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Captain Marvel – Movie Review

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Captain Marvel – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Walt Disney Studios

At this point, it’s almost predictable to mention that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a formula. One might think the easily recognisable filmmaking decisions of these movies would be a detriment and outside of the Guardians of the Galaxy series, they don’t venture too far off the beaten path. However, it is a formula that works. There is an expectation that each new entry will provide heroes to root for, impressive action scenes and a smattering of moments sure to cause smiles. Marvel Studios has a well-oiled machine and if it continues to produce films like Captain Marvel, that’s perfectly fine. This is an entertaining spectacle with a well-rounded lead and some clever story turns.

<Carrying most of the film is Brie Larson as Carol Danvers. Most of her goal involves piecing together the mystery of her past and while we have a good idea early on where her journey will lead, Carol becomes a hero with a solid arc. Larson fluctuates between serious determination and a quick wit, along with occasional moments of empathy. There’s a rooting interest in her trying to regain her memories and directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck also have fun with the fish-out-of-water part of her story. She also shares significant screentime with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, which turns the film into a sort of buddy comedy. Their chemistry allows for some winning banter and while the film is cheeky in references to other Marvel films, it produces enough knowing nods of recognition.

Captain Marvel also leans heavily on its 1995 setting. We are now at a point in time when films set during the Clinton years can be considered period pieces. The movie has fun with having Carol fall into a Blockbuster Video and attempt to use a dial-up Internet connection. Thankfully, we’re mostly spared the fashion of that decade, but the filmmakers have fun with showing the contrast of Carol’s Kree uniform with the Earth people she comes across. One of the most touching elements of Captain Marvel is the friendship between Carol and Air Force pilot Maria Rambeau. The movie does well in showing the difficulty of reconnecting with someone not seen in many years and the connection between them feels earned.

Boden and Fleck bring the proper flashy energy to the action scenes, with a stand-out being a skirmish between Carol and a shape-shifting Skrull on a subway train. There are also plenty of space battles and space ship chases that harken back to the likes of Star Wars. Larson and her stunt team show off some impressive moves during the fight scenes, even when multiple computer-generated special effects surround Carol. Marvel has made it a point of de-aging their actors for quick flashbacks, but having the central supporting actor be made younger for his entire screentime is a new feat. However, Jackson is one of those actors who doesn’t appear to have aged much since the ‘90s, so it’s hard to say how much CGI magic was utilised.

Captain Marvel provides the usual entertaining action adventure Marvel is known for at this point. The lead superhero is one we can get behind, while the script presents a conflict with stakes and a good amount of successful lighthearted humour. There is an empowering message in Captain Marvel that seems likely to resonate with many and Brie Larson’s portrayal of Carol Danvers will be looked up to for many years to come. Every new introductory Marvel movie is a test to see whether their newest superhero can rank with the likes of Iron Man, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk. The good news is Captain Marvel does deserve to join the Avengers and it will be exciting to see what she pulls off in Avengers: Endgame.

Captain Marvel opens in theatres on March 7.

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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