Movie Review: Captain Marvel (Spoilers)

Ever since it was announced, fans of both the MARVEL Cinematic Universe (MCU), and fans of the character itself, were eager to see how the studio would be handling not just this character but how they would treat their first ever full-fledged female supheroine origin film with “Captain Marvel”. The result was a nostalgic enjoyable ride that was part origin story and part buddy cop movie. Fans of Carol Danvers will be satisfied enough with the changes that were given to the origin story, but at the same time will have to wait a little bit to really get into the meat of her character as the MCU goes along. There were definitely a lot of holes with regards to the script, and sometimes it did feel like there was too much set up being done; but in the end, it didn’t detract from the great moments the movie had to offer, and it definitely makes fans of the MCU excited at all the endless possibilities that have now been truly opened due to its more cosmic and space oriented nature.

“Captain Marvel” was directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck; with a screenplay written by Boden, Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet;and was based on a story by Boden, Fleck, Robertson-Dworet, Meg LeFauve, and Nicole Perlman.  It’s score was created by Pinar Toprak and was released on March 8, 2019 in the U.S., and March 6, 2019 in the Philippines.

Image Source: Captain Marvel Facebook Page

The movie is set in 1995 and features both Earth and the planet Hala, the home planet of the warrior race known as the Kree. It follows Vers (Brie Larson), a woman suffering from recurring nightmares and amnesia who is part of an elite taskforce of the Kree called Starforce, and who is mentored by their team leader, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). After a mission against the Skrulls, an alien race that shape shifts and who is constantly at war with the Kree, goes wrong, Vers finds herself stranded on Earth, where she catches the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D., and in particular, a young Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). While on Earth, she teams up with Fury in order to locate the Skrulls that have succeeded in infiltrating the planet. However, along the way, she ends up discovering that not  everything is all that it seems, and ends up recovering her memories, and discovers her past life as the air force pilot Carol Danvers.

With the movie being set in the ‘90s, it had a different and distinct feel to it, as compared the other MCU movies, and at moments did feel like a ‘90s buddy cop movie. There were tons of references to the decade which many who lived during that time will appreciate, from the soundtrack, to the Blockbuster store she crashed into when she first landed on Earth.

As with any origin story based off of existing source material, as a fan of the character, I was satisfied with the changes that they made here. However, it did feel that the execution and the script felt a little clunky at times, with a lot of the characters feeling very underwritten, and it didn’t feel like they were able to get at the heart of the emotional ties or core of the story enough to really get me personally emotionally invested in things.

Some of the action sequences were well done, while some felt a little bit messy; and there were moments where it felt that there was too much set up going on for the future of the MCU. However, I did like the fact that there were things here that felt right and made sense in the narrative of the MCU, and it did make me feel excited about things when they go more cosmic and space-oriented. Granted, “Thor” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” do tease you a bit when it comes to this, but “Captain Marvel” just really opened up a whole interesting box of endless possibilities for the MCU, especially with the FOX-Disney deal finally being finalized just recently.

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel
Image Source: Captain Marvel Facebook Page

Larson’s performance here was great and nuanced, and it was interesting to see how she went from trying to be a good Kree soldier, albeit with a tendency to go rogue at times, to fully embracing her humanity at the end. There are some that didn’t feel like Larson lived up to her true potential here, but I think that she did great with the material that was given to her. However, I do hope that we get to explore her character, personality, and her vulnerabilities and flaws more in the future, in either a sequel or in the upcoming “Avengers” movies down the line.

Samuel L. Jackson as Agent Nick Fury
Image Source: Captain Marvel Facebook Page

The de-aging CGI work done on Jackson and Clark Gregg were an achievement in itself, as they pulled it off perfectly. Jackson was brilliant as the young Fury, as it gave us another dimension to the older Fury that we all know and love.

Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau
Image Source: Captain Marvel Facebook Page

Lashana Lynch was great as Maria Rambeau, as she was a great supporting character and definitely grounded the story, especially with regards to Carol’s character arc. Also, the addition of a little Monica Rambeau was great, especially as Monica, in the comics, does become a version of Captain Marvel at one point in time.

Ben Mendelsohn was nothing short of superb, giving a great performance that had great chemistry with Lynch, Larson and Jackson; and giving a nuanced performance as well despite all the heavy prosthetics he had on him.

“Captain Marvel” was a fun and enjoyable ride, with some great moments, great chemistry between the cast, and opens a whole lot of interesting possibilities for the MCU going forward.

Now, you know the drill! From here on out, there will be spoilers!

There was a lot going on in this movie, from it being an origin story for Carol Danvers, to setting things up for the future of the MCU. And while the writing and all of that got in the way of this become a great film, there were many moments that were great.

As I mentioned earlier, the performances by Lynch, Larson, Jackson and Mendelsohn were great; and Jude Law and Annette Bening were also great despite the material that they were given. The chemistry between the four I mentioned earlier were great as well.

Carol Danvers in her new uniform.
Image Source: Captain Marvel Facebook Page

I liked the fact that we did get to see Carol struggle a bit with her trying to fit in with the Kree lifestyle, and I liked the fight training sequence that we got between Carol and Yon-Rogg. I also loved all the space elements that were brought into this movie, and the flight battle sequence between Maria Rambeau and Gemma Chan’s Minn-Erva. That fight scene in which Carol was trying to escape the Skrull ship was also nothing short of awesome.

Despite the fact that we weren’t really given much information about why the Skrull-Kree war started, that plot twist that the Skrulls were actually just refugees and the Kree were the barbaric race in the end was something that I didn’t see coming at all. I knew that Law’s Yon-Rogg would be a villain, as the character is a major Captain Marvel villain in the comics, but I am so used to seeing Mendelsohn portraying villains that this was really unexpected. However, I am pretty sure that if you watch the movie again knowing this, you’ll be able to pick up some really subtle hints pointing to it.

Ben Mendelsohn as the shapeshifting Skrull Talos.
Image Source: Captain Marvel Facebook Page

Interestingly enough, it was Mendelsohn’s Talos and his story that pulled at my heartstrings the most, and you really felt for his character in the end. In a way, I do feel that his character did steal a little bit of the show for me.

Having both Maria and Monica Rambeau in this movie were able to not only ground Carol as a person, but they were also able to give us some heartwarming moments between Monica and Carol, which, I hope is a relationship that they continue to explore in the future.

This movie also got me thinking as to all the wonderful possibilities that the MCU’s Phase 4 could have. In the future, as mentioned earlier, I would really love for them to explore Carol’s vulnerabilities and humanity more, as her being overpowered may run the danger of making her feel a little bit too one-note. It would be interesting to see having more cosmic and more space-oriented villains in the future, such as the Kree; maybe having a team up with the Guardians at a certain point; and maybe even introducing the whole idea of S.W.O.R.D. with Abigail Brand, and Alpha-Flight would be interesting as well. (Also, it would be interesting to see Goose interact with Rocket Raccoon, especially since just like Talos, in the comics, Rocket was extremely cautious around Goose’s comic book counterpart, Chewie.)

With regards to the more immediate future, however, I do believe that with the changing of the old guard of the MCU, it is highly possible that  Carol will become the leader of the Avengers team moving forward.

As for the negatives, I did feel that the execution was really done well, the script underwrote particular characters, and that there was too much going on at the same time.

Although there were hints to more emotional beats, because of the way that the characters were underwritten and the execution, it didn’t have as much of an emotional impact as I would have wanted. I wanted to really see the bond and the personalities of the Starforce team, and I would have loved to have them play up the close bond that Maria and Carol had in the flashbacks more.

Annette Bening as Mar-Vell
Image Source: Captain Marvel Facebook Page

I did like the gender swap that they did for Mar-Vell, and it is plain to see that as Dr. Wendy Lawson, she was someone whom Carol looked up to, but again, I wanted to see more of a bond and something that had more emotional impact for the audience. In the original story, Mar-Vell died while saving Carol from an explosion, which caused him to die and to have his DNA be fused with hers. That particular bond and that emotional bond pushes her to live up to his name. Here, all that we got and saw was her respect for her, and we didn’t see that true emotional bond that they had with each other for her to even transcend Carol’s amnesiac state.

It was nice seeing a young Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser, but, to be honest, they weren’t really needed in the larger scheme of things. Aside from these two, the amazing cast that made up Starforce, I feel, was wasted, which was a shame, as they all looked quite interesting.

Jude Law as Yon-Rogg
Image Source: Captain Marvel Facebook Page

Jude Law, while amazing, also fell into the category of the one-note villain, which is a shame, as this villain was a little bit more sneakily manipulative than most. However, that final battle between Carol and him was quite anti-climactic.

The post-credit scenes were interesting, especially her appearing in front of the Avengers with her suit looking a little disheveled and her looking a little bit more battle hardened. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the Avengers interacts with her going forward, and how the progression of her character will be.

All in all, “Captain Marvel” was an enjoyable buddy cop, space adventure film that gave the MCU its first true superheroine; and opened a plethora of possibilities for the MCU, that is also satisfying to a degree for Captain Marvel fans.

Have you seen “Captain Marvel”? What did you think of it? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Image Source: Captain Marvel Facebook Page

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Captain Marvel (Spoilers)

  1. Nice review, thanks! I enjoyed the film more than I expected to. Highlights for me were the awkward Windows 9x screens trying to connect to the internet or play an audio, Skrulls being the victims of aggression (instead of the bad guys we know them to be from the comics), Fury as a funny guy, and the absurdity of a modified Van/Plane going into space (how did it survive re-entry?). Big dislike were that Carol was simply too powerful. How does being in the blast from an engine that seemed to draw power from the tessaract in the orbiting spaceship (if I understood the system correctly), and possibly being infused with Mar Vell’s DNA, make her so strong and fast and powered? Overall, a good fun way to spend an afternoon. But I don’t like what this sets up for Endgame. A too powerful Carol makes things too easy.

  2. personally, I found the hype for this movie to be a little too much. I’ve been afraid to admit that I did not enjoy captain marvel nor brie larson’s acting. on the internet, it seems to me that when one admits this out loud, he or she is immediately accused of not supporting female empowerment. in my opinion, this movie feels such a try-hard, especially in sending the female empowerment message. plot-wise, it’s also not that interesting to me. the character of captain marvel herself feels too overpowered, that I can’t help but to feel bored. I was excited for jude law too, but you’re right about him falling into the one-note villain trap.

    overall, it’s my least favourite ‘solo’ MCU movie. having watched black widow last month, I definitely think black widow deserves my time and energy so much more than captain marvel.

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