In a concerted effort to put out more content and make the end of the year easier on myself by having material to use to remember these movies I’ve seen throughout the year, I am going to try to review the new movies I see more often. You’re welcome. And since I saw so many damned movies at the end of the year, I could not imagine going back to the theaters until this movie released. Obviously, I was super excited for today’s movie. It should come as no surprise. The word “Marvel” appears on the poster many times, as the company that makes it and the name of the character. How would I not have seen it? This movie is Captain Marvel, written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Djimon Hounsou, and Gemma Chan.
Vers (Larson) is a Kree member of Starforce with amnesia typical of a RPG protagonist. With Starforce and her commander, Yon-Rogg (Law), they undertake a mission to stop an invasion by the shapeshifting Skrulls, led by commander Talos (Mendelsohn). The mission goes awry and Vers is captured. The Skrulls try to sift through Vers’ memories to find the location of an experimental engine designed by Dr. Wendy Lawson (Bening), which they find to be on Earth. Vers escapes and crashes to Earth, where she meets Nick Fury (Jackson). Together, they try to find the engine – as well as Vers’ missing memories – and stop the sinister plot of the bad aliens.
On its announcement, I was very excited for Captain Marvel. Closing in on when I would be able to see it, I started hearing a lot of negative reactions to the movie from the internet in general and from my friend Jordan, who acted like the movie was nothing special and I shouldn’t bother seeing it. As if there were even the slightest chance I wasn’t going to see it. And now that I have seen it, I think Jordan is out of his mind. And that the internet is being the internet. I assume the internet was mostly a bunch of angry guys who were somehow bothered that this was not another white, male superhero, even though this is the first female lead Marvel movie after 20 male lead ones. So those people can go to hell. Jordan, I assume, probably just expected too much. This is an origin story. Typically, the origin stories suffer because of how much they have to do to introduce us to the character and we don’t typically get to love that character until the second time we see them, which I imagine will happen very quickly with Captain Marvel. I, however, already love her. I thought this was a damned solid origin movie. Maybe not as solid as the first Iron Man, but better than some of the other ones. I also was indeed surprised as they intended me to be with the alien race swerve they pulled on us in the movie. Otherwise, as a white male, I’ve seen plenty enough of me’s in Marvel movies already, especially given how uncannily similar I look to Chris Hemsworth, and I’m happy to see something different. The movie was awesome, entertaining, and funny when it needed to be. I didn’t feel too many heart string tugs during the movie, but I don’t think it was trying for too many.
But speaking of heart-string tugs, I burst into instant tears twice during this movie, and it warrants talking about. Neither were because the story was trying to make me cry. Neither were even really part of the story. The first wasn’t even part of the movie! It was the damned opening studio credit! They changed the Marvel logo, usually awash with their heroes in action from their various movies, and they changed it to the biggest and best hero in the history of the company: Stan Lee. Typing that gave me goosebumps right now and seeing it made my face well up with tears and joy as they showed proper respect to The Man himself. I could’ve used a bit of a warning, movie! The second was his cameo, and sadly probably one of his last. He was just sitting on a bus talking to himself and reading something, but in the theater I missed it. I was happy to see his cameo, but it wasn’t until later that I found out how beautiful it actually was. The movie takes place in the 90’s and Stan was on the bus rehearsing for his scene in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats! That was so damned beautiful and I felt a strange happiness for Smith that he got to see that shout out from his idol and friend months after losing him. Well-played, Marvel. You got me bad with those.
As for the action in Captain Marvel, I was scarcely disappointed. In all of her fights, she seemed to be a real threat and a total badass. If there is one criticism to be made of any of the fight scenes in this movie, it would be the “Just a Girl” fight scene, where she gets into a fight and No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” starts playing. I get it; it’s the 90’s and that song was popular, and Danvers is indeed a girl. It was a little too on the nose for my liking, I would say. It didn’t take me out of it or ruin the scene for me. It just made me laugh a little, but I did hear from others that they felt this was a little much, and I don’t necessarily disagree. Otherwise it was badass, especially when she unlocks her true power and lays waste to all those enemy ships and scares off the rest by punching her fist into the palm of her hand. That was fantastic.
All of the performances in the movie were on point. Brie Larson was great. She can bring pathos and comedy and action in equal measure flawlessly. I hope she’s around for a long time because I definitely want more of this character, and I’m very excited to see how she interacts with the Avengers next month. A lot of the best moments in the movie were the chemistry between her and Samuel L. Jackson. A lot of those scenes played like a fun, buddy cop movie that I would love to see. I also liked seeing how Jackson changed the character of Fury to make him seem younger and not as experienced with these kinds of things. I also liked seeing him interact with the cat. I would say that I thought that how they showed Fury losing his eye was funny, but not exactly how I was hoping to see it happen, shall we say? Mendelsohn was also great, able to successfully pull off both sides of his performance, both before and after the big reveal of the movie. It was nice that he also got to play for a while without all the makeup that would probably hold him back in his performance, though you really couldn’t tell. Jude Law was also great (did I mention all of the performances were?) but I can’t really think of anything in particular to say about his performance that I didn’t already say about Mendelsohn’s. And lastly, Clark Gregg was great. I would’ve liked more from Coulson though, just because I like him so much and he’s not in the MCU as much since Avengers.
Regardless of what friends and sexist idiots on the internet told me, I very much enjoyed Captain America. It was fun, surprising, action-packed, and exactly what you’ve come to expect from the MCU. Sure, all said this movie probably winds up placing in the upper middle of the MCU in terms of quality, but it’s got a lot of stiff competition, and I would say it places pretty high amongst the strictly origin film MCU, which is what you should compare it to if you’re being fair. A strong opening for the character of Carol Danvers, keeps my excitement high to see her again both in Avengers and her own movie, and is hopefully a good start to other female-lead Marvel movies in the future. Captain Marvel gets “I know a renegade soldier when I see one” out of “I have nothing to prove to you.”