Saw an early premiere in my area for the Movie Captain Marvel. The film is written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, with Geneva Robertson-Dworet also contributing to the screenplay. Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law.
Please note there will be spoilers ahead as I give my full review. I really enjoy the superhero genre and wanted to see a quality film knowing that Marvel movies are almost always entertaining. The year is 1995 and the action begins on the Kree Empire’s capital planet of Hala. Vers is the name of the lead character played by Brie Larson and she is a member of Starforce an elite group of military run by Yon-Rogg who is also Vers’ mentor and trainer. Vers suffers from recurring nightmares involving an older woman. Yon-Rogg and later the Supreme Intelligence, an organic artificial intelligence and ruler of the Kree, tell Vers to keep her emotions in check.
During a mission to rescue an undercover Kree operative infiltrating a group of Skrulls, alien shapeshifters with whom the Kree are at war, Vers is captured by Skrull commander Talos, taken aboard their Earth-bound vessel, she is subjected to a memory probe. This memory probe releases other scattered memories of a life she had on earth. Vers escapes her captivity in a pod and crashes in Los Angeles. She crashed into a Blockbuster Video and eventually meets S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson. The Skrulls attack and Vers escapes the company of Nick Fury and chases after one of the attacking Skrulls.
From these beginning events comes the team up of Fury and Vers. where they try to uncover the truth about Vers or Carol Danvers and her past life on earth. It reveals her betrayal at the hands of the Kree and Yon-Rogg and the truth about the Skrull and the correct explanation of the war with the Kree. As Danvers regains her memories she is re-introduced to a life the Kree tried to hide from her and a friend in Maria Rambeau who is closer than a sister. When she discovers the whole truth and reaches her full potential she becomes the hero we were promised in the promotions of the movie.
I observed a decent story with a definite path to the hero revealed in Carol Danvers. The outer space shots were done very well and the de-aging of Fury and Coulson with makeup and CGI was pretty good and came across ok. Samuel L. Jackson played a young Nick Fury and did a great job as I would expect but how he lost his eye was just lame after building up the incident as a monumental betrayal in previous movies. Ben Mendelsohn was a great Talos the commander of the Skrulls, but it was strange to hear him speak perfect American English when he was shapeshifted as S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Keller then when he returned to his normal Skrull form he all the sudden got an Aussie accent, (Mendelsohn is Australian).
Annette Bening played both Dr. Wendy Lawson (Mar-Vell) and the Vers version of The Supreme Intelligence and she played them well but had very little screen time. Jude Law met all the requirements of playing Yon-Rogg a tough trainer and loyal Kree and ultimately the lead in the deception that Carol Danvers was Vers a Kree. Lashana Lynch — who stars as Maria Rambeau, Danvers longtime friend, and the fellow pilot did a good job of convincing me they were close friends even with the little screen time they had to develop that relationship. Rambeau’s daughter, Monica is depicted as the rambunctious 11-year-old daughter who was played by Akira Akbar who did a delightful job also with little screen time.
Brie Larson’s acting was a disappointment to me and came across uncaring and stoic. She was hard to relate too. I kept waiting for her to show me some part of her human side that I could feel with her. Even when she finally found out she was human she rejected any human failings. The only time I could relate to her is when Rambeau reached out to her to rekindle their friendship. She showed some affection for Rambeau and her daughter. Perhaps it was the fault of the director or the editing of the movie or they thought the revelations at the end of the movie would meet the need for some emotional connection with Carol Danvers.
Kevin Feige head of Marvel Films and others have billed Captain Marvel as the most powerful hero in the MCU and she shows that with ease as she easily destroyed the warship of Ronan the Accuser and the ballistic missiles fired at earth. She was to be the premier hero and feminist answer to equality in the hero business and with that, she hits a home run. But with Larson’s recent comments about the lack of diversity in the professional film critic pool having mostly white men who have a built-in bias against movies like ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ because it was not made for them, she set the tone for the movie as not for white men. “Am I saying I hate white dudes?” the Oscar-winner asked the room at the Beverly Hilton. “No, I’m not,” she replied. I guess there is no disrespect in calling a white man professional a ‘dude’.
I was confused by Larson’s white men remarks and thought it was a strange way to make a point about the need for more diversity in judging films. She could have said it in so many other ways. It is also clear to me and not arguable that the main antagonist in the movie were white males. Clearly, the motivation for her to overcome during the low times in the movie was the flashbacks to white males ridiculing her, which including her father. They encouraged her to just give up when she was challenged by a male-dominated world. Even Mar-Vell who was a supporter of Carol Danvers in the comics and a male Kree for the purposes of the writers was made a female character.
My male humanity is not that fragile so I do not take offense to this but she and Marvel must realize that men buy most of their tickets to see superhero movies. The night I premiered the movie the theater was filled mostly with males and many of them white. With the Marvel track record for making quality movies as it is this film should do well. There is an added incentive to see this movie with Avengers Endgame just weeks away and see what connection it has with that mega film.
The next phase of movies will have a different tone and direction and may not have some of the characters we have come to love in Marvel Films but I hope they still make great movies for all of us that love superheroes stories and the dynamics of being special and how to deal with it.
To sum up, the movie itself was adequate to introduce the next age of Marvel hero. Captain Marvel the movie accomplished introducing her as a powerful addition to the MCU. While not the best of Marvel films it established a beachhead for the next chapter it the production of Movies. May we look back in 10 years and celebrate another decade of Marvel entertainment.