Film Review: Captain Marvel

Despite how similar it feels to the other origin stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU), Captain Marvel is a mostly enjoyable entry in the series thanks to the strong performances from its terrific main cast, especially Ben Mendelsohn, and more than a few great action sequences.

Captain Marvel takes place in 1995, and follows Vers (Brie Larson), a Kree warrior who lost her memories six years prior and is part of an elite team fighting in the centuries-long war between the Kree and another alien race, the Skrull. After a mission goes south, Vers ends up stranded on Earth and tries to stop a group of invading Skrull lead by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) with the help of a younger, two-eyed S.H.I.E.L.D operative, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Along the way, Vers also begins to uncover the secrets of her past and the origin of her powers.

Brie Larson is great as Vers, keeping the character’s somewhat cliche journey compelling while also making sure she’s never anything less than a total badass, even in her more vulnerable moments. This is a role that could’ve ended up feeling pretty flat, but Larson’s talent more than justifies Marvel and Disney’s decision to make her the new face of the MCU. Her chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson is fantastic as well, and their bond is one of my favorite parts of the film.

Speaking of Jackson, his portrayal of a relatively green Nick Fury is such a change from those of the character’s “later” appearances in the MCU. It’s just different enough to be almost jarring, but close enough that you can still see the similarities between the older and younger versions. And holy cow, the de-aging effects used on him are insane!

However, the best performance of the movie has to be Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos. Even through all the stellar prosthetics, he brings so much emotional depth to the villain, who’s now one of my favorite characters in the MCU. Also, the timing and delivery of his comedic lines make him the funniest part of the film, closely followed by Jackson.

In addition to the acting, most of the action in Captain Marvel is a great too. All of the set pieces are drastically different, and allow/force Vers to use her powers in various ways. The final battle is definitely the best, and makes it clear that Vers is the most powerful Avenger we’ve seen so far by a significant margin.

Unfortunately, the storytelling of Captain Marvel quite isn’t as strong as its characters or action, and the movie ends up feeling just like any of the origin stories of the earlier MCU heroes with the cosmic bits of Guardians of the Galaxy and an amnesiac protagonist thrown in. Even though I love most of the films it’s borrowing from, Captain Marvel never rises to greatness because it doesn’t even try to differentiate itself from the other Avengers’ first outings.

But even though the story felt somewhat tired, I still liked Captain Marvel. It isn’t the best or most original film in the MCU, but it’ll definitely please fans thanks to its fantastic action and great acting. And let’s face it, I don’t really need to convince you. You have to see this before Avengers: Endgame anyway.

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