“Captain Marvel” Review: Earth’s Mightiest Hero Indeed

This review contains spoilers

This is not a drill, the wait is over. The first female-led movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since it took its baby steps way back in 2008 is finally here. I mean, what a time to be alive, am I right?!

Captain Marvel introduces Brie Larson (best known for her work in Room, which got her several awards in 2016, including an Oscar, Critics Choice Awards and BAFTA for Best Actress) as Carol Danvers, who we meet under the alias Vers. Having no memories of her past, she now serves as a member of Starforce, an elite team of Kree warriors (noble warrior heroes).

Image Source: IMDb

The Kree Empire has been at war for years against the Skrulls, a race of shapeshifters with a tendency to invade planets, so the Supreme Intelligence (played by Annette Bening, as she appears for Vers), leader of the Kree Empire, tasks Starforce with the mission to rescue a Kree spy. The team is led by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), who is also in charge of Vers’ training. Other members includes Korath (Djimon Hounsou), Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan), Bron-Char (Rune Temte) and Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto).

Image Source: IMDb

The mission goes wrong and Vers ends up separated from her team and taken by the Skrulls. They are searching her memories for the location of a woman called Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening, as well), a scientist working on a “faster than light” engine that is going to make a huge difference in the war. She escapes and ends up alone on Earth, where she meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and, since the story is set in 1995, Fury is still a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and back then, that pretty much meant a desk job.

They start to investigate about Lawson and her connection to Vers together while trying to evade the Skrulls and their leader, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). It’s the best 90’s buddy cop movie dynamic and it works wonderfully on screen. Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson have great chemistry and comedic timing, which is a high point of the movie.

Image Source: IMDb

Fury being so young is an integral part of his character at this point of the story and humanizes the character we’ve known so far as the man who knows everything about the threats out there in outer space. And while we’re talking about that, we can not fail to mention the CGI that went into making Samuel L. Jackson, who’s 70 years old, look much younger. It’s so flawlessly done that the audience forgets that it’s not real.

Exploring Vers’ past life as Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot, leads to one of the best characters in the film, Maria Lambeau (Lashana Lynch), Carol’s best friend, also a pilot, a black woman and a mother. She’s so badass (seriously, she can fight any alien that crosses her path) and her friendship with Carol is so natural, so genuine, you can see straight away that they’re family.

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The movie was directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, best known for their collaborations on Sugar and Half Nelson. The duo also gets writing credits, joined by Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider), Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out), which, in addition, makes Captain Marvel the first movie in the MCU to be written primarily by women.

The directors did a good enough job, but there’s nothing that makes the movie stand out in that department, the MCU has seen better action scenes and there isn’t nearly enough 90’s aesthetic in the movie. It’s such an iconic decade, but we only see that through a few jokes here and there and from the soundtrack, really, when they play songs by Salt-N-Pepa, Nirvana, No Doubt, Hole, TLC, etc.

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It’s the characters themselves and their interactions that are truly memorable, the duos Carol and Fury, Fury and Talos, Carol and Maria, Carol and Monica (Akira Akbar), Maria’s daughter, give the movie life. And, of course, Goose. No, seriously. That cat is a hero.

Captain Marvel is above all, a movie about Carol establishing herself as the powerful superhero she doesn’t yet know she is. During her time as Vers, the Kree never really let her explore the full potential of her powers, Yon-Rogg is constantly telling her she needs to control her emotions and prove she can beat him without the photon blasts that come out of her fists.

When she gets rid of all these restraints, that’s when we see the real Carol Danvers, earth’s mightiest hero, the woman who doesn’t need to prove herself to anyone, who has so much fun using her powers to the point that she screams in excitement while flying in space taking down enemy ships. It’s truly refreshing and if that’s not all a metaphor for the whole female experience in our current days, then we don’t know what is.

Maybe that’s why, before it even got its debut in theaters, the movie was already causing a pretty big commotion, Captain Marvel became a target for trolls because… let’s see if you can guess the reason… It has a female character as a lead, and a very powerful one. Did you guess it right? Or did you already know?

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Either way, these trolls have been trying to hijack the movie ever since it was announced, but everything got a bit more hectic a couple of weeks before its launch. As a way to minimize the damage, Rotten Tomatoes – a website that puts together different reviews for movies and TV – announced that it would no longer allow users to comment ahead of a movie’s release. Still, proving all the haters wrong, the movie has already made over $500 million dollars in the box office.

Captain Marvel is, overall, a good movie. Maybe we could have gotten an amazing one, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of the fact that Carol Danvers is now a member of the MCU. And a successful one. The movie is fun, surprising and exciting, there are a few cameos and links to the rest of the universe, we get a few questions answered and bunch of new possibilities for the future of the franchise - don't forget to stay for the two post-credits scenes. Check out the trailer and then go buy your ticket!