'Captain Marvel' is funny, action-packed, and a beacon of female empowerment

MarvelIf you’ve been bored with the live-action movie releases this year so far, then ‘Captain Marvel’ is here to save the box office.
  • Warning: There are mild spoilers ahead for “Captain Marvel.”
  • “Captain Marvel” takes place in the mid-’90s and stars Oscar winner Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, reprising his role as Nick Fury from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • The movie is funnier than expected with standout performances from Larson, Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, and Jude Law.
  • Goose the Cat will become an instant favourite.

Captain Marvel” is the first really good movie of 2019 and she’s about to become every little girl’s new favourite heroine.

Brie Larson stars as Vers, a super-powered woman who wakes up on a technologically-advanced alien planet, but can’t shake the thought she may be from somewhere else.

When a mission crash lands Vers on Earth to stop shape-shifting Skrulls from taking over the planet, she unexpectedly embarks on a journey of self-discovery to unlock the truth about her mysterious past.

“Captain Marvel” delivers a delightful entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe filled with action-packed fight sequences and chases, as well as a reminder to never let anyone hold you back from your full potential.

What to know: The film takes place in 1995, before most of the other movies in the MCU. It stars Oscar winner Brie Larson and a de-aged Samuel L. Jackson.

Captain marvel blockbusterMarvelYou know this takes place in the ’90s because there’s a Blockbuster Video.

Though “Captain Marvel” is coming out after “Avengers: Infinity War,” it actually takes place in the ’90s, before the majority of MCU movies. The only one that really takes place before it is “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which occurs between 1943 and 1945.

Larson, who plays the titular superhero, won the best actress Academy Award in 2016 for her performance as a kidnapped victim in “Room.” Jackson reprises his role as S.H.I.E.L.D. member Nick Fury. Here, we see him before he’s the director of the task force and learn what leads him on the path to creating the Avengers Initiative. Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Djimon Housou, Lee Pace, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg, and Annette Bening also star.

Do I need to see all of those other Marvel movies before ‘Captain Marvel’? No.

Captain marvel superheroMarvelOne of the funnier scenes in ‘Captain Marvel.’

“Captain Marvel” stands alone as an origin movie by itself. If you’re not too familiar with the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Marvel’s The Avengers” it may be helpful to have a slight refresher in case you’re confused by Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser (“GOTG”) showing up. If you need a quick guide on any of the Infinity Stones, the gems at the center of “Avengers: Infinity War,” we have you covered here. You just want to know about the Tesseract, which houses the blue space stone.

What’s hot: Jude Law, a younger-looking, smart-tongued Nick Fury; Brie Larson’s quick-witted Carol Danvers; and Goose the Cat. There’s a lot of love for Goose.

Captain marvel brie larsonMarvelNobody’s putting Danvers in a corner or speaking down to her. Make a sweet comment at her? She’s going to swipe your motorcycle.

If you fell in love with Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, you may fall even harder for Vers/Carol Danvers. Spending several years of her life with alien lifeforms called Kree, she’s been told to repress a gift of superpowers bestowed upon her. Like most of us, she’s just trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs in the world. There’s nothing much more relatable than that.

And can she take names? Let’s put it this way. If I were Thanos, I would be extremely concerned right now. Danvers doesn’t wait to put on her shoes to fight some bad guys in “Captain Marvel.” She’s definitely a hero who could easily go toe-to-toe with the likes of Iron Man or Doctor Strange and dish a few easy quips, if needed. And she does it all without messing up her loose beach wave curls.

Danvers has a smart mouth (without being obnoxious or rude), is very headstrong, and is quite resourceful. Larson plays the part with ease as a tough, but chill girl you’d want to toss back a drink with and maybe sing a round of karaoke.

When she’s able to show off her powers in full, the movie is at its most fun. If Danvers is the next leader of the Avengers in Phase 4 of the MCU, the superheroes would be in very good hands. I expect this to be one of the top Halloween costumes for girls and young women this year along with a popular outfit for Cons.

Who knew “Captain Marvel” would be as much of a Nick Fury vehicle as it is for a female superhero?

Captain marvel nick furyMarvelIf Danvers can make Fury smile, laugh, and sing (yes, you read that last one right), then you know this girl is golden.

Usually the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent comes and goes quickly in Marvel movies. Not this time. Jackson’s in this movie just about as much as Captain Marvel, making for a pretty fun and rambunctious buddy-cop team-up. Here, Jackson is the latest actor to go through Disney and Marvel’s de-ageing process. While it may seem odd for a few minutes at the film’s start, it appears quite natural throughout the two-hour film. Disney has really mastered this tech.

This movie is so much more funny than I expected. From the relationship between Danvers and Fury to ’90s throwbacks of dial-up internet, beepers, and a Blockbuster cameo that appeared in trailers for the film, audiences were laughing a lot. Some of the movie’s best humour came in small, quiet motions and glances from characters.

The real highlight of this film, which you may have heard about in early social media reactions, is the cat, Goose, who becomes a loyal tagalong with Fury and Danvers. Audiences at our screening laughed and awed over the furball as he popped up unexpectedly at just the right moments on screen. Fury’s obsession with the feline is infectious.

Goose captain marvelMarvelFans are going to want a stuffed animal or action figure of Goose.

Lashana Lynch gives the film some of its emotional weight as Danvers’ childhood friend, Maria Rambeau. There’s not nearly enough of her in the film.

Marvel has been keeping a pretty tight lid on the real identity of Jude Law’s character in this film, and rightfully so. Law has a much larger role than expected and there’s something incredibly piercing and entrancing about his character’s abnormal yellow-hazel eyes which make it tough to take your eyes off him. After watching “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” fans will be pleasantly surprised to see the turn Law takes in this film. That’s all I’m going to say about his character.

Jude law eyes captain marvelMarvelPeople have been Googling Jude Law’s eyes in ‘Captain Marvel.’ Why? Because they’re mesmerisingly golden.

What’s not: Danvers’ family backstory felt a bit rushed and one scene feels a little too much like it came out of Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ catalogue.

There’s a chase sequence near the end of “Captain Marvel” that felt so incredibly “Star Wars”-like, that it took me out of the film and made me wonder if I was watching footage from the pod-racing scenes in “The Phantom Menace” momentarily. It didn’t help that some of the blaster noises coming out of ships sounded oddly “Star Wars”-like, too. For reference, Marvel and Lucasfilm are both owned by Disney. I thought it was just me, but a colleague sitting next to me at the screening had the exact same vibe. The movie loses some points for originality there.

For as many wonderful ’90s throwbacks and references the film includes, ranging from TLC’s “Waterfall” to No Doubt’s “Just a Girl,” not all of the musical choices work perfectly in every scene. It almost felt like Marvel was trying a little too hard to replicate part of the magic that made “Guardians of the Galaxy” so successful. Those two soundtracks were meticulously selected by director James Gunn and woven into the heart of his movies. Here, some of the songs merely just seem like they’re present for nostalgia’s sake. The unofficial “Awesome Mix” for “Captain Marvel,” while mostly good, could use a little fine-tuning.

I also wished we saw a little bit more of Danvers’ backstory. Much of it is shown in flashes. The audience is quickly told she simply doesn’t have a great relationship with her folks, but it’s not really too clear why. The film does send a nice message that your family can be found where ever you feel at home and surrounded by a group of loved ones who just make you feel safe.

Captain marvel lee paceMarvelThere are too many photos teasing Lee Pace’s Ronan in this movie on the Disney press site for the very little time he’s actually present in this film. I don’t know why Marvel even bothered adding him into this movie. It’s not necessary.

The teasers shouldn’t have shown anything that had to do with Lee Pace’s Ronan from “Guardians of the Galaxy.” He’s barely in the movie and would have been a better surprise kept secret.

Overall: See this if you plan on seeing ‘Avengers: Endgame’ in April. But, you know that, right?

Captain marvel carol danversMarvelThe major lesson from ‘Captain Marvel’? Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do.

If you want to see Earth’s best chance at defeating Thanos in the next “Avengers” movie, I recommend “Captain Marvel.” She may be the most powerful superhero introduced in the MCU. (Yes, more powerful than Thor.) I think she could wipe the floor with just about every Marvel hero and villain who has been introduced without breaking much of a sweat.

“Captain Marvel” will leave young girls feeling empowered, while hopefully encouraging them to not be afraid to stand up for themselves or others, even if someone or something is holding them back.

Make sure to stick through the credits for two extra scenes. One has a direct setup for “Avengers: Endgame.” There’s also a sweet tribute to Stan Lee at the film’s very start that will probably make you tear up.

Grade: B+

“Captain Marvel” is in theatres Friday. You can watch a trailer for the movie here and below.

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