Written by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Starring Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Benning, Lashanna Lynch, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Djimon Hounsou and Lee Pace
Vers (Larson) is having dreams of another world and another life. When she wakes up on the Kree homeworld of Hala, she decides to get in some training with her mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). Vers and Yon-Rogg are members of the Kree’s intergalactic peacekeepers known as Star Force. When they discover that the Skrulls have invaded a planet and taken one of their own, the team assembles to track them down. After bombarding the planet, Vers and her crew set down to find their missing warrior.
Unbeknownst to any of them, the Skrulls have set a trap. A trap designed to capture Vers. After going through her mind to find a location, they discover that the information they need will be on Earth. After Vers escapes from the Skrull ship, she crashes on Earth and contacts the rest of Star Force to come and pick her up. While she hunts the Skrulls on Earth and they search for her, she teams up with SHIELD agent Nick Fury to stop the Skrull plan and unlock the mysteries of her past, including her identity as Captain Carol Danvers. Mysteries that will bring into question everything she knows about her life.
First things first, this movie takes place in the 1990’s. If there is any ambiguity from anyone about when this film takes place, the film itself will remind you over and over again. Joking aside, the 90’s setting brings back a lot of nostalgic fun that people who grew up in that era will recognize. Some of the scenes brough out a groan of remembrance (dial-up internet) and more than a few smiles (the Gameboy was my entire existence for too many years). The music is great, but there was too much of it. While there were some moments where the music works, the finale featuring “Just A Girl” was a little too “on the nose” and it didn’t match the pacing of the fight scene.
The story is incredibly fun. The writers took the origin story framework and twisted it enough to make it interesting. Layering her memories into the plot allowed for the story to move forward rather than pull the audience out of it to deal with flashbacks. It’s effective in keeping the plot moving, but many of the reveals are not hard to uncover. There are some clever twists, especially in character motivations. There is more to the Skrulls than we are led to believe and the twist towards the end of the film makes things more interesting for the character and the Skrulls going forward.
All of the actors are great in their roles. Brie Larson is fun and capable as Carol Danvers. There is a glint of bravado in everything she does and it adds personality. She doesn’t shy away from her emotions and she is sure of herself and her capabilities. Above everything else, she’s tough and that is reflected in many moments throughout the film including the end. Samuel L Jackson takes a different approach to the younger Nick Fury in this film. Instead of the smooth, calculated spy-master we’ve come to know, he’s a desk jockey discovering all these new things happening in the world. He becomes the audiences voice in experiencing these events. It doesn’t always work considering who the audience has gotten used to him being and I thought he leaned into the humor a little too much.
Captain Marvel is a fun and flawed film. It’s greatest strengths are when it allows for the fantastic elements of the story to come to life and the humor of certain moments to be reflected organically. It’s flaws lie in leaning into the nostalgia for the time period too much and trying to force humorous moments that distract. Definitely worth seeing for the story it’s telling as well as the connections to the larger MCU and the upcoming Avengers Endgame.