We’ve slowly started to see this nostalgia explosion unfold before our very eyes over these past few years. Thanks to properties like Kobra Kai, Stranger Things, Summer of ’84 & more. We’ve even see nostalgic properties get sequels like Dumb and Dumber Too, Jurassic World, Independence Day: Resurgence - just to name a couple. The world that these properties used to breathe into isn’t the same anymore. I love how the teaser for the Rocko’s Modern Life sequel put it – “we’re not in the 90s anymore”. There are some of these properties which have truly managed to catch the energy and magic of the time period, while others just feel forced and unnecessary. Since these properties, we’ve also grown as a cinema-going audience and are now living in the age of superheroes and cinematic universes. Nostalgia and these modern-day universes meet within the realm of Captain Marvel; the latest offering from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Right out of the gate, Captain Marvel manages to do what other origin stories rarely do – get creative. For the majority of the film’s first two acts, we are given two story lines. In one corner, you have the origin and transformation story of Carol Danvers, or as she’s known for most of the film: Vers. Danvers has no memory of her life prior to her transformation. Using this portion of the story welcomes new fans who may not know the details of the character. At the same time, it also allows the audience to feel as though they are going on this journey with the character versus merely watching it in a movie.
In the other corner, you have the Skrulls-Kree war. The talent that both sides are led by is astonishing. Ben Mendelsohn takes charge of Talos, who is a Skrulls commander. Mendelsohn has developed a reputation within the confines of his career alone for portraying villainous characters. Though, here, he is able to truly stretch his range as an actor. Delivering a more sympathetic edge to his villainous action. Mendelsohn could very well go down as one of the MCU’s best villains. He easily sits in the company of Michael B. Jordan’s “Killmonger” & Josh Brolin’s “Thanos”. Within the army of the Krees, you also have Jude Law; who is somewhat of a mentor figure to Danvers. Law turns in a solid performance. Honestly, I feel like that’s all I can say without spoiling the film. MCU veterans, Lee Pace’s “Ronan the Accuser” & Djimon Hounsou’s “Koriath”, also return to the Kree camp.
Unfortunately, both Pace and Hounsou fall within some of the film’s biggest problems. Both feel like elements of the film that were forced upon the filmmakers to include. They offer nothing to the overarching plot. Considering the fact that both are prior MCU villains, and what we see of them here – honestly feels like a waste of screen time. This being a Marvel film – audiences are bound to expect some level of humor. For all of its’ depressing tones, even Infinity War contained some level of humor. Captain Marvel isn’t without it either. The only catch is it’s very iffy if it actually lands. There are some moments of sarcasm between Samuel L. Jackson’s Fury & Larson’s Danvers that just feel forced and painful. Then on the flip side, there are genuine make you cry moments of laughter. In the vein of Black Panther, another minor complaint would be the CGI. There are several gorgeous CGI sequences. With that said, it’s extremely noticeable when something feels less than it should be.
Then, the lady of the hour: Brie Larson. Larson showcases a wide range of talent within the realm of this feature. Proving she can be funny, dramatic and a star that is worthy to lead a blockbuster like this one. Larson’s journey is one of an emotional level and she delivers in every sense of the word. She is a true treasure to the MCU. Honestly, I believe Captain Marvel will leave more desired for audiences of the character. Larson is a perfect fit for Carol Danvers. She’s strong, beautiful, funny and a truly not someone you wanna mess with.
Overall, Captain Marvel, is a film that flies high but not as high as it could. Led by Brie Larson, Ben Mendelsohn, Samuel L. Jackson & Jude Law – the latest MCU entry offers up an emotionally satisfying mystery of identity and origins. Presenting all of that on top of a space war epic, Marvel manages to marry tones well and even successfully pull off some stellar twists. However, it does experience some turbulence in some MCU veterans shoehorned in, unfinished CGI & lackluster humor. Captain Marvel is still one of the most enjoyable films in the MCU.
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