“Motherf…..!”, those were the last words we heard from Fury (Samuel L Jackson) before we see him get smoked and drop a pager. On the screen of this relic from the 90’s is the logo of Captain Marvel flashing. Fast forward to 2019 and we are finally at the first Marvel movie of the year. And boy does it deliver, in act three. I need to explain.
So Captain Marvel begins with Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) on the planet Hala, home world to the Kree race. We are introduced quickly to her abilities with a practice fight between her mentor, Yon-Rogg, portrayed by Jude Law. He teaches her how to control her emotions and in turn will be able to control her powers better. This is a recurring theme for the whole movie. Carol being told to contain herself for fear of not being able to control herself. But I digress.
I won’t spoil the time traveling and what happens, cause it’s actually real neat to see all the nostalgic references (which there are many). I’ll just say we end up in 1995, where Danvers is confronted by de-aged Agent Fury and a de-aged Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). Fury soon learns that the story Carol was telling him, about Skrull and that she is here from another planet, are true when they are attacked by a Skrull in some 90’s grunge clothes. A chase ensues as more Skrulls have landed looking for her, led by Talos, portrayed to perfection by Ben Mendelsohn.
Once free of the Skrulls, Fury decides to take Carol to SHIELD HQ to search for information about Mar-Vell (Annette Benning) and her whereabouts. Oh yes I forgot to mention Carol has amnesia and doesn’t know she was from Earth. This is where Carol learns that she was a US Air Force pilot and where her friend and fellow pilot Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) is living.
Carol and Fury travel to the home of Maria and her daughter Monica to hideout. We get probably one of the best performances in this film with Maria expressing to Carol how hard it was with thinking her dead and how important their friendship is. Again, no spoilers.
Fast forward to act three. Ronin the Accuser arrives (what?) to help stop the Skrulls by way of destruction of Earth. Well, this is where the fun begins. Finally, we see Carol Danvers become Captain Marvel and battle a fleet of Ronins fighters singlehandedly, in one of the coolest super hero space battles on film. But then that’s it. Movie’s over.
So, I mentioned act three earlier. The film is extremely slow up until Carol Danvers gets her famous red, blue and gold suit and battles Ronins fleet in space, which is act three. Most the the first two acts is just a lot of running around from point A to point B. The space battle is a spectacle to see and does make Captain Marvel worth it. Plus coupled with the standard MCU end credit scenes have me super pumped to see Avengers: Endgame. But what is lacking in Captain Marvel is that there isn’t anything new. It is a standard origin story but that doesn’t pull me in until we meet Maria and her daughter Monica. This is when real substance is brought to the film. The amount of time spent developing the relationship between the three makes the journey of Carol Danvers back home really mean something. Lashana Lynch as Maria really stands out as someone who will go to the ends of the Earth (literally) for Carol. Brie Larson fills in the role of snarky, smart mouthed Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. She brings life and strength to Carol and stands as an imposing figure as Captain Marvel. I can definitely see her as the face of the next generation of the MCU. Jude Law is great as the mentor, Yon-Rogg. But who really stands out the most is the performance of Ben Mendelsohn as Skrull leader Talos. The sarcasm and humor come out through the makeup, making you forget that he is under a layer of latex. Speaking of makeup, the de-aging of Samuel L Jackson and Clark Gregg work well, kind of. It is difficult to look at Jackson at twenty-four years younger for a full movie when I know how old he really is. But overall the visual effects work. There is more that went into the film but a lot of it was too spoilery to mention.
Captain Marvel isn’t one of the better of the MCU films, but it does set up Avengers: Endgame: beautifully and I am 110% ready to see the next phase that Marvel has to offer. With Captain Marvel at the front end in the fight against Thanos, it sure is going to be a fight to remember.
Captain Marvel is in theaters March 8th.