Top positive review
A perfect fit into the Marvel Universe. Brie Larson is excellent.
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2019
Theater review. Possible spoilers. What better entertainment for International Women’s Day than the Marvel Universe’s first film headed by a new character who is a woman. For those who don’t remember at the end of “The Avengers: Infinity Wars” (2018), Thanos pretty much took out much of the world’s population including some Avengers using the power of the 6 Infinity Stones. At the end of the film a wounded Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is seen using a device to call Captain Marvel for help.
So this is the origin story of Captain Marvel. It turns out she was once a crack Air Force jet pilot. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As usual, I will give a disclaimer about my Marvel geeknous. I have none. I’ve seen all the movies and liked almost all of them. At the same time I may screw up some characters, events, timelines and who’s a good guy and who’s not. The film opens on the planet Hala occupied by the blue-blooded (literally) Kree. A young woman known a Vers (Oscar winner Brie Larson) is decked out in a form-fitted aqua-green jump suit, as is her trainer Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). It is clear that the Kree have some seriously good fighting skills, but Yon-Rogg keeps telling Vers to control her emotions before launching some of her more serious weapons, especially fiery blasts from her fists. In what seems to be a well-placed and recurring attack on the emotional stability of women, we are sure to see more.
Vers keeps having nightmares and dreams often involving a woman of mystery called Supreme Intelligence in the credits played by 60-year old Annette Bening who also fills out her uniform nicely (not a sexist comment). Vers has memory intrusions as well of living another life in another world. She wants a combat assignment and finally gets it as an attack is planned on another planet by the Kree’s enemy, the shapeshifting Skrulls. In a series of exchanges and perhaps my confusion the Kree squad – including Vel - and led by Yon-Rogg, chase the Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) to Earth. Frankly I’m not sure who was chasing who. Vers gets separated and gets to Earth first, right through the roof of a Blockbusters Video and next door to a Radio Shack. These obvious “ancient” references are played for fun and it all works, including plenty-o-songs from the ‘90’s. When Vers gets her action on, the songs seem to be those with female leads (Garbage, Salt-n-Pepa, TLC and No Doubt). Nice!
Through these intermediary battles with the now shapeshifted Skrulls, Vers meets Fury and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) both with CGI engaged to make them younger. Works well with Jackson in particular who is in a lot of scenes. The scenes with Vers and Fury are witty enough to make the film watchable alone. A third wheel is a house cat called Goose who is likely to be remembered as much as the lead actors.
As time goes by, Vers's memory begins to come back. She reunites with Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch, “Brotherhood”) a fellow pilot. The two flew together and Vers discovers her real name is Carol Danvers. As Carol more memories return including interaction with a scientist named Wendy Lawson who looks a lot like Bening.
To be honest, this film closely follows the set up established for all of the Marvel films by Kevin Feige. What is remarkable is that Captain Marvel slides right in there without a hiccup. The film is fun, flashy, exciting and entertaining. Larson is perfect in her role. She goes from a newbee warrior with a bit too much attitude to a confident superhero who absorbs energy to create a character every bit as strong as any we’ve seen so far. When the Captain is at full throttle, glowing through the sky it raises one’s pulse. Let’s see how she does with Thanos in a couple months. Recommended.