Captain Marvel (2019)
Directed by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Written by: Anna Boden, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Ryan Fleck
Starring: Annette Benning, Ben Mendelsohn, Brie Larson, Clark Gregg, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Samuel L Jackson
In the last of the run up to the biggest Avengers movie yet, we’re finally introduced to the latest addition of the ever growing roster of heroes, and as expected, it’s a great addition. Set some twenty years ago, Captain Marvel is an origin story with a difference. Rather than the linear story of coming to terms with your powers, we are first introduced to Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) on the planet Hala, home world to the Kree, and already quite an adept soldier, and going by the name of Vers. Although we soon discover that she has no recollection of her past, other than a reoccurring dream and muddled flash backs. After an encounter with the Skrull, the Kree’s mortal enemy, they uncover more memories whilst trying to extract information that they may be hiding. The vague info that they manage to extract, leads them to Earth, where she manages to break out from the Skrull’s custody in a daring and spectacular sequence, and ends up in LA of all places. It’s here she attracts the attention of a startlingly young looking Nick Fury (an incredibly de-aged Samuel L Jackson), agent of SHIELD. This kicks of a series of events including a French Connection style L-train chase, a buddy cop road trip, and the introduction to Goose the cat. A scene stealing feline who has as good a rapport with Jackson’s Fury as anyone else on screen.
The Skrull just so happen to be able to shape shift, meaning not everyone may be what they appear to be, and with that make excellent baddies, particularly the leader Talos, played brilliantly by Ben Mendelsohn and it’s another scene stealer. He’s a character so disillusioned by the war with the Kree, he’s at the point where he’s just fed up and reluctantly rolls with it. Brie Larson is fantastic in the lead role, with enough charm and confidence to make Star Lord jealous. The partnership with Fury happens so seamlessly you’d have thought they were best pals. The film shifts between buddy road movie and paranoid action sci-fi, and it’s a great time. Despite the setting, it’s not too heavy on 90’s nostalgia either. It was a concern that it could have all gone Ready Player One, shoehorning in as many cultural references as possible, but the closest we get is seeing a Blockbuster video shop and a Gameboy. Along with a decent 90’s alt-rock soundtrack from the likes of Hole, REM & No Doubt, the latter accompanying an arse kicking final dust up, perfectly.
By this point, you should know where you stand with Marvel Studios movies. Over the last couple of years the MCU has provided a consistent run of comic book movies that have been very entertaining and Captain Marvel is no different. It’s a fast paced, action filled sci-fi that could actually work as an entry level movie for the series. There aren’t any moments that really rely on on any prior knowledge of the movies, other than a couple of throw away gags about Nick Fury’s eye. There’s also a fantastic tribute to Stan Lee in the opening ident, as well as the usual cameo, of which Kevin Smith fans will definitely appreciate. Captain Marvel is one of the more exciting heroes in terms of her abilities and devil may care attitude, and now we have got the origin story done and the character established, it’s exciting to see where we are taken to next.