Rating: (4.5 of 5)
Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Clark Gregg, Ben Mendelsohn, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch.
While it’s neither the most thrilling nor the most original installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel is a near-flawless prequel guaranteed to enthrall the casual fan.
Academy Award winner Brie Larson stars as Vers, an elite warrior of Star Command whose past is a mystery even to herself. Vers is a human in the midst of Kree, an alien species on the planet of Hala. She has no memory of her life before the Kree discovered her, and she is endowed with extraordinary powers with no knowledge of where they came from. The Kree war with the shape-shifting Skrulls leads Vers to Earth, where she meets SHIELD Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and rediscovers her human past.
Larson fits seamlessly into the MCU, having instant chemistry with everyone she interacts with. Her relationship with Fury makes for one of the best duos in the saga, only upstaged by Fury’s relationship with Goose, the seemingly normal earthling cat, who is actually a dangerous alien. Jackson gives Fury his best performance since Winter Soldier, and the film is as much about him as it is about the titular Captain.
Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is severely underutilized in the film and is unfortunately relegated to an Easter-egg teaser of a performance. Coulson is a staple of the MCU and deserves better. Goose is another character who will leave you wanting more. The Flerken feline is the most lovable nonverbal minor character I've ever seen outside of Star Wars droids R2D2 and BB8.
The film suffers ever-so-slightly from the pacing problems of Thor, but not nearly to that degree. There are dull moments in the middle of the film with most of the action coming as bookends. The humor is distributed evenly throughout, however, and the 90s nostalgia is utilized perfectly. As always, Marvel excels in visual effects and cinematography, and the score is solid if unremarkable.
Captain Marvel is by no means a ground-breaking contribution to the genre, and won’t measure up to modern classics like Iron Man, Winter Soldier, or Infinity War. But it’s a fun ride comparable to Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy.
It’s worth noting that Marvel is currently suffering from the same anti-feminist review sabotage that plagued The Last Jedi, though the couch critics won’t admit it. They disguise themselves as comic-book purists, while ignoring that very little of their beloved MCU is true to its source material. They began criticizing Larson’s acting based on the trailer alone, and ignore the fact that she’s a Golden Globe and Academy Award winning star.
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s superhero debut has held the No. 1 spot in the box office for two weeks running, and set the record for largest global debut for a woman-fronted film. At press time the film’s worldwide gross is sitting at $760.2 million, making it the highest-grossing film of 2019 and the eleventh-highest grossing film of the MCU.
Captain Marvel will have the quickest non-cameo return to the screen of any Marvel star to date when she joins the Avenger’s ensemble in Endgame on April 26, 2019. As always, don’t forget to stick around for both mid and post-credit scenes.
How does it stack up?
Scott’s Top-Ten MCU rankings:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
The Avengers (2012)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Iron Man (2008)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Guardians of Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Black Panther (2018)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)