Saturday, March 9, 2019

Movie Review: "Captain Marvel" (2019)

Director: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Year: 2019
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes

A Kree warrior known as Vers chases an alien race of shapeshifters called Skrulls to C-53, AKA earth. Once there, she begins to uncover the truth about a hidden past she didn't know she had.

Captain Marvel 2019 Marvel movie still Brie Larson Samuel L. Jackson
"I know a rogue soldier when I see one." (Image Source)
Well, here it is. The day has finally arrived! "Captain Marvel" is the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a female lead, and it only took 11 years to get here. Progress!! (??) This 21st installment in the MCU is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who have worked together on such films as "Mississippi Grind" and "Half Nelson." This film tells the story of a female Kree warrior named Vers (Brie Larson). She and her fellow Kree soldiers under the command of Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) hunt down an alien race of shapeshifters called Skrulls. The Kree have declared Skrulls to be intergalactic terrorists. Vers's pursuit of these Skrulls leads her to earth (planet C-53). Once there, Vers starts to uncover clues to a forgotten past she once had on the planet. She teams up with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D. to help protect earth from the Skrulls. She soon discovers, much like her shapeshifting enemies, that not everything is as it appears on the surface. 
Captain Marvel 2019 MCU movie still Ben Mendelsohn Skrulls
"If she can tell us why these lizards are here, maybe she can tell us how to kick 'em to the curb." (Image Source)
Over the years, we have seen countless comic book films and numerous origin stories. You'd think we'd be tired of them by now, but the truth is, we aren't. There are hundreds of new characters and settings in the Marvel universe to enjoy, and we've almost always been thrilled with each distinct story. Despite being more than a decade into this massive film series, Marvel continues to find new ways to present their material and can still offer up a few surprises along the way. Like many other installments in the MCU, "Captain Marvel" is a fun, often lighthearted part-origin story/part-MCU-connective-tissue that deals with a few underlying themes. Vers, aka Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, must figure out her place in the world by discovering who she is. She must also uncover the true potential of her strength and her powers, and has to find out how to harness them properly. Boden and Fleck move around a non-linear timeline to allow the audience to simultaneously uncover the secrets to her past with her. We've heard some say this film doesn't explain how Carol gets her powers, to which we want to say, were these people watching the movie in the first place?! Sure, the story might jump around, but it eventually gets there.

Regardless, we think Captain Marvel is a terrific character and is a welcome addition to the MCU. Brie Larson is fantastic as Carol Danvers (though when isn't she?!). She may deliver one or two lines a bit stiffly, but it didn't really distract us from the movie as a whole. One thing's for sure, Larson sure as hell looks like she's having a blast playing in this role. Samuel L. Jackson is also great as Danvers's sidekick/a far-less-jaded-in-the-'90s Nick Fury. We enjoyed seeing Fury's light-hearted, softer, jokier side. It's fun to watch Jackson and Larson banter back and forth with one another. Another acting standout for us is Ben Mendelsohn. We were surprised (in a good way!) by how he gets used here. He fits right into the MCU! Also, Goose needs a three-picture deal, stat! The one acting downside is that wish we had gotten more Gemma Chan and Annette Bening and Lee Pace. There are several on-point technical aspects like excellent makeup work and killer (though exceedingly on the nose) music choices. Of course, since this movie takes place in the '90s, one should expect lots of nostalgic references to things like payphones, Blockbuster, RadioShack, TLC, slow internet speeds, CD-ROMs, and more.
Captain Marvel 2019 movie still Gemma Chan Djimon Hounsou
"There's nothing more dangerous to a warrior than emotion." (Image Source)
Overall, we had a really great time watching "Captain Marvel." That being said, when it comes to the MCU and cinematic universes in general, there are two types of films. First, there are "major event tentpole films" that offer up milestone moments and in-depth stories for its characters (for example, "Captain America: Civil War," "The Avengers"). These are the equivalent of season premieres and mid-season/season finales for television shows. Then, there are the "bridge movies," which consists of everything in between, you know, the filler episodes ("Ant-Man, "Thor: The Dark World," "Spider-Man: Homecoming," "The Incredible Hulk"). "Captain Marvel" feels much more like the latter. Hey, they can't all be "the red wedding." Still, we were mostly impressed with this origin story and we can't wait for Carol Danvers to go toe-to-toe with the big, bad Thanos. We left the theater ooooh-ing and ahhhh-ing and saying "ooooh boy, Thanos is soooooooo f**ked." We can't wait to see more of Brie Larson in future MCU movies!

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.9/10
RT Rating: ~79%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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