‘Captain Marvel’ Review: Middle Tier MCU Film Still Delights

If anything is true after 21 films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s that Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios know exactly what they’re doing. They are incapable of making a bad movie. And as comic book movie fan I truly cherish that fact and look forward to their latest work two or three times a year.

But if we’re being realistic, not every single one of these can top the one that came before it in terms of quality. Sometimes we just have to be happy with the fact that the latest film is “pretty darn good.” And Captain Marvel is one of those films.

Captain Marvel will stake its place in the franchise’s history for being the first MCU film with a solo female lead. This is a long overdue and refreshing change of pace but the film’s originality and freshness mostly ends there. Sure, there’s a 90s setting and a remarkable cat (who may or may not be an actual cat) but the story operates within a world we’re pretty well familiar with by now and hits all of the standard beats for a Marvel origin film. Filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck try to toss a little twist into the mix but shame on you if you don’t see it coming from a mile away.

Captain Marvel

But when Captain Marvel really works it works largely in thanks to the tremendous cast led of course by Oscar-winner Brie Larson. I was initially skeptical of Larson’s work here due to some wooden line delivery in the film’s trailers (and there’s definitely some of that throughout the film) but she really wins you over by the time Carol Danver’s story really gets underway in the finished film.

Even more remarkable though is the supporting cast surrounding Larson. Samuel L. Jackson gives his best performance as Nick Fury yet with the aid of some astonishing de-aging special effects work to effortlessly make him appear to be over 20 years younger (the same effects on Clark Gregg’s young Agent Coulson aren’t quite as effective though). Annette Bening kills it in a mysterious dual role that I won’t spoil more info on here. And Ben Mendelsohn is delightful as the leader of the shape-shifting Skrulls along with great work from the likes of Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, and Gemma Chan. I mean, if the quality of this cast isn’t enough to convince you to see this movie I don’t know what is.

Captain Marvel

I think it goes without saying that a lot of viewers will be flocking to this to learn more about the character who might be destined to save the world from Thanos in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame – and you won’t come away disappointed on that front if you stay for the post credits scene – but I left the movie absolutely shell-shocked by her overwhelming power after it fully blossoms in the film’s climax. It’s definitely fun to watch but it’ll be interesting to see how it is handled in future films because she’s SO POWERFUL that she runs the risk of being a hero we’re never truly concerned about. Here’s hoping they find her version of Kryptonite quickly.

And I know this will pain a lot of the trolls out there hoping this film would be total flop, but sorry boys – Captain Marvel is a perfectly delightful two hours at the movies. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it’s got a great mix of thrills, laughs, and spectacle all to the tune of the best soundtrack since Guardians of the Galaxy. This might be middle tier of the MCU but even that is a guaranteed good time.

Grade: B

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