Thursday, March 7, 2019

Captain Marvel - Review

Ten years and twenty films later, Marvel Studios has finally produced their first female led superhero film, with a ton of sexism from angry men on the side. Before the film has so much as released, insecure individuals have made their minds up and made it their mission to tear down Captain Marvel. Suffice to say, they were and will be unsuccessful, and Carol Danvers will soar as the new lead for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, as she turns into one of the galaxy’s mightiest heroes and joins Starforce, an elite Kree military team, before returning home with questions about her past and identity when Earth is caught in the center of a galactic conflict between two alien worlds.

If history is to be believed, the key to elevating a superhero origin film beyond the sometimes cliché markers associated with the sub-genre, a stellar cast and likable characters will go a long way to making a film standout. The stellar cast has been there from the start, anchored by the phenomenal Brie Larson, who becomes a hero before our very eyes and breathes life into Carol Danvers and the powerful and vulnerable character so many know her to be. And while this feels very much like a great introduction, it’s incredibly exciting to see where Larson takes the character in future outings.

Then there are the supporting performances that round the film out perfectly, with Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn putting in great work. On one hand, Samuel L. Jackson could play Nick Fury in his sleep at this point, even a de-aged and far less experienced version of the character. On the other side is Mendelsohn, playing an antagonist in Talos that has some depth to him as well as great comedic moments, perhaps some of the best in the film entirely.

The structural risks of the story at play in Captain Marvel must be applauded. While most superhero origins tend to tell similarly paced three act stories, this film opts for a more mysterious approach, allowing the audience to piece together the hero’s story along with her. Now it isn’t super complex by any means, but it’s an interesting take at the very least. Outside of that, the script is very standard action flick, with a few hints of genuine emotion scattered throughout. The first act moves a little slow, but once the titular hero plummets to Earth, not a moment feels wasted or dull, and boy, does the third act really fly.

In many ways, the visuals of Captain Marvel and its numerous space scenes were pre-established. Marvel has ventured into space at various times now, and the visual pallet hasn’t shifted much so as to keep the universe connections consistent. That doesn’t make it any less of beautiful film to look at by any means, and having a lead hero with a such vibrant power set certainly doesn’t hurt either.

Captain Marvel is not a revolutionary film for the long running Marvel Cinematic Universe. It doesn’t change the game like Black Panther, nor does it blow minds like Avengers: Infinity War, but does it really need to? This film, in tone, story, and character, feels very much like a throwback to Phase One of the MCU, and that is exactly what it should be. It may not be a perfect film, but it is a perfect introduction of Carol Danvers into this rapidly expanding universe, and she can only go higher from there.

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