Ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe began, fans of the comic book film franchise have wanted a film with a female-lead superhero. Over ten years later, we’ve finally gotten one. But it is not the female character you probably expected (sorry Black Widow).
Captain Marvel is a murder mystery, a space adventure, a prequel and an origin story all in one. It follows Kree warrior, Vers played by Brie Larson who suffers from reoccurring nightmares and is told to keep her emotions in check by mentor and commander, Yon-Rogg played by Jude Law. When Vers is sent with her commander and team on a mission to rescue an undercover operative, she is captured by the enemy, the Skrulls and their leading commander Talos. Soon after, when Vers crash-lands on Planet C-53 (that’s Earth), she meets Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Nick Fury who is without his iconic patch. Although the two headstrong characters don’t hit it off straight away, they soon find themselves cordially working together in a buddy-cop dynamic, slowly putting together the pieces and unravelling the mysteries that lie hidden within Vers’ mind.
Brie Larson does an amazing job as Captain Marvel who is supposed to be a tomboy, naturally pretty, no nonsense fly-girl. Even though confused most of the time (understandably given the situation), the character is never portrayed as weak with emotions being noted as a strength. While many female superhero characters are filmed in ways that objectify them (I can name so many, don’t even get me started), Captain Marvel never feels this way with its reigns being helmed by Marvel’s first female director, Anna Boden (with her co-director, Ryan Fleck). Sure, they’re not the first to do it. But better late than never, I guess.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the return of many characters that we see in previous films of the franchise. In particular, I welcomed the return of Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson which many would agree is the heart and driving force behind The Avengers. It was also wonderful to see Nick Fury get a lot of screen-time. In the past (or future depending on how you look at the timeline), Fury has taken a backseat and has let the other superheroes take the wheel. But this time, Fury’s in the driver’s seat (quite literally) and I couldn’t be happier.
I also loved Nick Fury’s relationship with Vers (unlike other Marvel superheroes), he treats her as his equal, forming a genuinely respectful and supportive friendship. This is purposefully done (for many reasons) and is both refreshing and great.
Captain Marvel is blessed with an impressive cast, accompanying Larson and Jackson with the talents of Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Clark Gregg (as previously mentioned) and Annette Benning. Every actor mentioned above is never wasted on-screen, with their characters all playing an important role in Captain Marvel’s story. The film has a consistent pacing which is neither too fast, nor too slow, cleverly leading audiences alongside Vers and Fury as a third detective while they try to crack the case.
As always with Marvel films, the colours, special effects, hair, make-up and costuming are superb, combining to make a visually impressive intergalactic retro treat. The choice in cinematography is great too with some moments making you feel like you’re really in an air force fighter jet, especially when you see it at IMAX. Unfortunately, when I did see this film at IMAX, I did get a bit of motion sickness. So, if you’re prone to motion sickness like me, the normal cinema screens will be fine. And if you are visiting IMAX, try to sit at the very back for this one and you’ll be okay. If you don’t get motion sickness, then it really doesn’t matter where you sit at IMAX. Just know that you’ll be in for a real treat.
I also found the soundtrack really catchy, with an impressive choice of classics by Garbage, No Doubt, TLC and Nirvana just to name a few. Captain Marvel is an entertaining time warp back to the 90’s and while watching, made me wish I had taken photos of myself in video stores while they were still around.
In comparison to the comic books, there are some minor changes. For example, in the comics Goose’s name is actually ‘Chewie’. But these are indeed minor changes with the core of the film remaining true to its origins.
I loved Captain Marvel and while it isn’t my favourite superhero film, it addresses many issues and important topics that are relevant to us right now; war, refugees, terrorism and feminism. I find it incredible that a female superhero character is fighting to save humanity both on-screen and essentially off screen with these many strong messages. Perhaps to some, Captain Marvel isn’t perfect and let’s face it, no superhero film is. But it will absolutely inspire women and young girls everywhere who have been waiting for a Marvel female-lead superhero flick for over a decade. Captain Marvel’s strength is not that she has super powers, it’s that she is human, a woman, and one that knows how to get back up again when foes knock her down. If that’s not inspiring, then I don’t know what is.