Film Review: CAPTAIN MARVEL (directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck)

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by Joan Alperin on March 7, 2019

in Film


Is it possible to love a film — its great humor, excitement and surprises — but not the lead actress? Brie Larson plays Vers aka Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel with all the moves necessary to be front and center in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — kicking, leaping, flying, punching — but “superhero” just doesn’t come to mind watching her bland performance, even as she emotes appropriately.

Living on the planet Kree in the mid-1990s, Vers (rhymes with “tears”), training to be a warrior, doesn’t remember her time on Earth where she once lived as Carol Danvers. Vers keeps having nightmares in which she’s in the middle of a battle with a mysterious woman fighter pilot (Annette Bening) at her side. Her mentor, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) tells her to get control of her high-strung emotions, or she ain’t gonna make it out of a bad situation. Kree’s shape-shifting enemies, the Skrull — led by Talos (the wonderfully charismatic Ben Mendelssohn) — take her prisoner. Vers escapes, lands on Earth at a Blockbuster Video store, and that’s when the fun begins.

The fish-out-of-water fighter encounters a slew of nostalgic (for us) artifacts like pay phones — co-writers (with Geneva Robertson-Dworet) and co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson, Sugar) throw plenty at you. Including an orange kitty named Goose, who was my¬†favorite actor in the film; whenever he was on screen, he stole the show. Back in familiar territory, Carol pieces together her previous life, meeting a young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Nick Fury, played by Samuel Jackson with brilliant special effects de-aging the 70-year-old. You’ll discover how he got the eye patch as well as the origins of the Avengers (apropos given that Avengers: Endgame opens April 26). This is their buddy film, and their scenes are a highlight. She leaves you wanting, but the film fills you up. What a strange universe.

stills courtesy of Disney

Captain Marvel
Disney | Marvel Studios
U.S.A. | PG-13 | 124 minutes
in wide release March 8, 2019

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