Set in 1995, ‘Captain Marvel’ follows Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, as she turns into one of the galaxy's mightiest heroes. She joins Starforce, an elite Kree military team, before returning home with questions about her past and identity. All the while, Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien worlds.
***SPOILER FREE*** The story of ‘Captain Marvel’ follows our titular character as she is caught between two worlds and two identities, being on the one hand an alien warrior and on the other, a human pilot. Brie Larson is nothing short of perfection in the role and in such moments as Jude Law’s mentor character telling Carol to eliminate her emotions, and a motorcyclist advising that she ‘smile more’ later on, the movie provides an unintentional but fascinating commentary on the context that has led to the film’s release (Marvel fans will recall trolls saying that Larson ‘didn’t have enough facial expressions’ when the first ‘Captain Marvel’ trailer was released). It’s subtly done but in such sequences, the movie claps back at the sexist attitudes that have led to the film getting such a tough time before it has even hit cinemas. Still, the best way ‘Captain Marvel’ can prove its worth is by being good – and that it certainly is.
Marvel and superhero movie fans are going to love ‘Captain Marvel’. Kicking off from the first scene set in Kree’s capital, the film soon launches (quite literally) into outer space. From there, the action comes quick, fast, and continuously. In terms of set piece numbers, it easily rivals ‘Infinity War’, and the films share in common an act first, talk later attitude. Exposition is kept tight and to the point so the momentum of the story and action is maintained. The plot is also kept simple so you can settle into the ride, giving into the thrilling and emotional experience that is this movie.
The use of Blockbuster to establish the 90s setting is cleverly done. The soundtrack features such 90s classics as TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ and ‘You Gotta Be’ from Des’ree. However, the filmmakers also avoid being overly sentimental or indulgent with the references and nostalgia. Elsewhere, ‘Captain Marvel’ doesn’t shy away from its ‘Top Gun’ comparisons. There are also more than a couple of ‘Terminator 2’ homages which are pleasantly surprising. The movie will inevitably be compared to ‘Wonder Woman’ because they both focus on inspirational, bad ass, superhero women – but they’re also comparable on the basis of being excellently directed (thank you Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck), highly entertaining features. Of course there’s MCU fan catering in there too with characters from previous Marvel movies popping up, and the MCU-style childish sense of humour present. Again, this is never overdone; it just adds to the fun. The focus of ‘Captain Marvel’ is on character and action, as it ought to be.
There’s a huge amount packed into ‘Captain Marvel’, including a fantastic cast. Aside from Law and Larson, there is also the brilliant Ben Mendelsohn and Annette Benning. Lashanna Lynch also gives an impressive performance, shining particularly in an emotional scene opposite Brie Larson. The film falls down only in a couple of questionable CGI moments and its comic book-like ending (again, something it shares in common with ‘Wonder Woman’) where everything Captain Marvel touches explodes and her powers become so immense that all other superheroes are basically rendered null and void. Still, such are the flaws of virtually every superhero movie in existence. In any case, ‘Captain Marvel’ gives everything a fan girl or boy could want – spectacle, action, heart, and inspiration.