Film review: Captain Marvel
Vers (Brie Larson) doesn’t remember her past. All she knows is that she woke up in the alien Kree city of Hala with powers she is told were gifted to her by their leader and a name she doesn’t recognise. After a mission goes wrong, Vers finds herself on earth being hunted by shapeshifting enemy Skrulls and allying herself with a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). After six years without a past, Vers finally recovers her human life and real name – Carol Danvers.
Nostalgia reigns in this latest Marvel film as Carol is literally dropped into mid-90s earth. Audiences get a glimpse of the past with blockbusters, dial up internet and grungy girl bands.
If the dial-up internet tones and movie rentals weren’t enough to signal “it’s the 90s”, the soundtrack will, and it mostly feels gloomily charming. I’m only happy when it rains by Garbage and No Doubt’s I’m just a girl are great choices which reinforce Carol’s brash, couldn’t care less attitude. While we can appreciate this trip back to our angsty teen years, at other times the soundtrack feels forced. The music execs were clearly desperate to get Nirvana into the mix but Come as you are just didn’t fit the mood.
While critics have said the film is a missed opportunity to tell Captain Marvel’s story, but directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck worked with what they had – a very tight release schedule. Boden and Fleck knew there wasn’t time for overcomplicated plot lines or untangling impossible story webs. This isn’t the film’s fault - it should be taken up with the Marvel Studios executives who rushed the film to meet up with Avengers: Endgame.
Speaking of Endgame, there’s an after credits teaser which hints at a Captain Marvel and Avengers team up and, after seeing Carol take out a spaceship fleet, I wouldn’t want to be Thanos right now.
The plot line is basic but that doesn’t mean it’s boring and at times the story feels generic but show me a superhero movie that isn’t. What made it stand apart from other generic superhero movies was the absence of cheesy one liners. Larson, Jackson and supporting actors Ben Mendelsohn and Lashana Lynch said things that were funny instead of the same, tired old Captain America or Iron Man word-fodder. This is a superhero with personality and a storyline that is satisfying in its simplicity.
The movie also sets itself apart from the standard superhero flicks in other ways. It’s Marvel’s first foray into a female superhero lead and Carol isn’t a two-dimensional, male gaze sex symbol. She’s a woman going to work, getting her job done and doing it in appropriate attire.
Her super hero outfit may have been tight, but it bunched realistically, and she didn’t need to amputate important parts of her body just to fit it – Black Widow, take note. The costume design team also get top marks for listening – there was not a high heel in sight. The movie made it clear that Captain Marvel is not here for you to drool over, she’s too busy saving the world.
Final rating: 4/5
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch, Jude Law, Gemma Chan and Annette Bening.
If you like this, try:
The Avengers series, Guardians of the Galaxy, Wonder Woman, Black Panther