I’ll admit that after eleven years and twenty-one movies, I am starting to get a teensy bit bored of the Superhero genre and I’ve found the last few MCU films a little under-whelming on the first viewing. Couple that with all the hype and focus on finally having a female lead** and I actually went to the cinema with an ‘I-don’t-know-if-I-want-to-be-here’ attitude. Although, I have found in the past that low expectations, more often than not, lead to more enjoyable viewings and thankfully, this turned out to be the case with Captain Marvel.
** Don’t get me wrong, I agree that it is a good thing and long overdue but I don’t want it to be the only thing I hear about. Just my opinion, sorry.
Despite coming in as the penultimate instalment of MCU’s Phase Three, chronologically, Captain Marvel actually fits in quite early on in the timeline; and while this can make it feel a little disjointed, it does allow for some great references and inside jokes throughout its two hour runtime. That being said, it’s link into Avengers: Endgame isn’t properly established until the after credits scene.
In essence, Captain Marvel is a typical origin story but it’s place in an already well established universe stops it from feeling stale. We are first introduced to Brie Larson as Vers, a Kree warrior attempting to keep her emotions in check and learning to control her powers whilst being plagued by dreams that she doesn’t understand.
During a mission with the Starforce team, lead by her mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), Vers is captured by the Skrull leader, Talos (Ben Mendelson) and during their interrogation, long forgotten memories are brought to the surface. Using her powers, Vers manages to escape but crash lands on Earth. What follows is the typical superhero origin story formula set against a backdrop of 90’s nostalgia.
Given the amount of pressure she was probably under, Larson delivers a strong, likeable performance. She manages to portray a character that is fierce yet vulnerable, strong willed yet kind-hearted, with plenty of humour to boot. Unfortunately, I do feel her character suffers from it’s placement within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I am assuming she is going to have a pivotal role in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame but we have not had enough time to really care about her. Had this been a simple standalone origin story, I would have been more excited about her character but I think she is going to get lost amongst all the other characters that we know and love.
Speaking of characters we know and love, teaming up with our heroine is a digitally de-aged Nick Fury, with just a level 3 security clearance, two good eyes and a slightly disturbing absence of the sarcastic cynicism that are used to. Jackson and Larson work well together on screen and their personalities are well-matched leading to some genuine laugh-out-loud moments.
Whilst the internet has been blowing up about Goose the cat, who is adorable by the way, the character I was most excited about was Agent Coulson, arguably my favourite character in the entire MCU. I would’ve loved to have seen more of him but when he is on screen he has an impact, either through comedic effect or his pure total ‘Coulson-ness’. We also have appearances from Ronin (Lee Pace), Korath (Djimon Hounsou) and of course, the late great Stan Lee in one of the final three cameos filmed before his death. Rather touchingly, in the opening sequence, the usual snippets of the MCU characters in the MARVEL logo were replaced with images of Lee’s cameo and public performances, followed by a very simple ‘thank you’.
Overall, I feel as though Captain Marvel is sort of stuck in limbo. In terms of an MCU film, it is not the best or strongest but it was enjoyable and would be middle to high up in my favourites. On the other hand, part of me is hoping that a proper sequel is on the cards, I want to see more of Larson’s character and what she can do.