The FIRST Avenger!
Off the bat, you know you’re in for something special when the opening Marvel Studios title-card provides a sentimental treat. Followed by “aws” and applause, that unique feeling of embarking on yet another MARVELous journey settles in and feels magical.
If Robert Downey, Jr. is the Godfather of the MCU, Brie Larson is the Godmother! Setting the pace for 2019, Marvel Studios presents CAPTAIN MARVEL, a new adventure from an unseen time-line in the history of the MCU, introducing the first stand-alone, female-franchise – Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) aka Captain Marvel.
Set in the 90s, CAPTAIN MARVEL does away with traditional origin-story hoopla, exposing Carol Danvers (Larson) already possessing superhero powers. Leaving her life on Earth behind, she joins an intergalactic elite Kree military team called “Starforce,” led by their enigmatic commander, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). But after Danvers has trained and worked with the Starforce team, becoming a valued member, she finds herself back on Earth asking questions about her past. While on Earth, Danvers quickly lands on Nick Fury’s radar, and team up against a fearful enemy known as the Skrulls – the notorious Marvel Comics baddies made even more dangerous by their shape-shifting abilities – and their leader, Talos (Ben Mendelson), who is spearheading an earthly invasion.
Brilliant, bold and beautiful! For starters, kudos and mucho respect to the talented Ms. Larson. Like BLACK PANTHER’s T’Chala, CAPTAIN MARVEL has taken the MCU in a direction where both are fully capable of taking over the MCU once ENDGAME is off the radar. I found the film to be a fun, action-packed, entertaining, engaging, unique and revolutionary throwback that started it all towards everything we’ve endured up to date (including an eye-patch wearing Fury)! Larson is a badass in her own right. The film is a fantastic stepping-stone (no pun) to have inserted between INFINITY WAR and ENDGAME.
Tightly paced, the film’s stylistic appeal and girl-power swagger starts right away by throwing you into a deep and weird world of space craze. The story grants Carol / Captain Marvel the chance to mold out her own space in the universe instead of popping up into an already existing world. The beauty of this is it gives her a lot of rich, deep connection to the core of the MCU mythology. Smoothly presented by directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck – a nice chance taken by Marvel Studios — it’s a time in the MCU that we hadn’t seen before. 90s nostalgia reigns supreme as it taps into a period when cell phones were just phones, pagers were in, internet cafes were the rage and video rental stores dotted the landscape. Oh, yeah… and music – mostly grunge and R&B!
The setting and music alone generate a feeling, but the magic comes when we see Larson and Jackson go full-blown dynamic duo. These two have great chemistry. Bouncing off each other’s charisma, their flow makes it so enjoyable to watch, you kinda lose track with the film’s supporting cast, who in no way, shape, or form come off as “slackers.” Annette Bening (Supreme Intelligence), Jude Law (Yon-Rogg) and Lashana Lynch (Maria Rambeau) come off just as pleasant and fun to watch – especially Lynch! The minor downfall to the film is the underutilization of characters played by Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Gemma Chan (Minn-Erva) and Marvel’s double-dip, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’s Djimon Hounsou (Korath). Oh, yeah. Lest we forget Talso (Mendelson). I really wanted more of them. Maybe next time. *Shrug*
Overall, it’s a fantastic new journey and introduction towards a character for sure we will see more of. The novelty that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe is far from losing its grip on pop-culture. A treat that brilliantly tackles female empowerment and equality, this pre-Avengers time period brought to you by Boden and Fleck has set solid footing for Marvel Studios’ first female stand-alone. You’ll stomp, clap and cheer with this one. As usual, those post-credit scenes… You gotta stick through them. There’s 2!
Grade: A / Genre: Action-Adventure, Sci-Fi, Adaptation / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 2:03
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelson, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law
Directed by: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck