'Captain Marvel' (2019): The Best Marvel Hero Yet.
Blasting her way onto cinemas on international women’s day no less, Captain Marvel is the first female led superhero film to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It may have taken 11 years to get here, but the intergalactic hero has been around for a lot longer than that. Set in 1995, ‘Captain Marvel’ is the story of the noble warrior hero known in the film as “Vers”.
After a routine mission goes awry, complete with flashes of a forgotten past, Vers finds herself stranded on earth, a strange place that feels all too familiar. After she’s discovered by a remarkably de aged Samuel L Jackson, playing a young Nicholas Fury, the two embark on a mission to defend earth against the nefarious Skrulls. The shapeshifting sworn enemy of the Kree. As far as visual effects go, ‘Captain Marvel’ is pretty stunning to look at. With practical make up to make Gene Rodenberry envious, and digital effects to make George Lucas blush.
All this complex backstory and I didn’t even mention the artificial intelligence that transforms into the subconscious desires of whomever meets it. In what should be surprising to no one, ‘Captain Marvel’ is able to tie in all these details without making it feel overwhelming. It does just enough to get you invested in the larger conflict and spends the rest of the time getting to know its main character. As Vers uncovers the secrets of her past like a non-brooding Wolverine, the audience is treated to a better idea of what may be one of the most delightful protagonists in recent memory.
She’s got the snark of Tony Stark, and the righteous nobility of Captain America, without the palpable obnoxiousness that tends to follow those two characters. The whole time watching the film, I wanted to spend more time with its heroine. Brie Larson gives the character relatability as well as likeability, and a role model for all.
As much as this is the Captain Marvel show, a few other characters shine in this superhero origin story. Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury has both the look and the charisma of a 90s action hero Sam Jackson. He also smiles more than he has in any Marvel movie to date. Continuing the streak of nuanced and interesting villains, Ben Mendhelson plays Talos, the Skrull general hot on Captain Marvel’s tail. He has a sense of ordinary comedy about him. It’s not quite dry humour, but more along the lines of a regular person just trying to make it through a very long day. I can’t talk about characters without mentioning Goose the cat, who is undoubtedly going to become the next Marvel fandom fav.
Then of course there’s Jude Law, who plays Vers’ commander, Yon-Rogg. He ties into the films larger statement. Much of his interactions with the protagonist are telling her to keep her emotions in check. Not to make a scene. To be more professional. On the other hand, she’s told she ought to smile more, not take things so seriously, maybe lighten up. It’s frustrating to watch, especially considering the reality that it represents. The moments in which Vers does let loose feel like catharsis, and are only as good as they are because the film succeeds in getting you to care about the character.
The story is well paced and with a few dramatic twists and turns that make this an extremely enjoyable adventure film. Its 90s aesthetic goes mostly unnoticed, until of course Captain Marvel has to use a pay phone, and her battle with an old woman doesn’t become the trending video on Youtube. As superhero films go, there are several it draws its cues from, but while the film doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it sure does give it a good spin. At just over 2 hours, ‘Captain Marvel’ is genuine Marvel classic, with intriguing characters that even manages to delve into the heartfelt.
Rating: Big Screen Watch