In Review: Captain Marvel

I'm going back to see it at least one more time on the biggest screen I can find.

Captain Marvel

Premiered on  March 8, 2019. 134 minutes, rated PG-13.

Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Screenplay by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet

Story by Nicole Perlman & Meg LeFauve & Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet

The short answer to the question is this movie any good? Yes. It’s a typical Marvel superhero origin film. There’s some moments for the kids, for the adults, and things for the ultrafans to swoon over. Is is the perfect superhero film? No, but the nicks are minor. This is popcorn fare at its finest.

Brie Larson is a good Captain Marvel. I grew up with this character in the 1970’s and this is not that Marvel. Much of this character’s backstory is new to me, and Larson carried off the amnesiac Vers well. There are several solid twists for her character and when she got her memory back she’s practically a god, and I have no doubt she could easily take out Thor. I liked how Larson made Vers confident, but still a little unsure of herself in the field, but felt much more in charge once on backwards Earth. As she explores her possible past, gaining insight to who she once was is entertaining. When she was at her full abilities the audience cheered as one and was wowed with what she could do. Partnering her with Nick Fury, pre-eye patch, is outstanding. Why Nick Fury hasn’t carried his own film is beyond me. Samuel L. Jackson can deliver a straight line as smoothly as a comedic one, and he gets plenty of both in this film. Fury’s got the most action in this movie compared to other Marvel films, and since this one predates the others, one can see why he easily speaks to heroes. The head Skrull, Talos, is played by Ben Mendelsohn. He’s very menacing, in and out of his Skrull persona, and his character has got a solid twist about two-thirds into the film. Where his character goes is interesting, but being an avid comic reader, this is not the Skrulls I’m used to encountering. The Kree that’s training Vers is Yon-Rogg played by Jude Law. He looks like he’s having a blast and any scene with him is fun. His chemistry with Larsen is as good as with Jackson. Annette Bening plays two characters, the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree and somone else that I won’t spoil. She also looked to be having a blast, especially once she had on a flight jacket. I’ll admit to being slightly disappointed that she didn’t resemble the Supreme Intelligence as shown in the comic books, but that’s something only a fan would nick. There are several other actors from previous Marvel films that have appearances, but I went into this movie spoiler free, save the trailer, and was surprised and happy to see them, so I won’t spoil them here. My advice, avoid the spoilers and you’ll be delighted when you see who appears.

The story has Vers getting a quick backstory from the get-go and then realizing that she’s missing some parts of her past. A lot of her past. A whole lot of her past. She ends up on Earth and wants to get back to Hala, the Kree homeworld, but stays on Earth to track down some Skulls. She crosses paths with Nick Fury, who knows it’s his job to find out more about her. They go to some secret places, get chased, Carol learns her full past, and then it’s a slam-bang last quarter. There’s a lot left open for a sequel or two, but fans are expecting to see more of Marvel in Avengers: Endgame, and let’s just say one should sit through the credits, as the first credit scene had the audience scream the loudest. There’s one at the end of all the credits that reintroduces a major MacGuffin back into the franchise.

The action is great. I could have had much more. There’s a good fight scene in the beginning, there’s one early on Earth that’s in the trailers, and a small one in a remote locale, before the last act which is where a lot of the budget went. I’m a big fan of space battles of all kinds and I would have loved to see more set there, but this is an origin film, so there will probably be more of that in the sequel to this film. The effects are outstanding, with the cities and space battles great. I’d buy the movie just to see them again and again. The make-up is also really good. I love the Skrulls and was happy to see their look in this movie. I love blue Kree and they reminded me of work drawn by the Buscemas, Adams, and Starlin every time they appeared. The costumes and variety of Kree warriors are awesome. Cosplayers are going to go nuts with their look at comic book conventions for a long time. I could watch a whole movie just featuring the Kree.

The soundtrack is to die for. Think of any rock song from the 1990’s featuring female singers and it’s most likely on this soundtrack. Seriously, this is as good as The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. I’m going to pick this up whenever it comes out.

The ending is what you would expect from a superhero movie: several plot threads are left dangling to be picked up in a sequel or two or in other films. It’s not entirely satisfying, but it’s a comfortable ending. It made me happy, I’ll give it that.

And yes, Stan Lee is in the film, twice. His first appearance got a tremendous amount of applause. His second one will make Kevin Smith very happy. And you’ll never look at orange tabby cats the same. Goose steals several scenes.

The final line: I’m going back to see it at least one more time on the biggest screen I can find. I’m taking my 20-year-old and 17-year-old daughters to see this. It’s got all the pizzazz one expects from a superhero film and it’s got some powerful and empowering moments. This is a hero to root for. Overall grade: A-


Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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