If you’re like me, the release of Captain Marvel in theaters was the first thing you marked on your calendar after getting home from watching Avengers: Infinity War last spring. Even the biggest fans of Marvel Comics have had a list of questions circling their head ever since they saw that red and blue logo light up on Nick Fury’s pager as it hit the ground. But the question that I’ve been focusing on most recently is broader than the key to beating The Mad Titan, Thanos.
As the release of Captain Marvel has drawn nearer, a large-scale discussion has ensued online about if the movie would be good or not. Before any big movie like this, there is typical speculation like this among fans and critics alike. But with this movie in particular there seemed to be an extra display of skepticism, and even maybe anxiety, about the film’s quality. Whether this was in response to the work of online trolls, the way the movie was marketed, or the controversy that ensued as a result of both, people were talking. And from this discussion I found myself asking the question, what does a movie like this need to do? Generally, most movies have the same basic goals, or list of things that they must do in order to really create a great product. They need to give an engaging story, reach the audience in a way that they didn’t see coming, etc. However, with Marvel movies, each installment seemingly serves a different purpose. In Captain Marvel’s case, the movie had to answer lots of questions suspended in the space between two of the biggest movies in the franchise so far, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. On top of that, it also has to sneak an origin story into a 10 year old franchise in a way that seems fresh as well as provides a new face for the franchise, as the current figureheads get in position to pass the baton.
So let’s talk about how this movie does. The film follows Vers, a warrior serving the Kree race in an elite squadron known as Star Force. With no memory of her earlier life and a set of powers that she doesn’t quite understand yet, Vers finds herself getting kidnapped by her the enemy, a race of shapeshifters known as the Skrulls, with whom her people have been at war with for years. When Vers discovers the Skrulls’ plot to track down someone from her past, she makes her way to Earth so that she can get her hands on the truth before they do. It is here that she not only meets young S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, but discovers her past as Carol Danvers, a test pilot in the United States Air Force. And the deeper she digs, the more she that everything she thought she knew was a lie. But as the truth unfolds, Carol is able to control her powers in a way she never thought was possible.
The highest praise that I can give Captain Marvel is that, for a film that aims for representation and therefore targets a wider audience, it still feels like a movie that is made for the fans. With everything from the adolescence of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the Kree/Skrull War, the movie adds to the universe while giving fans the answers we’ve been begging for, as well as ones we didn’t know we wanted.
Other highlights include lots of fun 90’s nostalgia. Some of this comes in moments spent in a Blockbuster Video store or on a Windows 95 desktop, as well a few classic but sometimes cliche soundtrack choices. However, there are also several subtle indications of 90’s films that heavily inspired the movie in theme as well as visual language.
Furthermore, the entire movie is visually stunning. Packed with well choreographed fight sequences, car chases, and especially dog fights, the action is pretty standard from what you would expect from a Marvel movie at this point. The flashback sequences follow suit, but they also fit into the narrative in a way that’s brilliant and doesn’t stop the movie dead. In fact, the movie does a great job of not laboring the exposition, and instead jumps around the timeline of Carol Danvers’ story in a way that feels very natural.
Of course, the thing that makes all Marvel movies great is the development of relationships that feel inevitably human (even when they are between aliens). One thing this movie was heavily marketed on was the chemistry between Brie Larson and her costars; mainly Samuel L. Jackson and Lashana Lynch. At times the relationships between these characters do feel forced, often manifesting in shared laughs that seem to be overdone and come from out of nowhere. But ultimately you do believe the relationships between Carol and Fury, and Carol and Maria. But the surprise is the rapport between Carol and Jude Law’s character, who shall remain unnamed in this review. Possibly the most important, however, is the relationship between Carol and Maria’s daughter Monica. Not only is Monica Rambeau one of several characters that takes up the mantle of Captain Marvel in the comics, but the sharing of the story with a younger generation is reflective of what makes the MCU great. Several of these movies highlight the nuance and significance of family relationships between both de facto family figures and parent/child dynamics. After all, we are meant to share these stories with the generation that came before us, as well as the one that will come after.
Overall, I would say that the movie was really good, while it had the opportunity to be really great. It’s hard to say that any part of the film was particularly mind-blowing, yet there was nothing offensively disappointing about it. But it does all the things it needed to do. It answers all of our questions, it adds to the larger universe in a way that feels natural, and it introduces a likeable new figurehead to the franchise. Not to mention a beautiful tribute to the late Stan Lee at the beginning as well as two absolutely stellar post credit scenes that you won’t want to miss.
Release Date: March 8, 2019
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, and Annette Bening
Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre: Superhero, Action, Adventure, and Fantasy
Runtime: 2h. 12m
Official Site: www.Marvel.com/CaptainMarvel
Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom.
Jake Hardison |Writing Contributor
A.A | Digital Broadcast Arts Palomar College
Jake is a second year student at Palomar College pursuing transfer to a university to study TV, Film, and New Media. At Palomar’s radio station, KKSM AM 1320, Jake hosts a weekly movie and entertainment news show called Morning Wood on Mondays from 6-9 am. Jake is an avid fan of pop culture and all things fandom, and has been especially passionate about film and music his entire life. Engaging in skills such as filmmaking, singing, acting, broadcast, voiceover, and writing, his interests are diverse, yet revolve around enthusiasm for the art of storytelling. Jake currently hopes to pursue a career in entertainment reporting and eventually break into other forms of media. Instagram: @JakeHardison_17 | View My Project
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