DIR: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck • WRI: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet • PRO: Kevin Feige • DOP: Ben Davis • ED: Debbie Berman Elliot Graham • DES: Andy Nicholson • MUS: Pinar Toprak • CAST: Brie Larson, Gemma Chan, Samuel L. Jackson
Finally the Marvel year has begun with Captain Marvel. Signalled at the end of Avengers: Infinity War (if you stayed to the very end of the credits) and soon to be playing a major role in Avengers: Endgame, which means completists and uber fans will be checking this film out as they get all salivated for the upcoming main event. For trivia fans I should note that Captain Marvel is also the second period Marvel movie since Captain America: The First Avenger.
Opening on the Kree planet, Hala, we find our heroine dealing with amnesia, fractured memories of some possible past and a set of super powers she is only learning to use. Seemingly she is a Kree warrior fighting the good fight against the Skrull, shape-shifting enemies of the Kree empire. The Kree are a sort of Roman Empire in space and the centre of their power system is a deity-like AI, The Supreme Intelligence, a mysterious entity that communes with individuals in the guise of someone important to them. After a meeting with The Supreme Intelligence, Vers, as she is known at this point, (Trekkies will get a kick out of this one) goes on her first mission, the rescue of a Kree spy from one of the Kree border planets. One Skrull infiltration, capture and escape later finds Vers plummeted to Earth, trashing a Blockbuster video shop in the process. Soon she is finding clues to her past life and also the mission in hand as Skrull warriors pursue her. Joining her on this voyage of rediscovery for the buddy cop portion of the film is a bright eyed, two-eyed Nick Fury.
Like its recent rival Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel has a girl-power message running through the heart of it. Where Captain Marvel succeeds over Wonder Woman is in not having any love interest distracting from the heroine’s stake in the story. Best of all it gets its agenda across without hampering with the narrative, though the speechifying could have been dropped a notch or two.
Like all of its predecessors, this is a slick affair and certainly worth a visit to the cinema if you are a fan. A fun but uneven ride, plot logic certainly drops along the way and it is hampered by some pedestrian moments running alongside some really good ones. I personally don’t get the Brie Larson thing, she’s fine in her role as the good Captain but that’s all I can really say about her performance. Annette Bening excels in her extended cameo, Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull leader gets more laughs than you might expect from a Skrull, Jackson is also in good form as his younger self with the aid of some Fountain of Youth CGI, but I don’t think the bill for the VFX would have been as high as the ones for Michael Douglas or Kurt Russell’s wrinkle removal. Finally, it’s worth noting that this is the first Marvel film to be released since Stan Lee’s passing, a nice tribute is made to him right at the beginning and a really poignant cameo appears in the film that those who know why will love. Excelsior.