Captain Marvel review Brie Larson Jude Law

Year: 2019
Director(s): Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writer(s): Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet
Region of Origin: US
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Rating: PG-13
Digital, Color, 124 mins

Synopsis: 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. (Source)

Finally! After a decade of the MCU, Carol Danvers is here, and she’s just as glorious as you’d hoped. Marvel’s first female-fronted solo movie brings to life one of the modern era’s finest superheroes. Captain Marvel is an emotionally satisfying, genre-bursting joy. Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck saddle the film with enough social responsibility, but really just let the character shine. At this point in the game, the film fully utilizes the lived-in universe of the MCU, not being afraid to go cosmic and big. The cast alone, with Brie Larson, (de-aged) Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn are worth the viewing, providing sparks to the film’s unique origin story. At once, the film is familiar and alien, but satisfying and exciting all the same.

In the Kree homeland of Hala, is Vers (Brie Larson). She’s a whip smart member of the alien world’s Starforce, an elite group of soldiers. Still, at the back of her mind Vers doesn’t feel like she quite belongs. She has tremendous power, but has been told to keep it in check. The first part of her life also remains a mystery. After a covert mission goes wrong, Vers is captured and her mind is probed by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), a shapeshifting member of the Skull species. Skrulls, by the way, are also the mortal enemies of the Kree. After a daring escape, Vers finds herself in 1990’s Earth. It’s a foreign land, but she feels connected to it. It isn’t long before she finds out that Earth is her true home, and that she once had a life there as Carol Danvers. From here, Danvers is faced with a difficult decision, one in which she has to confront her past to find out who she really is. 

As far as debuts go, this film may not be as wild or inventive as what’s come before. Still, it shines with great characterization and personal stakes. Basing this version of Carol on Kelly Sue DeConnick’s recent run, the film dives into how it isn’t Carol’s powers that make her special, but the integrity and responsibility she feels towards those around her. The film is split into three very distinct acts. It swings from cosmic, to buddy-esque and finally character dissection, doling out Carol’s strengths in a way that surprises and empowers beyond the Marvel template. There are plenty of twists to be had, and in spite of the awesome might and power that Carol eventually displays, it’s her unyielding will and the relationships she cultivates that really soar. 

Captain Marvel review Ben Mendelsohn

The obvious advantage of this film is its cast. Though the story features an intergalactic war, its characters are tethered to an unmistakable humanity. As the lead, Brie Larson’s Carol is assured and confident. Larson captures a spunk and wit that are undeniable, giving Carol her sense of duty and the strength to do what’s right. Samuel L. Jackson gets one of his meatiest MCU roles yet as Fury. The technology de-aging him is so seamless we never question it, allowing us to enjoy his chemistry with Larson through and through. Ben Mendelsohn near steals the show as Talos. It’s hard to say too much, but he’s having so much fun with the role. He easily balances unexpected humor with real conviction and urgency. Lashana Lynch lends the story a strong anchor. She gives Larson’s Carol someone to really lean on, while Jude Law delivers a fascinating duality. Annette Bening is also great, but saying how she fits in would be no fun. And hey, don’t get me started on Goose the cat (a definite MVP). 

This deep into the MCU, Captain Marvel still feels fresh. Though it takes full advantage of a pre-established world, it has its own offbeat sense of humor. There are also some inspired needle-drops, and the film can boast some of the most emotional moments of any late game Marvel film. The way it handles its villains is also commendable, subverting what we expect to create a story that is empathetic and timely, all while delivering a hero that truly feels relatable. More than anything, Carol Danvers is someone who gets back up no matter how many times she’s pushed down. She’s a hero that we can easily get behind, and I can’t wait to see how she reshapes the MCU.