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Film Review: Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel (2019)
Marvel Studios

Directed by: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Written by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Nicole Perlman, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Meg LeFauve, Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Gemma Chan, Lashana Lynch, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Djimon Hounsou & Lee Pace

Back in April last year, the Russo Brothers first teased the introduction of Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel in the Avengers: Infinity War post credits scene, with Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury paging the superhero before he became a victim of ‘the Decimation.’ Nearly one year later and the anticipation for Marvel’s first female-led superhero film is at an all time high, especially considering the significance of the character and the part she’s set to play against Thanos in Avengers: End Game. But does the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe live up to expectations? On the whole yes, this was a really powerful film for me and an important one too, with a particularly meaningful message. Yes it’s not the best Marvel film, but much last year’s Black Panther, it’s a much needed addition.

Directed by Half Nelson‘s Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel centres on Larson’s Vers/Carol Danvers, a super powered warrior suffering from bouts of amnesiac. Vers is a member of the Kree Starforce team, a special forces unit of “noble warrior heroes” who are part of a galactic war against the villainous shape shifting Skrulls. When a mission to retrieve one of their undercover agents goes astray, Vers ends up getting captured by Skrull commander Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and in a chaotic escape attempt, crashes down to Earth (aka C-53). In a race against time, Danvers teams up with a young S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Nick Fury, and the two work together to try and prevent the intergalactic war coming to Earth. But why does this planet seem so familiar to Danvers? And why does she keep seeing glimpses of a life here? The secrets of Carol’s past start to unravel in an intriguing story of self discovery.

The start of the film wasn’t particularly engaging as we’re thrown into a new alien world (Hala) and a galactic war between two species without much background. If you’re not up to speed on Guardians Of The Galaxy and Agents of SHIELD, this might loose you! Personally I really would have liked to explore more of this history, but once the frenetic action slows down and the central relationships begin to form on Earth, particularly between Danvers, Fury and Talos, does the film start to come into its own. Ultimately we get a great origins story told in a refreshing way, yes the usual Marvel tropes checklist were ticked, but the combination of the fun performances and empowering themes really shone brightly in this film.

Brie Larson is perfect as Captain Marvel – stubborn, headstrong yet ultimately very human, giving us one of the most powerful yet relatable superheroes to date. Danver’s power stems not only from her abilities but her actual character – her determination to succeed and willingness to get up after a fall. These traits exist long before she inherits her powers – providing a great message to inspire a generation of young children, making her a worthy of being the role model we all expect she will become. It was also great to see that she didn’t have to have a love interest and wasn’t over sexualised, which is so refreshing to see. Her line “I don’t have to prove anything to you” was just perfect.

How great was it to see a younger Nick Fury at the start of his career too? I absolutely loved his relationship with Danvers, as well as his hilarious and adorable bond with Goose. Seeing him go all gooey over a cat was just priceless! Speaking of Goose the cat, the ginger feline somehow managed to steal every scene he was in. Also stealing scenes was Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos, who brought a whole load of humour and empathy to the Skrull commander. Unfortunately though, Lashana Lynch’s excellent pilot Maria Rambeau felt somewhat underused, but the bond between her daughter (Monica Rambeau) and Danvers was particularly endearing and a nice nod to the comics.

As well as the excellent performances, the visuals, costumes and soundtrack were also very much on point. The space scenes and flight sequences were well done and very reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy, especially seeing Dijimon Hounsou’s Korath and Lee Pace’s Ronan, which tied in nicely with the wider MCU. Marvel continues to lead the pack with their incredible de-aging technology, as proved by Samuel L Jackson’s young Fury. The 90s era setting also added a lot of flavour, what with Blockbuster, NIN t-shirts and Windows 95 joke, and with songs from the likes of Nirvana, Hole and No Doubt, the nostalgia really kicked in. Also cementing the entertaining 90s theme was the brilliant cameo from the late Stan Lee, who Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck fittingly made tribute to in an emotional intro. And yes, it’s definitely worth sticking around for the two post credit scenes!

Overall, Captain Marvel is a solid and entertaining superhero flick, which carries an inspiring and empowering message at the heart of the film. I think it’s important to note that while I was waiting for the final post credit scenes, a young girl started running around acting like Captain Marvel, what a moment to experience! I don’t know about you but I just can’t wait for Avengers: End Game to see her team up with the rest of the Avengers – watch out Thanos!