We are ten years into these MARVEL movies, in them, we have been to so many nations, outer space and loads of variations of magical/science fiction cities. In order to stave off repetition and boredom, they need to diversify and add something new and have each main character have their own dynamic so each is distinct and remains interesting. With Captain Marvel, it gives us something that really shouldn’t have taken over ten years to reach, a movie with a woman as the lead and a unique aesthetic in setting it in the nineties.
Being that this is the first movie to be released post-Stan Lee’s passing they open this movie paying homage to the prolific creator, with his image and quotes sprawled across the opening sequence. Usually, this opening segment is filled with images of the characters from the comics or the movies along with bits of the script, now it tips its hat to the man that made most of it possible. As is traditional he also makes his brief cameo within the movie itself.
We open the movie on a distant world where an alien space soldier named Vers wakes from her dream. This is an alien planet but the inhabitants look human, at least most of them, her commander Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) looks very human except for his eyes. They assemble their team and go off to combat the latest Skrull threat. Skrull’s are green-skinned aliens, in their original form, they are shapechangers, which leads to much tension and generally being careful who your really talking to. They land on a planet to combat them and while the shooting of blasters is going on the Skrull have purple blasts while the Kree are green so you can tell which blast is coming from which team and their direction. While these segments are playing out it feels and looks like a none too impressive episode or even one of the dull movies of Star Trek.
During this skirmish, Vers is captured and
the Skrulls are probing her mind for essential information. She breaks
free with the help of her enhanced strength and plasmablasts she can
shoot out of her fists. She then crashes lands on, where else, the
planet Earth. But not in the present but in the nineties. Following
close behind her are some Skrull’s which will cause a bother and so the
real adventure begins.
For her powers, she comes with the regular assortment of heightened superhuman abilities, very strong, tougher skin, heightened reflexes. But primarily she is able to shoot plasma beams from her hands when making a fist. The energy themselves look like flames that have been converted into water that flow in anti-gravity. It’s a distinctive, ethereal and recognizable look for the power.
MARVEL has enjoyed much success with a very wide range of characters, but this is the first one to be helmed by a woman. This is a big deal and the marketing departments have been trumpeting it well but within the movie they do the best thing they can, they don’t make a big deal out of it. Yeah, there’s no obvious patriarchy that keeps this girl down, none of the other women are making direct statements about “Girl Power” these are just heroes, villains and even just people doing what they do. Yes, she does encounter some sexism within the movie but it’s nothing that wouldn’t really feel out of place in a movie set today. People like a character for being a character first and their gender second.
Being that it is set nearly twenty years in the past and something strange is happening a familiar face turns up. Nick Fury played as he always has been, by screen legend Samuel L. Jackson, but looking more like he did when Pulp Fiction came out that he does currently. MARVEL and Disney seem to have been practicing and slowly perfecting the technology to digitally make their actors look younger, it seems like this was the pinnacle that they were building towards the whole time. An entire movie where they take a man in his seventies and turn the clock back to him being around forty-five. He still sounds almost exactly as he did back then and still moves very spry for a man of his age so there is nothing to subtract from the performance. I know that this isn’t what Samuel L. Jackson looks like now and if I didn’t know that I would have been fooled. Apparently, you can regain your youth, through the help of hundreds of hours of digital manipulation and a few hundred million dollars.
Brie Larson has proven herself as a great talent in movies like Room and Kong: Skull Island where she actually doesn’t need to speak much because she is able to communicate so beautifully clearly through her face. Her she does her best work by not speaking and the playful banter between her and Jackson, but there are moments where she has to dramatically shout science fiction gobbly-gook and it falls flat. This is a shaky performance, as a whole, it is solid enough but this is clearly either an actor being taken out of their comfort zone or unclear directing.
of the main elements of this movie is memories. Captain Marvel’s past
is unclear to her and she must delve into her memories and piece it
together. There is a segment where they have fun with putting a
character in the middle of one of her old memories while outer forces
play it back and forth.
So now we know who was teased at the end of Avengers: Infinity War and are now ready to go into Endgame. We have a movie that it true the established formula that MARVEL has tried and tested for ten years and give us a unique visual style and character. It is not an outstanding achievement but as an action movie with superhero antics going on this one is plenty of fun.