Article By: Alice-Ginevra Micheli
While there have been plenty of strong female characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, none have helmed their own film. They’ve all been either supporting characters in someone else’s origin tale, or part of the crew in a team-up showcase. With Captain Marvel, this has finally become a thing of the past.
Written and directed by husband and wife team, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, it tells of Veers, a Kree warrior-hero who lands on circa 1995 Earth as part of her protector duties. However, what she finds is that there may be more to her past than she could have ever imagined.
No doubt, there was a lot of pressure on this film to be as great as it could possibly be, not only because it was MCU’s first female movie, but also because it had to introduce a character who is arguably the most powerful in the Marvel pantheon. It had to both show her incredible strength, while giving her enough human vulnerability so as to establish a connection with audiences, as well as a point from where she can grow in future appearances.
Having taken all this into consideration, it can honestly be said that the film delivered is one of the ages.
All in all, Boden and Fleck have created something excellent with a great character at its core. The story builds to a stunning climax, managing to never get lost in those small, dull, expositional scenes that can sometimes bring all momentum to a halt.
Specifically, its strengths lie in its story. While initially it can seem like a pretty cut and dry hero fable, there are many unexpected moments that allow certain depths to appear. It’s subtle, leaving it space to create beats of ingenuity that add that much more when it finally gets into the exciting action pieces.
As mentioned, Veers – real name Carol Danvers – is greatly overpowered, which can often feel like a flaw in the superhero genre. It has the potential of leaving viewers empty and without a desire to see more from the hero. However, what she lacks in physical weakness, she balances with her human flaws. The movie places the audience alongside Danvers, as she comes to know the limitless potential of her powers, while also realizing the significant complexities that come with having and harnessing emotions.
This powerful through line is only heightened by the entertaining double act comprising of Brie Larson and an impressively de-aged Samuel L Jackson in the roles of Danvers and Nick Fury respectively. One completely new to the Marvel cast of characters, and the other as familiar as the Avengers, they make a great pair as they figure out each other and the greater mystery around them. The chemistry is certainly on the positive side, making any moment with them on screen one worth watching.
The rest of the cast do a fine job in their role, however the other memorable addition is that of Ben Mendlesohn in the role of the antagonist, Talos. Although Mendelsohn has very, VERY, often taken on the mantle of “the bad guy,” this one provides a refreshing re-jig of what audiences might have seen before. He is both dangerous and entertaining, quickly creating a persona that becomes more than just as “the villain of the week”.
However, where there is plenty of bright sparks, there are also moments that left something to be desired, namely the visual effects.
Often the downfall of the Marvel Origin Stories, it’s a symptom of the fact that the budget is significantly less than what is required to deliver. In this case, it’s clear to see that a significant proportion of the CG funds went to the virtual plastic surgery on Jackson, and some other characters, in order to make them fit within the 90’s aesthetic. While this part of the film is predictably fantastic, it means that some action set pieces and a certain pertinent four legged friend end up at times looking dodgy, and at other times looking down right rubbery.
It could also be noted that in an effort to connect this period set film to the rest of the Universes’ catalogue, there is more than one Marvel reference throughout, which could cause annoyance in the more cynical of audience members.
Overall, this film is a delight. It introduces an exciting character for future instalments, while also giving a “big league” MCU superhero that little (and big) girls everywhere can finally relate to. To say it’s a triumph may be going a bit far, as it never quite reaches that height, however it’s certainly up there.
Exciting, visceral, emotional and just a lot of fun, Captain Marvel is sure to entertain many an audience. Whether they’re coming to see it to continue their Marvel storyline, or simply to marvel at a superhero doing their thing, it’s certainly a sight to see!
MG Rating: 8/10
P.S. There are two, count them TWO, after credits scenes – make sure to stick around for them both!