Captain Marvel may not be an Earth-shattering movie, but its doesn't need to be. It's a solid origins story that kicks all sorts of butt, thanks to Brie Larson's grace and vigor, combined with a memorable Samuel L. Jackson performance. Thanos might have some stiff competition.
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck‘s Captain Marvel is the perfect setup for Avengers: Endgame — it’s both a kick butt origins story and a film that shows Marvel’s ability to take on a familiar approach with different dynamics in a way that doesn’t de-escalate the stakes. Politics aside, Captain Marvel is entertaining and light-hearted in the way that Marvel has always been known for, only this time with a slice of 90s nostalgia and a rock solid Samuel L. Jackson performance.
Captain Marvel follows Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as she unravels her past like a child would unravel an old VHS tape before attempting to have their parents return it to their local Blockbuster Video. The unravel is occasionally tedious and bumpy, but oh so satisfying once you reach the end.
Danvers starts out on an alien planet and eventually finds herself across the universe on planet Earth, which is home to such vintage establishments like the mentioned Blockbuster and even a Radio Shack.
The setting is the 90s and in this era young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has two eyes and no clue as to what dangers threaten the planet or the SHIELD organization.
Watching Captain Marvel feels like both a blast from the past and a progressive piece of popcorn entertainment. Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck approach the origins story with an angle of familiarity that reminds me very much of Captain America: The First Avenger and even Doctor Strange.
Going through the beats may seem repetitive and like a giant step backwards after the monumental achievement known as Avengers: Infinity War, but Boden and Fleck remind us why its so necessary to understand where we’ve come from before we can start to figure out where we are going.
Carol is out-of-place, not quite sure where she belongs or who she is, despite knowing that she has powers unmatched by most. She has memories of a past, but doesn’t know if those are truly memories or just misplaced dreams.
Brie Larson truly is phenomenal as the leading lady. She gives Captain Marvel a huge dose of humanity and humor. Watching her growl at alien enemies, while also going back for her boots is the type of filmmaking that Marvel excels at, highlighting subtle moments and making sure to include those human aspects, where most would simply ignore or not see the importance of.
I do worry about the fate of Captain Marvel and how she could handle her own standalone film (minus the origins stuff), much like I worry that a Doctor Strange sequel just might not be all that needed. She will no-doubt be a standing highlight of Avengers: Endgame and rightfully so, but I do want to see what an unhinged Captain Marvel sequel will look like, without a needed connection to the greater MCU.
It’s also worth mentioning that Samuel L. Jackson finally gets his proper due in this film. Jackson has such a likable personality that is infectious and highly entertaining to watch. I love what he’s done with Fury, but we needed to see him as a relatable big softy before he lost the eye and his sense of humor.
Jackson and Larson work perfectly together and give the film a buddy-buddy comradery that overpowers just about any duo in the MCU to date. I can’t wait to see how Larson works with the rest of the team in Endgame.
Ben Mendelsohn also must be praised for delivering his best big-budget blockbuster performance yet. He’s an absolute treat in the film’s third act and all the more reason for Hollywood to stop casting him as a simple bad guy and instead someone with a little bit more flare and theatrics. He’s a funny guy that rarely gets a chance to show it.
Captain Marvel is far from my favorite Marvel film, which is completely fine, because not every movie needs to be the absolute best. It just doesn’t need to be the worst, which Captain Marvel is far from. It’s a mostly good, occasionally great origins story that knows its audience. Sure, some of the twists are telegraphed and not all that shocking, but it never feels like a film trying to pull the rug from under you. It’s sole purpose is to establish an awesome character within a familiar world, while shedding some light on Fury and SHIELD in a pre-Iron Man era.
Now who’s ready to see Captain Marvel kick some Thanos butt?