Updated: Mar 8, 2019
You can’t help but smile as Brie Larson launches her enemies around the room to the sound of No Doubt’s Just a Girl, finding her feet as the titular hero, Captain Marvel. It is a moment that defines the movie – a true turning point and a crucial demonstration of the potential of this character.
Larson’s hero, Vers, begins the film a Kree soldier in a war between her people and the fearsome Skrull. But visions of another life on Planet C-53 (Earth) plague her mind and an unintended confrontation with Skrull leader Talos (Mendelsohn) may give her answers.
The MCU’s twenty-first entry and first solo outing for a female lead isn’t the strongest in the franchise, nor is it the weakest, but lands itself somewhere in the Doctor Strange middle, settling for an enjoyable, if not messy, origins story.
Captain Marvel has a number of crossover elements with Guardians of the Galaxy but doesn’t manage the same level of charm that James Gunn’s band of misfits brought to a universe-travelling adventure. The first hour is complex, messing with the natural structure of a superhero film, seemingly for the purpose of disorientation. It works a little too well – despite the fresh approach, there is a lack of an understandable narrative, misguided particularly when it comes to the motivations and confusion of Vers as she tries to reconcile her two lives.
However, most of this is forgiven as your toe taps along to the impeccably fitting 90s soundtrack, No Doubt joined by Nirvana, TLC and R.E.M.!
The second half of the film is far stronger. Once Captain Marvel finds its footing and allows Larson to have a bit more fun, we see her composure as a leading lady. Cool and collected is the way.
The supporting cast shines just as bright – Jackson (flawlessly de-aged) as Nick Fury is perhaps the most watchable he has ever been and that is saying something. He bounces off Larson well and, though the humour isn’t quite to the standard we’ve come to expect from most #MCU films, the relationship is certainly endearing. Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Bening and Jude Law are all excellent additions to Marvel also – hopefully the universe isn’t finished with them anytime soon.
Too much confusion, an array of plot holes, gaps and convenient storytelling refute Captain Marvel from being a truly great film like Winter Soldier or Infinity War, and you can’t help but walk out of the theatre feeling it is all a bit of a necessary sit-through ready for 26th April (an enjoyable sit-through nonetheless). But the (albeit predictable) mid-credits scene amplifies the unashamed excitement for Avengers: Endgame ten-fold. It’s going to be big!
Watch the movie trailer below.