Starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, (the titular character) Captain Marvel is a bit of an odd film. It’s an origin story, set in the 90s, focused on building up one last character before Avengers: Endgame finally arrives, which will serve as the conclusion to all prior Marvel Cinematic Universe films. As such, there’s definitely a weight on this films shoulders, with multiple questions being asked: can an origin story work this late in the MCU? Can it compare to some of Marvel’s other films, like Thor: Ragnarok or Captain America: Civil War? Let’s find out in our Captain Marvel review.
Our story begins on Hala, the Kree homeworld, as ‘Vers’ (Brie Larson) is unable to sleep. She’s part of an elite Kree force tasked with fighting back the Skrulls – shapeshifters that can copy anyone, right down to their DNA. Fortunately, in addition to being trained by the best of the Kree warriors, she’s got some nifty powers of her own, including the ability to expell powerful energy blast, as well as just being super-tough. During one battle with the Skrulls, she ends up aboard a Skrull ship before being hurled to Earth.
When ‘Vers’ is sent crashing to Earth, she has some weird questions that need answering. What are the Skrulls up to? What are these weird memories she has? Where do her powers come from? These are interesting questions, and they’re what drives the majority of the plot.
The fight’s not over though, as she quickly meets with a young agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) from S.H.I.E.L.D, who is very interested in her, her past and the war she’s involved in.
Without diving into spoiler territory, fans of the comics are going to have some interesting twists thrown their way. Overall, I found the plot compelling and interesting and The Kree-Skrull war is handled well, while raising interesting questions for the future.
Marvel generally knows what they’re doing when it comes to the special effects and Captain Marvel is no exception. The action is flashy, and the Kree and Skrull both look really good. The final battle is a little more understated than I’d have liked. It’s not bad but it’s nothing particularly unique either (though there is a gag that made me laugh).
The 90s aesthetic is established well, with harsher visual tones to counterbalance the sweeping spaceships and alien worlds of the Kree-Skrull war. There’s also some great soundtrack choices that help to establish the rough-and-tumble grunge tone being aimed for. It’s not going to achieve Guardians of the Galaxy-level recognition, by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s okay – in that film, the soundtrack set the tone. Here, the music is just a backdrop that reinforces it.
Brie Larson’s performance stands out as one of my favorite things here, as she is simply a LOT of fun. She’s clearly having a blast in her portrayal, discovering what she can do with her powers and testing the limits. All of her reactions, whether amused or annoyed, seem perfectly natural. Samuel L. Jackson shows us a cool, capable younger Nick Fury, more curious about the world, eager to figure out what’s going on but also more impulsive than we’ve seen him before.
That’s not to say everything here is perfect, as there are definitely some issues. Despite being heavily marketed, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is basically an advertised extra, only showing up for perhaps five minutes of the film, if that. Remember Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), the big baddie from Guardians of the Galaxy? Despite the focus on the Kree, he’s somehow here even less than Agent Coulson. While he’s not the focus by any means, it still feels like a missed oppurtunity.
Another noteworthy performance comes from Goose the Cat, who steals several scenes. He’s incorporated well, his interactions with Nick Fury are great and while his scenes might initially appear to be pure comic relief, there’s some wonderful payoffs to his inclusion.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t go into Captain Marvel with high expectations. Fortunately, any doubts I had have been proved wrong. Brie Larson is fun to watch and just plain awesome. After seeing this, the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War is made all the more poignant.
Captain Marvel is a fantastic introduction to the titular character and I can’t wait to see how this new addition to the team shakes things up in Avengers: Endgame. It’s doing fantastic at the box office and I’m very curious about where the worldwide total take will end. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s well worth seeing.