REVIEW – Captain Marvel (2019)


I bloody LOVED Captain Marvel!

Yet I will admit to being surprised at how much so. I knew going in I would at least enjoy it, so far I haven’t outright disliked any of the films in the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” (even the lesser ones like Iron Man 2 or Ant-Man are enjoyable, if sometimes forgettable, distractions). But I really enjoyed the snot out of this one.

Captain Marvel is exciting, fun, funny, , and has a sprinkling of 90’s nostalgia, which is well within my wheelhouse (as I was a teenager back then). And for all the grumbling people do about them, this was a unique and enjoyable take on the origin story.

However, it’s important for me to point out that after 11 years of these films, to NOT expect something that will knock your socks off on the scale of any of the bigger tent pole Avengers gatherings and the like.

The best way for me to describe this film to is compare it to the better examples of the Phase 1 movies (maybe call it Phase 1.5?). Like all the other standalone films, this is a much smaller and personal journey for Carol regardless of the stakes. Too many people seem to forget that and expect each successive film be bigger and bigger when in reality it’s just about our hero.

Speaking of which, Brie Larson is absolutely wonderful as Carol Danvers/Vers/Captain Marvel. She is cheeky and sardonic as well as stoic and brutal. She can be both strong and gentle when needed and we see this throughout the film as we follow her on this mystery and to discover her origins.

In fact the rest of the cast are great also (Agent Coulson is so deliberately green and naive) but Samuel L Jackson’s turn as a younger, less cynical Nick Fury is a delight and it looks like he’s enjoying the slight change up. His chemistry with Larson makes this into very much a “buddy cop” film and it really works as a grounded contrast to the big sci-fi wrapping.

Although, the MVP here is perhaps Goose who really steals the show a little like Groot (either form) did in Guardians of the Galaxy. I mean, that darn cat got its own poster for goodness sake!

As much fun as I had, it’s certainly not a perfect film with a few shaky spots here and there but it does find its momentum in the third act better than most other superhero films including a couple of cheer out loud moments. But on later examination, some of those “flaws” aren’t legit errors so much as stylistic choices.

Not all the 90’s references are overt in this film. While there are a few fun explicit references and music cues that will take you back (there’s a certain song that plays, which may be a tad on the nose but I love it because it is such), some of the heavy lifting comes from how the film is emulating a 90’s action film in parts. So there are some corny story moments as well as some cheesy dialogue but that really does add to the 90’s nostalgia in a subtle manner.

As for other “choices”, there were a few moments that I can inaccurately call a “letdown” mainly because my anticipation for that story element was set either too high or elsewhere entirely. I don’t think that detracts from the film but it does remind me of how much streamlining has to happen in the translation from comic to screen.

As far as the feminism of the film, it being the first female-led adventure of the MCU (something that should have happened years ago), well it’s there. But unlike Wonder Woman where the message was very “girl power” this is actually a broader metaphor that anyone can latch onto and be inspired by. Here it just happens to be a woman at the centre of this message and I think it really works.

For anyone that is put off by such and continually complains that politics has no place in entertainment, let me remind you that the first Iron Man film was about Tony Stark changing his ways and not wanting to build weapons anymore after seeing how they are used out there in the field. The rest of the MCU, let alone most of Marvel Comics, isn’t exactly free of such messages and political allegories either.

I went to see this on Wednesday night at a later screening so I could avoid the crowds and parking but my cinema was quite packed and I reckon it had the fewest walk outs during the credits I’ve ever witnessed during a Marvel film so that was quite a surprise!

Captain Marvel is an excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and an absolutely enjoyable adventure on its own. I was smiling throughout most of it and I don’t tend to emote during… anything really, but this one did that for me.

This is a definite blu-ray purchase but even before that I may even go back to the cinema again to experience it, I had that much fun!

Oh yeah, Thanos is screwed!

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