VOD film review: Captain Marvel
Georgina Smith | On 31, Jul 2019Reading time: 3 mins
Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law
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Higher, further, faster. The motto of Captain Marvel’s hero also works as a descriptor of Marvel films of late – each reaching higher, going further and breaking records faster. And yet it took 11 years and 20 films before audiences were finally given an MCU film with a female lead. Brie Larson is excellent in the titular role (although her character also goes by “Carol Danvers” and “Vers” at various points in the film). A super soldier with amnesia, she ends up crash-landing on Earth in her quest to defeat the Kree race, before realising that this possibly isn’t the first time she’s been on the planet.
There are many traps Captain Marvel could have fallen into and yet the film manages to sidestep them all. Her costume is practical and unrevealing, without a hint of sexualisation. Although she does work with other male characters in the film, at no point do they need to swoop in and rescue her. Throughout the film she is told to restrain herself and control her emotions and yet it’s allowing herself to feel her emotions that enables her to fully realise the potential of her powers. She is without a doubt the strongest person in the film, a fact that is never downplayed or diminished; instead, her strength is celebrated by the people around her.
The supporting cast are excellent and some seem destined to become fan favourites. It’s the most we have gotten to see and learn of Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) so far and he doesn’t disappoint – teaming up with Danvers, he and Larson play off each other well and hopefully this means we’re going to see him take a bigger role in Marvel films going forward. Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos manages to be equal parts menacing and endearing, serving as a strong introduction into a race and storyline that seems poised to play a role in future Marvel releases. The true heart of the film comes from Carol’s relationship with fellow pilot Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and Maria’s daughter, Monica (Akira Akbar), who add a human element to the impenetrable and sometimes almost godlike Captain Marvel.
Unlike most superhero movies, Captain Marvel doesn’t start with an origin story: she already has her established powers and doesn’t find out their source until the final act. Although the decision not to open with her origins is refreshing, it does lead to a slower start; as the viewer figures out the world they’ve been thrust into, it takes slightly longer to become invested in our protagonist’s story. As in many other Marvel movies, the final villain also feels slightly underwhelming, due to their fairly underdeveloped motivations and the fact that you never really believe that Captain Marvel is going to lose. Despite this, Captain Marvel is an excellent addition to the MCU catalogue, and introduces audiences to yet another hero whose appearances in future films they can excitedly anticipate.