Reviews and entertainment articles by Dave Simpson
Almost eleven months after her presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was teased by the appearance of her emblem on Nick Fury’s pager in the final shot of Infinity War’s post-credits scene and close to half a decade after Marvel Studios officially announced that she’d be getting her own movie during the third phase of the MCU, Captain Marvel has finally made her debut on the big screen and I’m pleased to proclaim that, as far as I’m concerned at least, her first solo film was most definitely worth the wait.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the thrilling 21st chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes us back to the mid-nineties to introduce us to its eponymous superheroine at a point in time when she’s serving as a member of a Kree military team named Starforce. Known to the other members of the team as “Vers”, the movie’s main character already possesses extraordinary abilities when we first meet her, but she doesn’t have any memory of how she got her powers or recall anything about her life before she was a member of Starforce.
The fact that the particulars of Vers’s past are as much of a mystery to her as they are to the audience means that as the story unfolds, we unravel the enigma of her origin along with her. I thought this was a fascinating and delightfully fresh approach to telling an origin story, and that it made for a much more interesting narrative than the standard origin story formula of starting by showing how the main character gets their superpowers.
Furthermore, the brilliance of Brie Larson’s performance made it extremely easy to invest in both Vers’s character arc and the movie as whole.
Endowing the MCU’s new captain with a wonderfully witty and warm personality while also succeeding in making her come across as fantastically formidable, Larson is absolutely superb as the protagonist of the piece and I already can’t wait to see the exceptionally talented Room star portray the character again.
MCU veteran Samuel L. Jackson also impresses as a younger Nick Fury. Exchanging an abundance of entertaining banter with Vers as well as developing a charming friendship with a cat (yep!), the future director of SHIELD is a lot more laid-back and cheery at this point in his life, and Jackson is a joy to behold whenever he’s onscreen.
Another cast member who deserves a lot of praise is distinguished Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn, who delivers some terrifically funny lines as Skrull leader Talos while simultaneously managing to make the character seem deep and sympathetic. Meanwhile, Jude Law delivers a splendidly intense performance as Vers’s mentor, Yon-Rogg, and Lashana Lynch is likable as Vers’s old friend, Maria Rambeau, whose interactions with the protagonist manage to bring a lot of emotion to the table, even though the pair’s relationship isn’t particularly well-developed during the film’s first half.
As for the set pieces, an early altercation between Vers and the Skrulls provides plenty of excitement, as does a chase involving a train later on, but neither of those sequences are even remotely as electrifying as the movie’s mind-blowingly epic final act, which is packed with pulse-pounding action and stunning special effects.
All in all, other than observing that Vers’s friendship with Rambeau isn’t developed very well during the film’s first half, I really don’t have anything negative to say about Captain Marvel. Boasting a brilliantly performed and endearing protagonist and an array of engaging support characters, as well as a compelling plot and bucket loads of exhilarating action, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable comic book movie that’s very much worth taking the time to check out.
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