Review: Captain Marvel Soars Higher, Further, Faster


Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Donovan Nichols, Staff Writer

Marvel Studios has delivered another smash hit in Captain Marvel, which blasted into theaters on March 8. Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe nearly 11 years after Iron Man first premiered, Captain Marvel returns to the tried-and-true superhero origin story formula, albeit with some twists, for Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie. Set as a prequel in 1995, the film follows Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as she tries to find out her past and her true power.

At this point, being the 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film wastes no time in jumping right into the action. While the film gives a little background on Danvers’ true origin, it comes a later in the first act rather then at the beginning. For more casual viewers, it is easy to get lost in the beginning without knowing more about Danvers and her allies. Danvers, under severe amnesia and virtually brainwashed, is known as “Vers” and lives with the alien civilization known as the Kree. She fights with an elite Kree military team in the Kree-Skrull War, against the Skrulls, shapeshifting aliens that terrorize Kree territories. After a mission goes wrong and she crashes down on Earth in Los Angeles, Danvers begins to suspect she once had a life on Earth, partnering with a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to find out her past and try to stop an impending Skrull invasion.

Captain Marvel is very similar to Marvel’s classic superhero origin stories from their beginning years, like Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. It mostly follows the textbook superhero origin story formula, but makes some definite changes that prevent the movie from feeling bland or uninteresting. One of these is the film’s non-linear structure. Due to Danvers’ amnesia, her whole life on Earth is a blur. The audience is unsure of what is real and what is imagined, and whole events and memories occur out of order and even change as Danvers finds out more about her past. Larson and Jackson are great together, joking around and bouncing off each other in nearly every scene. Ben Mendelsohn is fantastic as the Skrull villa Talos; he brings not only some very unexpected heartfelt moments, but also a hilarious, dry sense of humor. The absolute star of the show, however, is the adorable fluff ball Goose, Danver’s pet cat, played by four cats, Reggie, Archie, Gonzo, and Rizzo, who steals every scene she’s in.

While Captain Marvel ultimately soars, it doesn’t take off without some turbulence. The first act of the film moves extremely fast, and it takes a bit to find its footing. The fight scenes are well choreographed, but several, set in space stations or alien planets, are just too dimly lit to see well. The CGI for the most part, is absolutely outstanding, especially the de-aging effects applied to Jackson. However, there are definitely a few moments, mostly involving Captain Marvel’s helmet, that don’t look particularly good.

However, when Captain Marvel flies, it flies high. When Danvers finally breaks free from control and truly taps into her powers, it is awesome to see. She isn’t stoic and grim with the occasional one-liner like many other hero cliches; she instead whoops with emotion, laughing and yelling through fight scenes. She reacts with emotion just like any person would if they could fly, or blast energy, or any number of her crazy powers. All of it is extremely uplifting, and truly leaves you in a good mood. After nearly 11 years and 21 movies, it’s amazing to see how far the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come, from Tony Stark building his first Iron Man suit, through an interconnected web of heroes and villains, all to Captain Marvel in the cosmos, in full power, literally punching through a spaceship. As usual, the post-credits are great, and leave a good tease for next month’s Avengers: Endgame, as well as following up on a fan-favorite. The film pays a touching, sweet tribute to the late Stan Lee, not only in his usual cameo but also before the movie begins with a revamped opening sequence in his honor. Overall, while Captain Marvel has some occasional minor problems, its uplifting feel and fantastic performances make it an absolute must-see for both Marvel fans and newcomers.


Verdict: 8.5/10