Captain Marvel feels so different with so many new angles contributing to the greatness that is the film. It is the last Marvel film before the final Avengers showdown in Avengers: Endgame. It follows one of the first of the superheroes in the Avengers saga, and it is a glimpse of how it all began. Of course, it is Brie Larson that steals every shot as she manages to bring Carol Danvers to life with enough effort to make us love her within just a few minutes of the film.
Carol Danvers finds herself caught in a war as her role as a Kree warrior sees her kick alien butt while coming into conflict with her past and her truths. Carol Danvers’ past is a mystery leading into Captain Marvel as you don’t know who she is, how she landed upon the planet she is currently fighting for, and those photon powers which are the most powerful of all Marvel superheroes, you just assume she was born with them.
The Vars are in conflict with a race known as the Skrulls led by general Talos. These Skrulls have the ability to shapeshift into any other being by just looking at them first. This then delivers a constant “is it really them” question throughout the film as the basis of their abilities are exploited from the start of the movie. It is then cleverly used throughout the film without it ever being cheesy. Talos, on the other hand, is a constant gag and instead of a hard-hitting bad guy, he delivers constant humour throughout the film. It’s refreshing and a great new angle.
The real magic of Captain Marvel has to be how everything comes together and the delivery of one of the first superheroes. Nick Fury still has two functional eyes, the world has no idea what an alien is and S.H.I.E.L.D. is barely anything to write home about. All these events happen and it all comes into perspective. From the moment Carol crashes into a Blockbuster Film (yes, the movie is set in 1995 when these were still around), to the iconic moments when the technology the cast use clearly shows off its age.
These moments that act as throwbacks to the 90s brought something very new to the film while acting as the latest film to date. Captain Marvel is not only an origin story for the series but an origin/introductory film for Captain Marvel herself too and this is portrayed brilliantly.
Carol’s memories play up on her throughout most of the film where she sees visions of events and people that she claims never happened. As the viewer, you sit and piece this all together and it is quite a wonderful way to discover her character and past. It is also one of the first Marvel characters to take this angle so again, variety is anything but lacking here.
The driving force behind Carol’s need to discover the truth behind her past and origin fuels the entire film. The plot twists, the character deaths and the shocking revelation that leads to her becoming the fully-realized Captain Marvel character, are all told very well. She is the star of the film and her hard-headed, yet vulnerable character keeps you wanting more. To see her flash across the screen and shoot some photon blasts at her enemies is a visual treat.
Carol’s past is a bit of a spoiler so instead, just know that her story is told with the utmost care to fully realize her character as the awesome Captain Marvel. Carol also brings a lot of new aspects to the series thanks to her skill-set as a pilot which allows the film to embrace this Top Gun fly-girl feeling and it works very well
Captain Marvel stars some familiar faces that return to their original roles. Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson and Lee Pace as Ronan. The fact that the film is set in 1995 means that everything we have witnessed up to now is only apparent to us and not these old-school characters. The film embraces these elements by touching on all sorts of one-liners and tricks that give the viewer a sense of empowerment knowing the future. I chuckled a few times at Fury’s dialogue as he truly once believed that there was no such thing as aliens. Little does he know. Not to mention that Fury and Coulson are young in the film and the visual effects used to bring their younger selves to life, has been delivered with the utmost care.
The set pieces in Captain Marvel are what you can expect from the series, simply brilliant. From the jet fighting to the giant space explosions and even the hand-to-hand combat. It is Marvel and there is no reinventing the wheel here. It works and viewers know what they are going to see when buying tickets to the film.
There is a lot to love about Captain Marvel but for the most part, its stellar return to the origin is what left me grinning. Carol’s character and how she interacts with the younger Fury, and the smaller “pre-Avengers” jokes and old-school setting just make the film feel so right. It is then backed by Brie Larson delivering a character that is emotional, hard-headed, deep, brash and bold all at once and every moment on screen she glows like no Marvel hero before. This film could have released at any time and it would have felt so right.
This review is based on a media screening we attended with Disney Africa.
Captain Marvel releases in South African cinemas on 8 March 2019.