‘Captain Marvel’ Review

Directors: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Writers: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet

Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Djimon Hounsou, Rune Temte, Algenis Perez-Soto, Jude Law and Annette Bening

Synopsis: Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review. There are also two post-credit scenes.*

 

Marvel’s twenty-first film in their ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe finally has their first female-led superhero film. Not only that, it is a prequel to the whole MCU showing the events before we met Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in Iron Man, the MCU’s first film – although timeline wise, Captain America is still the first (for now), but let’s move pass that. So how does the pseudo-origin story of Captain Marvel fair? Let’s find out.

Captain Marvel follows “Vers” (Brie Larson), a member of the Kree Starforce, whose main purpose is to stop the shape-shifting alien race Skrulls, who they are in war with. While on a mission to recover someone with important information with her team, led by mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), they’re ambushed and Vers is eventually set crash lading to Earth in 1995. On the run from the Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), Vers teams up with a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to search for Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) a scientist whose work could end the Kree-Skrull war, but also holds the key to Vers’ past – a past she can’t remember since being on the Kree home plant Hala for six years.

Captain Marvel is interesting on a lot of fronts because on one end, the movie is an origin film for the character, who some people may not know. On top of that, Captain Marvel’s origin and history has changed every now and then, and the movie takes bits from the top main three origins of the character. On the other end, “Vers” already has her powers and knows how to use them, so the story just dives right into the action. That said, there are things that could have been touched on a little more in Vers’ story once she finds out who she really is. There is where the movie falls into some pitfalls and essentially makes Carol Danvers a somewhat less interesting person. It’s not Brie Larson’s fault, it’s the script that doesn’t really let the moments breathe the way it should.

Speaking of Larson, she handles this massive role with ease. Larson brings the right amount of everything a scene and the role requires. She’s equal parts funny, quick-witted and take no crap attitude, but also has enough believability to her that we’re rooting for you until the end. Her chemistry with some of the cast also keeps the movie going, more specifically, with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. The two bounce off each other extremely well, and it’s with Fury that Carol Danvers comes out, but it’s through other characters that we find out who she is, and not herself finding out who she is. That said, I do want to mention that the de-aging effect used on Jackson – and Clark Gregg’s returning Agent Coulson – is particularly seamless, that it’s damn impressive and it never really falters. Which unfortunately can’t be said for the end of the movie where some of the CGI looks a little too wonky, but I’ll take that as inexperience from directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who have mostly done low to mid-budget independent movies.

The only other character that Larson really bounces off of is Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau, Carol’s best friend from her days in Air Force, who has a daughter that also tells Carol who she was before she disappeared from Earth and ended up with the Kree. The rest of the supporting cast is fine, but a lot of them don’t get enough screen time although Captain Marvel belongs to Brie Larson. Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg isn’t in the movie enough to really grasp an idea about him, while Ben Mendelsohn’s Skrull leader Talos has a lot more to do with the story than you think, and also touches on a big comic storyline. Annette Bening’s Doctor character also plays a huge role in the movie, but it’s basically a long cameo.

Speaking of cameos, Lee Pace’s Ronan returns in a nothing role, along with Djimon Hounsou’s Korath. Sure Korath is in the Starfleet Force, but the whole team doesn’t really do too much, which is shame since this could have been a cool new team to have set up in the universe. It’s also a waste of Gemma Chan’s Minn-Erva.

Of course, Captain Marvel has had its outcry of blind negatively lately from people who can’t take seeing a female superhero on screen in her own movie. Or because they think the movie will pass along a feminist message. Honestly, either one is really dumb especially considering that the character of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel is very interesting and has some great comic stories. If you honestly give in to these ideas, then how about you actually watch the movie first to form an articulate and meaningful contribution. Is there a message? Probably, and yeah, but it’s not like it takes away from the movie or stops and says “LOOK AT THIS MESSAGE OOO.”

All in all, Captain Marvel is another good addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Brie Larson owns the role of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, and her chemistry with the seamless de-aged Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury keeps the movie up and running. Yes, the movie has flaws, but not enough to really say the movie is bad or the worst movie in the Cinematic Universe. Also, Goose the cat.

Captain Marvel

4 out of 5

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March Movie Releases

Hello there!

Can you believe it’s March already? Anyway, besides it being my birth month(!) there are some great films coming out in March that we can look forward to. Also, a large amount of limited releases to some big films, plus I’m doing something a little different in terms of my thoughts about some of the films. Hopefully it’s a little easier to read than a big block of text, and like other times, I won’t be giving my thoughts on every movie. So let’s start shall we?

 

1st

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral

Synopsis: A joyous family reunion becomes a hilarious nightmare as Madea and the crew travel to backwoods Georgia, where they find themselves unexpectedly planning a funeral that might unveil unsavory family secrets.

Thoughts: I’ve never seen any of the Madea movies, but Tyler Perry has said this will be the last Madea movie because it’s time to move on from the character he’s played for some time now.

 

Greta

Synopsis: Directed by Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire), a young woman (Chloe Grace Moretz) befriends a lonely widow (Isabelle Huppert) who’s harboring a dark and deadly agenda towards her. Greta co-stars Maika Monroe, Zawe Ashton, Colm Feore and Stephen Rea.

Thoughts: Greta seems like it could be a great thriller, the only thing that worries me about the film is the lack of real promotion, which could end up hurting it. Either way, I’m going to watch it because seeing Isabelle Huppert playing an “unhinged” woman could be a sight to see.

 

8th

Limited Release: The Kid

Synopsis: The story of a young boy who witnesses Billy the Kid’s (Dane DeHaan) encounter with Sheriff Pat Garrett (Ethan Hawke). The Kid also stars Jake Schur, Chris Pratt, Adam Baldwin, Leila George and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Thoughts: Directed by Vincent D’Onofrio.

 

Captain Marvel

Synopsis: Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Captain Marvel co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Judel Law, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg, Lashana Lynch, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Ben Mendelsohn and Annette Bening.

Thoughts: Marvel’s first ever female-led superhero film– yes, Black Widow should have gotten it first, let’s move pass that for right now – and it’s getting some great word of mouth. That said, the hype level is real for Captain Marvel.

 

15th

Limited Release: Yardie

Synopsis: D (Aml Ameen), who has never fully recovered from the murder, committed during his childhood of his older brother, D grows up under the wing of a Kingston Don and music producer named King Fox (Sheldon Sheperd). Fox dispatches him to London, where he reconnects with his childhood sweetheart, Yvonne (Shantol Jackson), and his daughter who he’s not seen since she was a baby.

Thoughts: Idris Elba’s directorial debut.

 

Limited Release: The Aftermath

Synopsis: Based on the book by Rhidian Brook, post World War II, a British colonel and his wife (Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley) are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction, but tensions arise with the German (Alexander Skarsgard) who previously owned the house.

 

Limited Release: The Hummingbird Project

Synopsis: A pair of high-frequency traders (Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgard) go up against their old boss (Salma Hayek) in an effort to make millions in a fiber-optic cable deal.

 

Limited Release: The Mustang

Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts), a violent convict, is given the chance to participate in a rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of wild mustangs. The film is based on the short film by the film’s director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s, who is making her feature film debut. The Mustang co-stars Josh Stewart, Gideon Adlon, Jason Mitchell, Connie Britton and Bruce Dern.

 

Limited Release: Captive State (expansion release to follow)

Synopsis: Co-written and directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes); Set in Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force, the film explores the lives on both sides of the conflict – the collaborators and dissidents.  Captive State stars Ashton Sanders, John Goodman, Kiki Layne, James Ransone, Madeline Brewer, Machine Gun Kelly and Vera Farmiga.

Thoughts: Captive State looks like a low-budget sci-fi thriller in the vein of District 9 and I’m all for it.

 

Wonder Park

Synopsis: The story of a magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June (voiced by Brianna Denski) comes alive. The voice cast includes John Oliver, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Garner.

 

Five Feet Apart

Synopsis: A pair of teenagers (Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse) with life-threatening illnesses meet in a hospital and fall in love.

 

19th

Triple Threat

Synopsis: A hit contract is taken out on a billionaires daughter intent on bringing down a major crime syndicate. A down and out team of mercenaries must take on a group of professional assassins and stop them before they kill their target.

Thoughts: This one has been on people’s, and mine, radar since it was announced. Why? Look at the freaking action star cast! Iko Uwais, Tony Jaa, Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, JeeJa Yanin, Tiger Hu Chen, Michael Bisping and Celina Jade. I mean, that’s all I got.

 

22nd

Hotel Mumbai

Synopsis: Based on the true story of the Taj Hotel terrorist attack in Mumbai. Hotel staff risk their lives to keep everyone safe as people make unthinkable sacrifices to protect themselves and their families. The film stars Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Jason Isaacs.

 

Us

Synopsis: Written and directed by Jordan Peele, a mother and father take their kids (Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong’o, Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joseph) to their beach house, expecting to enjoy time with friends, but their serenity turns to tension and chaos when some visitors arrive uninvited. Us co-stars Elisabeth Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tim Heidecker and Anna Diop.

Thoughts: Jordan Peele is back behind the camera, and it looks like he’s doing a straightforward horror film this time. If the trailers are any indication, Us is going to be one of the best films of the year…hopefully.

 

29th

Limited Release: The Beach Bum

Written and directed by Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers), a rebellious stoner named Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) lives life by his own rules. The Beach Bum co-stars Zac Efron, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, Stefania LaVie Owen, Snoop Dogg and Martin Lawrence.

 

Unplanned

As one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation, Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher) was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women on their reproductive choices. Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in. Until the day she saw something that changed everything.

 

Dumbo

Based on the novel by Helen Aberson, and the classic animated Disney film, a young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer. Directed by Tim Burton, and stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Eva Green, Alan Arkin and Danny DeVito.

What are you looking forward to?