The Marvel roster of heroes continues to grow each year and 2019 has already seen the addition of a new player in Brie Larson‘s Captain Marvel. Set in the mid 1990’s, Captain Marvel finds herself in the middle of a war between the Kree and the Skrulls and hones her strength to put an end to the fighting.
Captain Marvel had a lot going for it and plenty to look forward to. One reason being this is the first solo female MCU film, and every other reason deriving from the mid-90’s setting. The time period gave this a unique tone and feel that did borrow from other Marvel films but felt like a unique piece of the MCU puzzle. Through its 90’s action aesthetic, ‘Blockbuster’ cameo, 90’s tech humour, and a soundtrack of great throwback hits it successfully hammers home and makes the most of its setting. The aesthetic sets it apart from other MCU films and it somewhat adopts a buddy-cop style of action film, a prominent sub-genre at the time. The time-period also dictates the humour, some of which is an obvious reference most will get with some smaller 90’s callbacks able to be picked up.
The story itself is interesting, engaging, and it never once gets to the stage of becoming boring or dragging on. That being said, it’s an MCU origin story so you’d expect to see similar beats from other MCU films and there most certainly are. As a whole, the story follows an arc that you can draw out from the beginning much like most entries in the superhero genre. Where it may not be a wholly original experience it is made enjoyable through the tone, humour, and performances. There are a few big surprises in here that make the journey a worthwhile one and a story that has quite a bit to enjoy. There is the occasional moment of downtime but it needs it for character growth and emotional development so no real negatives there. In the grand scheme of things this story stands entirely on its own but does tie itself in to the wider MCU in some clever ways.
As far as the performances go, Brie Larson is stellar as the titular hero and shuts down anyone who thought she couldn’t pull it off. She has the charisma and charm of a great entertaining protagonist and can also pull off the intense badass hero side of things when she needs to. That duality to her performance is what makes her introduction as an MCU hero one of the more memorable ones in recent years. Jude Law puts in a strong performance as the mentor to Captain Marvel and complements her presence well. Ben Mendelsohn is making the rounds in another antagonistic role as Talos, the leader of the Skrulls. He does bad so damn well so to see what he pulls off here is just great.
Being set in the 90’s this also allows Captain Marvel to bring back a number of characters from other MCU films. Lee Pace‘s Ronan the Accuser, Djimon Hounsou‘s, Korath, Samuel L Jackson‘s Nick Fury, and Clark Gregg‘s Agent Coulson all return to the big screen as younger versions of their characters. Of the four, Jackson has the most screen-time and is an incredible addition to the story. His back and forth with Brie Larson and even with Clark Gregg makes for a number of really enjoyable scenes on both the humour and action side of things. But we can’t not mention the phenomenal use of the de-ageing technology we’ve seen used more and more in recent years. This is by far one of if not the cleanest use of this technology to date as it looks like someone actually bought a younger Jackson from the 90’s to act in this film. We’ve seen this technology largely used in short scenes where not a lot is happening but this is over an entire film and it looked near flawless throughout.
Captain Marvel is another strong entry in the MCU with great performances, a good story, and plenty of 90’s references to go around. It’s enjoyable right through and where it is a straightforward origin story it does have surprises I feel like the majority of audiences will respond well to. There’s definitely a lot to like and is worth checking out if the superhero or action genre is your thing.