By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
After giving audiences three comedic space adventures (Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, Thor: Ragnarok) and one mostly dire one (Avengers: Infinity War), Marvel Studios has returned with a new space escapade. Captain Marvel introduces movie audiences to its titular character and presents her story with some gravitas. Though the film does have a witty and fun side, this first movie for Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers is a mostly serious affair. Still, at its heart, the newest MCU offering is a thrilling and highly enjoyable space opera that has an admirable and empowering lead character. After all, it is about time that a strong woman hero take the MCU spotlight, and their newer “Cap” succeeds winningly.
When audiences last saw Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) he was getting turned to ash, just like half of all the creatures in the universe. However, before he is eliminated, he sends off a message for help to a mystery hero. That hero is Captain Marvel. The movie flashes back several decades before this moment when Carol Danvers serves as a warrior fighting in the Kree-Skrull war.
Under the leadership of Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), Carol (who goes by the name Vers) and her Starforce team go on a dangerous mission to intercept a Skrull unit. Vers suffers from complete memory loss caused by a serious accident, but was rescued and healed by the Kree and groomed into one of their warriors. When the mission goes poorly and Vers crashes on Earth in 1995, she inadvertently brings some Skrull fighters with her. It is up to Vers to find the shape-shifting creatures before they wreak havoc on the planet. She is aided in her pursuit by a young SHIELD agent named Nick Fury who gets introduced to extraterrestrial life for the very first time.
Written by Nicole Perlman, Meg LeFauve, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and directed by Boden and Fleck, this adaptation of the Marvel Character not only is a fun and exciting flick, it offers some subtle commentary on sexism, gender roles, and about Imperialism and xenophobia. It is mostly an intelligently written affair that gives women and girls a powerful and likable hero of their own who displays beauty (inner and outer), courage and strength. The film does have a couple of slow moments and a couple of jokes that don’t land as well as they should. However, these are minor quibbles in comparison to what the movie does well.
Academy Award winner Brie Larson has already proven herself as a both a comedic and dramatic actress and she utilities these skills well here. She also gets to flex her muscles and show that she has to chops to pull off an action-driven superhero. Samuel L. Jackson gets to show a different side of Nick Fury in this movie, as his character is younger and more naive. He also gets to flex his comedic chops as Fury is not as hardened or at the same level of seriousness as the character is later in the MCU timeline.
Jude Law performs well as Yon-Rogg, the tough, but likable leader of the Kree Starforce. Annette Benning gets to join the MCU as the Kree Supreme Intelligence, a seemingly sentient artificial intelligence that offers Vers information and advice The film also features returning MCU actors Clark Gregg, Djimon Honsou, and Lee Pace as well as new arrivals Ben Mendelssohn, Lashana Lynch and Gemma Chan. All of whom perform outstandingly.
So, even though Captain Marvel isn’t quite as extraordinary as Black Panther, it still has plenty of wonderful movie magic and intelligent commentary of its own. The movie makes for a solid introduction to the character and I look forward to seeing her join the Avengers in saving the universe. Speaking of which, be sure to stay for a mid-credits scene and one following the credits. It is totally worth it and enjoyable.