After 10 years and 20 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues in Captain Marvel.
The movie takes place in 1995 and stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. After an accident, Carol is living on Hala (the Kree homeworld) where she is a member of a section of the Kree military known as the Star Force. She is trained and mentored by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) and is given her first real assignment by the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Benning). After the mission goes wrong, Carol is captured by a Skrull named Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). She escapes from the Skrull ship and crash lands on earth where she meets Agent Nick Fury and Agent Phil Coulson (Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg). It’s when she teams up with Fury that her real journey begins.
The movie is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and they also share the writing duties with Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Nicole Perlman and Meg LeFauve. This writing and directing team tell a story about family, love, loss and how anyone can be a hero. The story in Captain Marvel shines when it focuses on its characters and their relationships.
Yes, this is an action movie but at it’s heart this is a movie about family and relationships. Boden and Fleck drive these themes home with solid performances from every cast member. The chemistry that Larson and Jackson have on screen is electrifying and they play off of each other well. Fury represents the audience in the situations that he gets into and it’s easy to relate to him. Brie Larson is wonderfully cast as Carol Danvers and looks like she is having fun in the role. One aspect of her portrayal of the character is how she is in a “fish out of water” situation but still thinks on her feet.
There are two standout performances in Captain Marvel and they are from Lashana Lynch and Ben Mendelsohn. Lynch is fantastic as Maria Rambeau and provides a strong emotional backbone to the film that pays off. There is one scene in the middle of the film between Larson and Lynch where the audience will believe that these two have been friends for years. Ben Mendelsohn steals the show in his own way as Talos the Skrull. He brings a lot of emotion and gravitas to the character and it solidifies Talos as one of the best characters in the MCU to date. Also he is very funny and delivers some of the movie’s funniest bits.
The production design throughout the movie is wonderful and absolutely beautiful to look at. It’s with this that the nostalgia of the 90’s kicks into high gear and takes the viewer on an absolutely wild ride. Some of this nostalgia fuels some very funny jokes and also delivers a great 90’s soundtrack. The production team created not only a Blockbuster video store but also a Radio Shack for this movie as well. It feels as if the crew took a leap of faith and nailed the landing. Even the costuming is fantastic. The Captain Marvel suit is stunning and pays homage to the uniform currently worn by Carol in the comics. The Kree and Skrull outfits are beautiful and help drive the differences between the two cultures. Everything about this makes the world feel lived in and accessible.
While there is a lot to enjoy with this movie, there are two things that stood out that could have been better. The first one is some of the dialogue does not work at all and falls flat. There are a few scenes that are set up to be emotional where the script fails to drive home the impact through somewhat lazy writing. Some of these scenes may contain spoilers and will not be shared.
The second thing that stood out was the overuse of CGI. Yes this is a comic book movie and CGI is expected to be seen but it is used way too much and at times it sticks out badly. The third act alone has its ups and downs with the animation but they are more downs. What should have been an intense fight feels like it is taken out of a video game and can take the viewer out of it. The animation could have been cleaned up a little bit.
With all of that said, Captain Marvel is a solid movie and another strong installment in the MCU. There is a lot to enjoy here and the good definitely outweighs the bad.
3.75 Goose The Cats out of 5