With the ending of Avengers: Infinity War, there was a question of how does one resolve that finale, to undo that snap of Thanos’s fingers? The hint was in the end credits and the answer was Captain Marvel, a previously unknown hero in the MCU. It’s a big weight to carry to be that but additionally this is Marvel’s first female lead movie too. Despite these burdens it manages to be an entertaining film, that while clumsy at times, manages to be achieve its lofty goals in a largely adequate way.
Vers is in the final stages of becoming a Kree, a race of Alien warriors trained to protect the galaxy from the Krill. Yet someone in Ver’s forgotten past is memories of a life, as a human pilot. When the Krill threaten Earth, she is forced to not only confront her past but the things that hold her back from reaching her full potential.
If that sounds confusing plot-wise, it’s a combination of two things – my terrible writing but also the convoluted first act that is Captain Marvel. Any comparison to Green Lantern is probably apt, as the audience spends way too much time scratching their heads at motivation missing space soldiers and their enemies to actually enjoy it. The finale of Captain Marvel sees her go, well all marvelous only reminds us of these issues as she goes full Superman and we all know how entertaining that is. It’s clearly to set up her gig in saving the word in Endgame but it leaves it all feeling a little dull.
This would be a somewhat short review if this was all that was being offered by Captain Marvel but manages to turn around once Danver crashes to Earth and her past life comes back. It’s not just a simple matter of remembering but actually something that drives the plot forward into more compelling and twisting ways. It also manages to create a heart for the film as we learn about friends and adversity, she faced.
The whole thing ultimately works because Captain Marvel’s core is the actress, Brie Larson who has on and off screen made this role her own. Her ability to be understated and strong at the same time, to have sass but heart all brings the character to be fully-realised. The flaws of the movies are largely overcome with her wry grin or the utter conviction of her performance.
The Earth chapter of the movie as already mentioned is a far superior section of the movie and this is also because of the weird nineties nostalgia kick the film seems intent on. Additionally, Nick Fury and Agent Coulson arrive. The chemistry between Jackson and Larson is a well-developed delight that carries through from their other films.
The use of the past also allows Captain Marvel to tell more than the character’s origin story with Avengers and Nick Fury’s all get a beat. Oh, and the Stan Lee tribute truly wonderful.
Wading into any commentary about how Captain Marvel portrays feminism is a bit of a minefield for a man. But characters such as Rey, Diana, Michael Bernamm all represent awesome change that gatekeepers often kept guarded only decades ago. There characters are iconic in part their struggle against patriarchy wasn’t cliché or undercooked. Here in Captain Marvel it borders on cringey at times. Vers as she’s training to become a Kree and is told that she’s too emotional to be one. They say it out loud not imply it and it has these scattered awkward and cringey moments throughout.
Maybe it’s trying to walk a line for the gatekeepers, the idiots who can’t accept any comments Brie Larson says about inclusion, but it feels really forced. It’s more noticeable because there are moments when the film issues about gender work organically. As Carol tries to uncover her memory there are these moments when someone (usually a man) essentially told her to stay down, stop trying because she is a woman. The pain of those memories forces her to get back up, like she has always done before in a fight scene. It works because it is core to her character, and actually add heart to the film. Still one can’t help but see Captain Marvel as a great and strong example for a lot for younger audience and a fist to the face of those would question creative choices involving women from the anonymity of a message board.
Captain Marvel Review Cheat Sheet.
Looking over my review, Captain Marvel seems like a real mixed bag on paper but I think the weight of makes it work far outweigh anything that drags it down. From casting chemistry to an intriguing origin story all outweigh some choppy space alien story telling and some cringey forced scenarios to explore empowerment. Captain Marvel as a hero and as a film is entertaining and sets a direction for not only future episodes of the MCU but also the female lead future of that cinematic universe.
+ Brie Larson and the cast are excellent.
+ The ‘Earth’ chapter of the film as unravelling mystery works well.
+The nineties nostalgia kick works well.
-The space and super stuff are far less compelling.
-Some awkward and forced situations being used to explore gender issues in a movie that speaks to it organically without them.