Captain Marvel Review: Woman Power all the Way
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been moving ahead with a feverish pace, churning out a very healthy slate of 20 films over the last decade. With Captain Marvel, the 21st film from MCU, they are all poised to move into a new phase, one that would take a new direction post the much awaited Avengers: End Game which will be unleashed upon us on April 26th this year. While watching Captain Marvel I realized that the choice of release date couldn’t have been that of a mere coincidence. After all 8th March was not just the release date of Captain Marvel, but also International Women’s Day as well. And no I am not just saying this because the film features a female superhero, yes it does but there’s a lot more to the film than this aspect alone, making the choice of the release date appear to be really important.
While MCU has been introducing us to many new superheroes’ of late, Captain Marvel is the latest addition and the only superhero character to feature in Avengers: End Game without featuring in any of the previous 20 films (prior to Captain Marvel). But better late than never as they say and the character is introduced to us straight away with an origin story. Set in 1995 the story begins in Kree Empire’s planet Hala where Starforce crew member Vers (Brie Larson) keeps getting recurring nightmares. Her mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) and the Supreme Intelligence, an organic artificial intelligence keep urging her to ensure her emotions are in check. During a surprise ambush attack by the shapeshifting aliens, the Krulls, Vers is taken captive by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), the leader of the Skrulls and subjected to a memory probe. Vers manages to escape and crash lands on planet earth, where she not only teams up with S.H.I.E.L.D agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), but also gets to realize that her current existence has been a lie all along and that she has a bigger mission to focus upon.
The writing (spearheaded by the director duo of the film, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck) is not complex, the focus being two fold, one to establish the origin of Captain Marvel clearly and to establish a strong link between the character and that of the Avengers universe. Definitely a very valid objective but then too much time is invested in the build up to Vers/ Carol Danvers transitioning into Captain Marvel. With the kind of superhero powers that she possesses it’s nearly criminal to see the display of the same not given enough screen time. The story as such is something that does not look all that grand as compared to some of the recent side bar films from MCU and even DC’s Wonder Woman. Now this is an aspect that is a let-down of sorts, but thankfully Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have ensured that the visuals compensate and make up for the not so exciting plot. The 90’s have been recreated in an impressive fashion, Blockbuster Home Video, the early days of the internet, two way pagers and more including popular music from the period are indicators of the care taken to showcase the 90’s.
The VFX work is of top notch quality be it in terms of aiding the period look (90’s), the space segments or even simply to show off a dashing and young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson looking dapper in a look that belies his actual age incredibly). The supporting star cast is impressive and comprises of popular names like Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Ben Mendelsohn etc., all of them being well utilized. A special thanks to the makers for including strong female supporting characters too, Annette Benning as the Supreme Intelligence/ Mar-Vell / Dr. Wendy Lawson and Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambhau, the best friend of Carol Danvers and a fellow Air Force Pilot certainly portray women of substance. Adding to the fact that the film’s editors (Elliot Graham and Debbie Berman) as well as one half of the director duo (Anna Boden) are also women, it clearly indicates the importance given to diversity. No wonder the film seems to be aptly timed for release on International Women’s Day. Veteran Samuel L. Jackson never disappoints, here too he impresses, playing the second fiddle to Captain Marvel admirably. Brie Larson who’s been doing some interesting work of late is a good fit as the first female superhero in the MCU, she brings the required freshness and charm to the character.
Captain Marvel isn’t the best superhero film around, far from that. But it does a pretty decent job in introducing us to the world of the new superhero and integrates her well with the Avengers universe.
Captain Marvel is a welcome addition to the MCU line-up of films, definitely not among the best of their lot but not a real disappointment either. And yeah do stay back for the mid-credits and post credits scene for sure.