Epic shots and a nostalgic setting mixed with twists that could surprise even the saltiest Marvel fans came together in Captain Marvel. I rate it four stars. The cinematography and special effects were amazing. The writing started weak but got better throughout the movie. Overall, the supporting characters were outstanding and Brie Larson did a great job as Carol Danvers as she grew into Captain Marvel.
The movie starts on Hala, the Kree civilization’s capital. The design of Hala is amazingly detailed and the effects across the board bring it to life. Before long, we meet Brie Larson as Vers. She is a fresh-faced warrior in the Kree Star Force, but she keeps seeing flashbacks from a past she can’t remember anymore and has trouble reigning in control of her powers. The first act is beautifully shot, as is the rest of the movie, but the writing at the start is weak.
The writing flaws in the first act are the main issue with Captain Marvel. Character motivations are mysterious at best, it feels like a scene or two is missing, and that causes the action to feel slightly off-kilter early in the movie. Yon-Rogg is stingy with background information about himself, which is just fine on its own, but it drains the agency from his intended character and sets him up to look like a two-dimensional bully by the end. The only other slightly memorable characters were Korath (Djimon Hounsou), seen de-aged from his role in Guardians of the Galaxy and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan). The writing is still a bit shaky when Vers first finds herself on Earth after winning a body-slam competition with the roof of a BlockBuster Video. After that it takes a bit of time to solidify, but one thing that helps Captain Marvel fill its own shoes is the nostalgia factor.
From the BlockBuster to the clothes to the cars and aircraft, Captain Marvel is immersed in the 90s. The setting is mostly in California and it plays up the 90s aspects of the movie pretty well. Digital storage in large quantities was a pipe dream and Fury still had his eye, not to mention how cobbled-together the prototype quinjet appears compared to its modern descendant. Some of the gags that fill some time between action in the middle of the movie are very lighthearted and set up some great jokes and one-liners to follow. This makes it feel almost like a super-powered buddy cop movie for a while, and the way that Carol Danvers (upon learning her birth name) and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson minus 20 years) play off of each other is an excellent way to show off Carol’s worldview as opposed to Nick’s. These types of interactions are where Brie Larson really shines as Captain Marvel since the character herself is best in a team.
Teams are always important in the MCU, but Captain Marvel’s team was absolutely amazing. Every character she spends time with has some kind of impression on how she looks at the universe and in turn she leaves an impression on anyone she’s around. The emotional implications of most of these relationships is well-fleshed out by the end, especially with her best friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), and she stands tall as someone who is strong and has learned many lessons on her journey.
Carol Danvers’ journey is one filled with twists and challenges to what she believes, and yet she stands up every time she’s knocked down and comes back with a vengeance. When I was watching, I could feel every movie trailer moment coming and the emotions of each one hit the mark perfectly. The movie flows smooth like butter and despite the weak writing at the start, it moves forward and picks up a cosmic level of momentum by the end. I rate Captain Marvel four stars. I loved watching it. In the wake of Captain Marvel, I cannot wait to see Avengers: Endgame.
Watch Captain Marvel this Wednesday at the Boone Theater downtown for free with your DMACC ID since this was a spoiler-free review!