the flashback to Vers early life and conflicts are glossed over almost too quickly and it felt like some of the character moments needed time to breathe. Similarly, I wanted to see more about the Kree way of life, the glances we got from the periphery made it seem like a fascinating and rich civilisation to explore but perhaps we’ll get more of that in any Captain Marvel sequels.
I loved Captain. It’s left me tingling with anticipation (and photonic energy) for Avengers: Endgame and it will be really interesting to see how the MCU handles this new and incredibly powerful piece being on the board.