Story: Girls just wanna have fun y’all. And what’s fun for Kree warrior Vers is to finally get the chance to prove herself on a mission. But things start to unravel as Vers finds herself having images of a different life. Are they memories, or fantasies? Only one way to find out…
Genre I’d put it in: Kickass Superhero Movies
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Based on the Marvel comics of the same name. Part of the MCU/Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Gotta say: Get your fist pumping arm ready y’all, because you’re gonna have a blast with this one. Captain Marvel had a whole lot riding on her shoulders, and this first film in her story knocks it out of the park. Marvel manages to introduce Carol Danvers/Vers/Captain Marvel, the Kree and Skrull races, and their ongoing conflict, all the while tying them all into the ongoing story of the MCU. All without breaking a sweat.
Writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck pack A Lot into this film, and yet the plot flows smoothly, with very little record scratch moments where exposition jolts viewers out of their movie-going pleasure. Instead, unforced dialogue and “show don’t tell” moments lay out Captain Marvels’ convoluted backstory. Yes, this film takes liberties with comic book canon. No, I’m not going to list examples. Spoilers, darling.
Brie Larson is perfection as the Captain, making her both powerful and shaky as Vers tries to separate fact from fiction. While Jude Law and Annette Bening are great – Law gives good scene-chewing as Vers’ commanding officer/training partner – they don’t get as much screen time as other characters do. Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau (Carol’s BFF) and Akira Akbar as Maria’s daugher Monica portray grounding forces for Carol/Vers, and their onscreen familial chemistry is beautiful. Yes, it’s good to see Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson on the big screen again (HAIR!) but y’all know it’s SLJ/Nick Fury that’ll do most of the heavy lifting dialogue-wise. And that’s as it should be, y’all.
I need to interrupt this review to wax poetic on the soundtrack. There’s lots of fun 90s tunes here, and a playlist would be amazing. (Get on that, Marvel! Please?) But I’ll list a few:
- “Connection” by Elastica
- “Celebrity Skin” by Hole
- “Just a Girl” by No Doubt
- “Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage
- “Waterfalls” by TLC
- “Kiss Me Deadly” by Lita Ford
- “Whatta Man” by Salt ‘N’ Peppa
- “Man on the Moon” by REM
Yes, that’s a lot of lady power in the soundtrack. And yet it doesn’t feel forced; in fact, each song works perfectly within the setting it’s used. There’s more to “hey, remember THIS?” And I love it. Ditto for the set and prop retro shout-outs. Everything here has a use, and a purpose. That things just so happen to have a 90s vibe is because…it’s set in the 90s. Boom. That said, the art direction is wonderful, making each particular world and moment in time feel authentic. And dat cinematography tho’. Ben Davis brings his Guardians and Doctor Strange A-game, and I love all the crisp wide shots and glorious Earth (and Kree) vistas.
Okay, if you’re reading this far I’m betting you’ve already bought your tickets, so I’m gonna unload my one problem with this film. There’s a Big Thing that is Very Important to Captain Marvel becoming who she is, and yet it’s not addressed until the story’s climax. Wanna know exactly what it is? *cues invisotext* It’s the bolt/tech/thing embedded into her neck. It’s right there from the jump, and though no other Kree has one, it’s never addressed. Well, until she removes it, in a very “well, guess I can take this off now” moment. Hey, bolt! I knew what it was doing all along! And yet I’ve waited until now to remove it, when removing it could have come in handy in several other scenes before this! Oh well! Ahem. Moving on.
Goose. I love her. So, so much. What? I had to say that before I signed off. But she steals every scene she’s in, mostly because Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury allows her to, and also because she’s a total ham. I feel a Goose Drinking/Popcorn Eating Game coming on. Oh, and for my people who love end-credits? There are two. One at the mid-point, and a nice little wink at the end of everything. But pay attention to the opening credits – especially the Marvel crawl – as well. It’s a lovely tribute to Stan the Man, who makes his final Marvel cameo in this film. Excelsior, good sir!
#Protip: Wanna keep on Goose’s good side, ala Captain Marvel? Well, a Flerken seems to share many of the behaviors of our domesticated cats, so attune yourself to basic feline behaviors. *looks down to see my “cat”* Oh hi, baby! Who’s a pretty girl?