Whatever you think this film will be, you’re wrong.
Captain Marvel is the 21st movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the penultimate entry in Phase 3. It tells the story of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a former U.S. Air Force pilot who is now a member of Starforce, a team of Kree alien warriors.
Here she’s known as Vers and only remembers flashes of her past, but when she does, it interferes with her ability to keep her emotions in check. This is especially true when she’s fighting. Her mentor is Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) and while he seems genuinely interested in helping her develop into a strong warrior, he’s not amused by her questioning her past.
When a Starforce mission goes awry, Vers is taken hostage by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), a Skrull (shapeshifting alien species) who needs information from her past to help in the ongoing war against the Kree. Vers manages to escape and falls to Earth where the real fun begins. Hello, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D.! However, Talos isn’t far behind, forcing Fury and Vers to work together figure out what in the world is going on. And we’re going to leave the plot at that, because I, for one, hate spoilers.
Captain Marvel takes place in the mid 1990s and there are plenty of callbacks to the decade. Although there are a few song choices that are a bit too on the nose, directing duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck never take it overboard. It’s just enough nostalgia for 90s kids to appreciate. Pay phones, dial-up internet, Radio Shack? Check.
The film stays away from romantic subplots and instead focuses on friendships, and that’s not a bad thing. Carol’s story is compelling on its own and doesn’t need to rely on a love interest to help the plot along. That said, there is definite buddy chemistry between Vers and Fury. The film features several silly moments between the two and Larson and Jackson are fun to watch, playing off each other quite well. The same can be said of Larson and Lashana Lynch who plays Carol’s best friend and fellow Air Force pilot, Maria Rambeau. There is a genuine and deep love between the characters that comes from shared experiences and is something relatable to all audiences.
And let’s not forget the cat, Goose! The orange tabby will win the hearts of many with his antics, and is guaranteed to be a fan favorite. His appearance in the film certainly serves as comic relief, but he’s also essential to the plot.
Overall, I thought the movie was excellent. Is this my favorite MCU film? No, not by a long shot. Is it on par with all of the Phase 3 films? Absolutely. This is everything fans have come to expect from Marvel and it’s totally true to form. Of course it features a strong female character. It’s her movie. That being said, Marvel doesn’t try to flip the script and become something entirely new; they stick with the formula that has served them best. Captain Marvel is all about Carol Danvers as a character, and she’s a certainly an interesting one.
While I’m personally still tied to my previous favorites (Cap, Black Widow, and Spidey), I love Carol Danvers. She’s someone who I’d want as a friend. Sure she’s strong because of powers she receives, but she’s also strong as a human being. She’s flawed and she knows this, but doesn’t let that stop her from pressing on. She’s resilient to the core. Larson plays her beautifully, skillfully balancing Carol’s strength and weakness making her relatable not because she’s a woman, but because she’s human.
And yes, Captain Marvel is totally deserving of her powers and her title. She might be stronger than most of the individuals, but she’s not going to steal the show. For those who are worried that she is the savior of the Avengers, you can breathe a sigh of relief. She is vital to the team’s success, but Captain Marvel is not a Mary Sue who’s going to come in and single handedly defeat Thanos. Marvel doesn’t play that way.
I give Captain Marvel 4.5 out of 5 unreturned Blockbuster tapes.