CAPTAIN MARVEL teaser poster | ©2019 Marvel Studios

CAPTAIN MARVEL teaser poster | ©2019 Marvel Studios

Rating: PG-13
Stars: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg, Akira Akbar, Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, Gemma Chan
Writers: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet, story by Nicole Perlman & Meg LeFauve and Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet
Directors: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel Studios
Release Date: March 8, 2019

CAPTAIN MARVEL begins with a loving, lovely tribute to Marvel’s founder, the late Stan Lee. This at once puts us in a warm, sentimental mood and gives the movie that follows something to live up to: it had better be worthy of the intro. Happily, CAPTAIN MARVEL does just that, with a playful ambience that never obscures the galactic peril.

Vers (Brie Larson), as she’s called when we meet her, is a proud Kree warrior. The Kree are a highly-advanced people in a galaxy far distant from Earth, dedicated to protecting their species from all perceived threats. Right now, the Kree are worried about the shape-shifting Skrull, aliens who look like green goblins in their true form but who can assume the appearance and identity of individuals of any species.

Vers is a good fighter, with the ability to shoot energy blasts from her hands, but her commanding officer, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), insists that she keeps letting her emotions get the better of her. This may be because Vers is having some very strange dreams about people and places she can’t remember; in fact, she can’t remember anything that happened over six years ago.

Since most audience members will recognize elements of Vers’s fragmented visions, they’ll be somewhat ahead of her. (Viewers who remember certain plot points from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY will be way ahead.) After a battle with the Skrull lands Vers on Earth, circa 1992, she comes to the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the then-youngish Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

Let us pause a moment to admire CAPTAIN MARVEL’s most awesome special effect, which is the reverse-aging of actor Jackson. The CGI taking him back to the face he had twenty-seven years ago is mind-blowing in its immediate appearance and its overall implications. The spaceships and the super-fights and the aliens all look great, but nobody has actually seen these things. We’ve all seen what Jackson looked like in 1992 (Jackson was costarring in PATRIOT GAMES and JUICE, a year before JURASSIC PARK and two years before PULP FICTION), and the results are amazing. The same types of effects are used on Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson at his most eager-beaver.

From here, CAPTAIN MARVEL starts weaving some very clever plot twists at the same time it plants some big emotional stakes. We know of course that Fury, Coulson and the universe in general survive to appear later in the timeline, but we’re still invested in the specifics. Brie’s winning performance makes us care about her dedicated character, and we wind up rooting for her friendships both new and recovered.

It also feels appropriate that several of the most important relationships in CAPTAIN MARVEL are the deep bonds between our hero and her female mentor (Annette Bening), pilot and mom Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), and Maria’s irrepressible daughter Monica (Akira Akbar). In recovering her identity, it feels right that much of what informs this specific hero is her history with other women.

It’s also just a blast to see Jackson cut loose as a happier, easier to surprise Fury, and to find out what gives the character joy. For viewers who are tracking the Marvel Comics Universe on the big screen, CAPTAIN MARVEL also fills in some blanks in satisfying fashion.

Ben Mendelsohn deserves commendation for his complex performance as the Skrull leader, as do the trainers of the cats playing Goose.

CAPTAIN MARVEL mixes fun and urgency with an engaging title character. It’s absolutely worth seeing. As always with Marvel movies, stay for the mid- and post-end-credits scenes.

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Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Movie Review: CAPTAIN MARVEL

 

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