By Juan Calvillo
“Captain Marvel” is filled with exciting action, comedy and an amazing cast, but it’s the moments of self discovery that make it worthwhile.
The entirety of the plot is about discovery — discovering who the villains really are, why Brie Larson’s character is called Vers and Carol Danvers and even figuring out why Samuel L. Jackson’s character Nick Fury isn’t wearing an eye patch.
This makes the movie engaging from the moment the Marvel intro fades out.
The story starts off on the alien planet called Hala, home to a group of alien warrior heroes called the Kree. These people are powerful fighters who are in the middle of a war against another alien race, the Skrulls. In the comic books the Skrulls and Kree have been around for a long time and are constantly ending up in wars that span the cosmos.
In the movie, it’s apparent that the Skrulls are more of a terrorist group that caused great pain to the Kree.
The audience gets introduced to Larson’s character and the inner turmoil she is going through. Not knowing her past caused her to not understand what her future may hold.
The crux of the movie becomes trying to discover a way through this turmoil. The story then takes Vers/Danvers to Earth where much of the movie takes place. Her arriving and meeting Fury leads to more information coming to light about what she is really meant to do.
Disney and Marvel Studios pulled out all the stops in casting this movie.
The film is full of big names like Jude Law as Yon-Rogg; Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva; and the hilarious yet also intimidating Ben Mendelsohn as Talos.
Law is an interesting choice given how the role evolves through the movie, starting out first as a mentor then an equal to Vers/Danvers. It’s Mendelsohn as Talos, however, that really stands out. His ability to mix dread and comedy is uncanny and makes the character especially memorable.
The heart of the story lies with Larson and Jackson’s pairing. Most of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have had brief glimpses of Jackson playing Fury, but “Captain Marvel” fleshes out the character more than any other Marvel movie. Jackson has mastered his character and it really shows.
Fury is not the head boss in this movie, so the audience gets to see a scrappier and more spy-like version of the character. Pairing Jackson and Larson works wonders. Their role reversal is fun to watch as Larson plays off Jackson’s usual tough guy persona as more of a joke than anything else.
Larson is a great fit for the titular role of Vars/Danvers/Captain Marvel. She has the chops to make intense scenes believable and switch to warmth or comedy on the fly. Her acting here is quite well done with the physicality and humor being on point. One scene has her roaring back at an adversary and almost seems like an ad lib reaction.
She also gets more than one chance to be a bit more sincere with Jackson’s Fury. It leads to moments that are unexpected but welcomed.
Unfortunately the script’s use of one liners, which happens in all Marvel movies, shows that despite these lines getting laughs, it’s a bit played out. Luckily, Larson and Jackson are engaging and charismatic enough on screen to make these instances somewhat fun.
Marvel Studios have become experts in the special effects and computer generated imaging market, and “Captain Marvel” doesn’t disappoint. The effects of space battles, the look of desolate alien worlds and the shear power effects of the main character shows just how amazing and essential computers have become to Hollywood.
Yet the most surprising note in this movie is its music. Early to late ’90s music blares in every other scene. This is only further enhanced by the costume design that transports the audience right back to the flannel-wearing decade. Bands like No Doubt and Nirvana can be heard playing throughout the movie.
“Captain Marvel” is an intense and fulfilling movie that invokes a lot of heart from its main characters. The story is empowering to any and all who are trying to figure out what they are truly meant for in their lives. Vers/Danvers moment after her final battle cements the takeaway of the movie.
“Captain Marvel” might be called a great female superhero movie, but in actuality it’s just an amazing superhero movie.
It’s a movie that asks the audience to go on a journey and discover fantastic new things. “Captain Marvel” is Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language and opens Friday.