Captain Marvel is an origin story that’s been a long time coming: the first Marvel female superhero to get her own movie, since the franchise kicked off 11 years ago with Iron Man. This feels like a character and film that has a lot on its shoulders.
But Captain Marvel has nothing to prove to skeptics. With a tight story that spreads across the film, gradually dealing out details to keep an air of mystery around Carol Danvers’ origins, it remains intriguing and captivating for the majority of its runtime in the buildup to the final, explosive sequences. Beginning on the Kree planet of Hala, the locations zip between laser-filled outer space and Earth in the 1990s, as Carol tries to piece together her shattered memory.
Luckily the majority of the ’90s jokes and needle drops land well and aren’t tired after the recent surge of period films and TV; with the exception of one poorly-chosen song that breaks the tone, Captain Marvel does well speeding along to the sounds of No Doubt, TLC and Elastica, bringing girl power and nostalgia in equal measure.
Carol’s struggle to recover her memory is translated in surprisingly abstract imagery, creating short, intense moments throughout the film in between the wider adventure happening. Brie Larson rules as Carol, delivering a great performance as a sure, determined woman disrupted by extreme uncertainty. The supporting cast makes it even more enjoyable; Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Annette Bening, and an excellently made-up Ben Mendelsohn throw themselves into the weird and wonderful universe of space invasion, shapeshifting creatures, and dial-up internet.
With a well-written story, dedicated and fun performances and a sprinkling of ’90s nostalgia, Captain Marvel is a gratifying ride with a badass woman at its heart.
CAST: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, Ben Mendelsohn
DIRECTORS: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
WRITERS: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
SYNOPSIS: Captain Marvel gets caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.