Film Film & Television

Captain Marvel Review – Further, Higher, Faster

Captain Marvel

Directed by: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Run time: 124 minutes
Release date: March 8, 2019
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law

Synopsis: Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom. 

There is so much to say about Captain Marvel because it simply left me wanting more, but if I talk about the film too much I will give away too much of the film’s secrets because there is one hell of a twist in this film that completely blew my mind away. I went into this film expecting one thing and was completely flipped around – and I absolutely loved the film for it. I mean, oh man; I love the story, I love the characters, I love the music, I love all the nostalgic feels the movie gave me… but it was the twist in the middle of the film that really hit me hard and made me completely love this film. So, I will talk about the film’s other aspects, but the one thing I love the most about the film I can’t talk about because it would spoil the entire story of the film – and I hate spoilers. So, I’m not going to talk about that, but there are other great aspects of the film.

The first thing I want to talk about with regards to Captain Marvel was the first thing you’ll really notice about the film: the special effects. The movie begins in space and right away you can see how the movie will look with regards to how it handles its practical and special effects and they look great. Where as some films struggle with pulling off mixing and blending effects together to make everything look right, Marvel films have thus far been a cut above in this regards. We all know this is fantasy, but when it looks as good as the effects for these films go, it really makes you believe that a man can fly in a suit of armor, a god of lightning could be watching over us, a group of plucky space rogues could be the next planet over, or that a woman could fly in space and blast energy from her hands. Captain Marvel is a great looking film, and with the exception of a scene or two, looks as if every effect in the film blends in perfectly to make the film look great.

Another aspect of Captain Marvel that is immediately noticeable, once the film transitions from space to Earth, is the nostalgic feel that you get when you are watching the film. References to Blockbuster, Radio Shack, Alta Vista search engines, the cars people drove, pagers, and the music… since the movie takes place in 1995, there are great call backs to this era scattered throughout the film. For me especially, I absolutely loved the films soundtrack (which I have since downloaded on Spotify so I can listen to whenever I want) as these songs were songs that I had on continuous play when I was a teen back in 1995. Songs like “Come As You Are” by Nirvana, “I’m Just A Girl” by No Doubt, “Only Happens When It Rains” by Garbage, “Waterfalls” by TLC, and others really do a great job to pull you into Captain Marvel’s 1995. Couple the musical nostalgic road trip the film takes you on with the references that I mentioned before, and it just really makes you long for those days if you were lucky enough to live through them and remember it fondly. There is one scene in particular that had a lot of people in the theater laugh out loud as we all remember agonizing through the exact same thing back then.

I want to talk about the characters in Captain Marvel for a bit here as the main reason that I really wanted to watch the film was because of the titular character: Carol Danvers’ version of Captain Marvel. I have been a long-time fan of Carol Danvers since I first started reading comics back in the early 1980s and she was still known as Ms. Marvel. Even in her darkest moments in her character’s history in the comics, I still love how she was portrayed in the books and what Carol stood for – even more so as when she really began to become a major player in the comics, a stronger and more powerful character, in the 2000s. Seeing her in a major motion picture and the first female character from Marvel to get her own film, I was more than ecstatic when this was announced. And to have an actress the caliber of Brie Larson cast in the role really legitimized the importance and scope of the film. And Larson absolutely kills in in the role.

I’ve been a fan of Larson ever since I first remember seeing her in the sitcom Raising Dad where she starred alongside Bob Saget as his youngest daughter. Oddly enough, this was also the first time I remember seeing actress Kat Dennings as she played her oldest sister, but I digress… I remember seeing her next in the show United States of Tara and also loving her role in that show. I remember seeing her throughout the years here and there until she finally had a more prominent role in film back in Scott Pilgrim vs the World and I really started following her career since then. And when she was announced to be starring in Captain Marvel, I was truly excited because I knew that she was the right person to bring Carol Danvers to life on screen.

Starring alongside the likes of Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ben Mendelsohn, who all perform their roles brilliantly, Larson really shines as the star of the film. But it was her performances with these three actors that make the film shine above all as they all do their best to make this film truly memorable. Mendelsohn in particular really outdid himself in the role of Talos, the leader of the Skrull forces on Earth. The way he approached the role and gave it his all, even if his American accent was a bit inconsistent, his performance in the film was my favorite right behind that of Larson – and his role in the film really hit me like a sucker punch. Oh man, I wish I could talk more about his role, but that would really give away way too much of the film’s final plot. In short, this was a well-acted film led by an all-star cast which is anchored by Larson’s performance as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel.

Finally, I want to call out Captain Marvel and Marvel Studios for cheating right at the start of the film by changing the Marvel Studios intro from featuring all of their characters in film to featuring the one and only, and fondly remembered, Stan Lee in the graphic. As per usual, the intro comes on screen and flashes from one move scene to another, but in this instance, instead of showing you scenes from past Marvel Cinematic Universe films, it shows you scenes of past Stan Lee cameos in this films, and the film had me and most of the audience I was with in tears as we all lovingly remembered the man who brought most of these characters to life in comics all those years ago. Thank you, Stan, indeed. When the intro was over, the audience I was with erupted in applause and cheers in homage and respect to Stan Lee. But way to hit me in the feels early on, Marvel. That was cheating… but I loved it.

All in all, Captain Marvel is one hell of a film and probably my favorite film of the year so far. My wife and I are already planning to go see Captain Marvel again this weekend… maybe even a couple more times if the budget allows. But Captain Marvel is a great film, and a great origin film and introductory film for the Captain Marvel character into the MCU. A great story, great acting, great call backs to the 1990s, and a twist that actually played out well in the film all lead to one of the best Marvel films I can remember seeing and now has me rethinking what my Top 5 MCU are. Yes, it is that good – and I recommend going to see it as soon as you can. Captain Marvel is just short of perfect, and I love it.

Also, be sure to stay through the end of the credits as there are two extra scenes in Captain Marvel. One is a mid-credits scene and the other is a post-credits scene. Just make sure you stay the entire time to see them – you’ll thank me for it later.

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