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20th March 2019

Review: Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel succeeds as a ridiculous and charming 90s throwback superhero picture
Review: Captain Marvel
Samuel L. Jackon performs with a digitally de-aged mask. Photo: pinguino k @wikimedia commons

Despite the fact that it ranks as one of the dumbest instalments in a franchise that features a film called Ant-Man and The Wasp, Captain Marvel exceeds as a ridiculous and charming 90s throwback superhero picture.

Captain Marvel is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, and stars Brie Larson as the titular hero, known on earth as Carol Danvers, serving as an origin story for the character as she attempts to discover the truth behind her past, with the help of a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson as a younger, far less serious Nick Fury.

Like many Marvel movies, it is the characters in this that allow you to forget how ridiculous the storyline is due to the charismatic performances by the actors. Brie Larson is superb, and I look forward to seeing her appear again in what is apparently a seven-film deal with Marvel. Samuel L. Jackson does a convincing job as a Nick Fury, unlike the one we’ve grown to know and love, and Ben Mendelsohn is hilarious as the leader of the Skrulls, a species of shapeshifters. The only weak link in the cast is Jude Law as Carol’s mentor, Yon-Rog – however, I would not put this down to his acting abilities, rather the character felt underwritten.

Without these charismatic characters, the film would not have much to stand-on. The plot follows the Marvel formula we all know by now, and whilst this is not bad, it prevents this film from reaching the heights of recent instalments such as Infinity War and Black Panther. However, I do feel that both this and Ant-Man and The Wasp are in the difficult position of coming out between Infinity War and Endgame, where audiences are so excited for the bigger instalments that single-character focused stories such as this seem to pale in comparison.

The 90s setting makes for some good nostalgia, but was almost comically obvious in the way it tried to capture the decade, with Carol arriving on earth in a Blockbuster Video store, spending most of the film in a Nine-Inch-Nails t-shirt, and at one point ‘Come as You Are’ by Nirvana starts playing. It was nice, but felt like a pragmatic attempt at appealing to nostalgia without much substance behind it and did not serve much of a purpose besides a few jokes regarding slow internet speed.

The Marvel formula is getting stale, but I can’t say that I wasn’t entertained. The visuals are fun, though a little uninspired, the action is enjoyable, and most of the comedy works – particularly when it involves a cat named Goose which Nick Fury takes a liking to who was the highlight of the film for me. The film also pays tribute to the late Stan Lee in a beautiful way, with the midnight screening audience applauding when it happened.

Despite my various issues with the film, I would still recommend it for people who are fans of other Marvel movies. It won’t win over anyone unfamiliar with the cinematic universe, but it is strong enough to continue its winning streak.


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