STARRING: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg, Lee Pace, Gemma Chan, Djimon Hounsou and Annette Bening
Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.
Captain Marvel is the latest feature set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is the first female-led superhero superhero film from Marvel Studios. Set in 1995 we follow Vers on the Kree empire’s capital planet Hala. Vers is a member of Starforce, suffering from recurring nightmares involving an older woman. During a mission gone wrong, Vers is captured by a group of alien shapeshifters known as the Skrulls, who the Kree have been at war with the Kree for centuries. As Vers makes her escape to Earth, she’s on a race against the Skrull commander Talos to locate an energy-core that could turn the tide of the war.
The film fines a safe margin in relying on the buddy comedy-esque collaboration between Carol Danvers and Nick Fury and for the most part it is entertaining to see these characters bounce off each other, particularly watching a less-than-serious Fury actually reacting to the weirdness of the situation he is caught up in between an alien war. What provided the emotional anchor for the film was Vers/Carol interacting with Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau. I haven’t seen Lynch in anything previously but with the screentime she had I thought she was really good as Rambeau. Another highlight performance was Ben Mendelsohn as Skrull commander Talos. This is the big one for the audience to be introduced to the Skrulls and I thought they were a unique threat in the MCU, with their shapeshifting capabilities and Mendelsohn just chews the dialogue and scenery up as the rather interesting Talos. Jude Law happens to be one of those actors that can handle any kind of dialogue and make it believable, but I thought he was just fine as Yon-Rogg.
With all of its hype in regards to being the first female-led solo outing within the MCU, there’s also been the disregard amongst a certain number of film viewers over Brie Larson’s comments about off-screen inclusion, with some going as far into troll-mode and at one point I noticed a ‘Go see Alita instead of Captain Marvel’ campaign. Personally I avoided all that to just go into the film with minimum expectations as the trailers leading up to the film weren’t doing much for me in terms of Vers/Carol Danvers as a character and in the film it’s evident that they weren’t sure how to showcase who Carol Danvers is, in my opinion. While she’s cocky, quirky, the main issue I felt was that there was no real character growth here or even stakes for that matter. We’re introduced to Vers/Carol Danvers as this badass who finishes the film as a badass, no weight behind her personality about who she is and that’s mainly due the amnesia/memory loss angle and because of how powerful she is, I didn’t feel any sense of danger for her or any of the characters around her. For the material and the way she had to play this character that has to keep her emotions in check as part of the Kree warrior code, I thought Brie Larson done well and believe some of the words being used (miscast being one) is a bit harsh, though there’s definitely room for her to grow in Endgame. The script is pretty much by the numbers (the twists and turns the film takes are predictable) and some of the editing is pretty weak, especially when it comes to the action sequences. There’s some musical cues used here that are manipulating the audience to feel something, especially in the final act, that stands out like a sore thumb and was pretty reminiscent of following Suicide Squad’s footsteps in that regard…which ain’t a good thing. There’s some callbacks and certain things answered here to become cannon in the MCU and there’s one particular bit of cannon that did not go down well with some of the audience at the midnight screening I was at. As nice as it was to see Clark Gregg, Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou reprise their roles of Phil Coulson, Ronan the Accuser and Korath, they’re pretty much underutilised, none more so than Lee Pace.
Captain Marvel will be a box office hit and be received well by the majority, but for me the film is pretty by the numbers and I’m pretty sure I’ll forget the majority of the film by the end of the summer…bar the exception of Goose the cat. The performances are solid enough, Lynch, Jackson and Mendelsohn are the highlights and I hope Larson’s Carol Danvers is one of those ones where the character is served better going forward after their solo outing. 5/10