Captain Marvel is definitely one of the most anticipated flicks of 2019. The Marvel Cinematic Universe finally gave us a superhero movie with a female lead, and it was all worth the wait. First and foremost we get an origin story of how Brie Larson’s character turns step-by-step into Captain Marvel. But fortunately for us viewers, this film offers more than that.
As kind of a prerequisite for a solo film focusing on a single superhero, Captain Marvel’s storyline centres on the journey of its title character too. First, we see her as Vers, an extraterrestrial Kree warrior who is involved in an intergalactic war between her people and the alien shapeshifter Skrulls. When her initial mission goes awry, she finds herself on Earth in 1995. She keeps having recurring memories of a previous life as an earthly kid and as a U.S. Air Force pilot called Carol Danvers. Buddying up with Nick Fury she tries to solve the mystery of her past and end the intergalactic war while harnessing her superpower.
During the unlikely couple’s adventures together other secrets are unravelled too. We get to know how Nick Fury lost his eye, the real identity of a seemingly cute kitten and how the Avengers all came together. So Captain Marvel does not only tell the origin story of its title character but shows us important puzzle pieces of the creation of Fury and the Avengers too.
It’s interesting to see different time periods mashed together into memories and how the main character tries to make sense of it all while she struggles with amnesia. I loved the movie’s complex approach of dealing with time, narrative and questions of identity. Carol Danvers, Vers and Captain Marvel are all different sides of the same persona. Like many great female leads before her, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery. When Carol finally finds herself and her purpose, that’s when she becomes a real superhero. And the most powerful one of them all: Captain Marvel.
Oscar-winning Brie Larson was the perfect choice for the role. She has the relatability of a girl-next-door and the toolkit of a great actress. She is more than able to convey complex emotions with minimal gestures. Larson’s character also works well with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. To fit the 1995 timeline, Jackson’s face was digitally rejuvenated in post-production, but the two of them definitely have chemistry. Their duo hijacks the action-packed storyline and turns it into a buddy comedy instead. Although Fury’s lines get the biggest laughs, Captain Marvel seems cool and funny too. It’s nice to have a female superhero with a sense of humour after all.
Captain Marvel is also a movie about female friendship and intergenerational connections between women. Carol only gets to understand her past and true identity when she reconnects with her best friend, Maria Rambeau (played by Lashana Lynch) from their days as military pilots. Maria’s fearless daughter also catalyses the story, when she sends her mom off on an intergalactic mission. Annette Bening also plays an exciting and multi-faceted female character as Carol’s mentor. Emotions, self-appreciation and relations to others play an important part in this film, which is quite rare in any superhero universe. These flicks tend to be more about the lonely battle of the hero with his inner demons and superpower than his relationship with others. So it’s refreshing to see a new take on the classic origin story.
I also enjoyed the film’s throwback to mid-90s America with its postmodern nostalgia and irony. The retro sets and technology usually serve as a punchline in this intergalactic sci-fi action movie. Showcasing a world of Blockbuster video stores, dial-up internet connection and impossibly slow CD-Rom drives make this futuristic story more tangible and relatable. The soundtrack is excellent too with Nirvana, No Doubt, TLC and even Bikini Kill delivering the goods and the necessary pop-cultural references.
I believe that writer-director creative partners Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck of Half Nelson fame did an excellent job on Captain Marvel. It seems that have an innate sensibility of portraying complicated human relations. Having In Treatment and The Affair under their belt, Boden and Fleck are experienced in executing TV shows that play with personal point-of-views and complex narrative structures. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
So this was my Captain Marvel film review. You can check out all my previous reviews of chick flicks here. How did you like Captain Marvel? Were you happy with the first solo female superhero story in the MCU? What were your thoughts? As always, I love reading your comments and if there are any questions I will answer them all.
Source of Featured Image: Captain Marvel (2019)