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Review: Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel hit cinemas on Friday 8 March, and at the time of writing has taken around $455million globally. This is more than the opening weekend of not only Wonder Woman, but also means Captain Marvel had the biggest opening weekend of any female fronted movie.

It’s also the seventh biggest debut for an MCU film, beating out Black Panther and Captain America: Civil War. It might be a Box Office smash, but is Captain Marvel actually any good?

Vers

Captain Marvel tells the tale of amnesiac Kree ‘noble warrior hero’ Vers. The Kree are at war with a race of aliens called the Skrull, who can shapeshift into anyone they like, matching everything even down to the DNA. After Vers is captured during a mission, she discovers the Skrull are looking for a woman named Dr Lawson, who they believe has created an essential piece of tech. In her escape, Vers crash lands on Earth in 1995 and sets off to find Lawson before the Skrull can. On the way, she begins to discover she and Lawson might be more connected than she thought. With a de-aged Nick Fury and Lawson’s cat Goose on hand to help, an ass-kicking, smart quipping adventure soon follows.

The movie throws you straight into the story, with little attempt at much exposition. If you’re not a Marvel comics scholar, you’re left to figure out who the Kree and the Skrull are pretty much by yourself. The first part of the plot races along rapidly, hurrying to get Vers, or Carol Danvers, as she later finds out, onto Earth. The first few minutes do feel a little rushed, and could be confusing for some, but as soon as Danvers crashes into a Blockbuster, the tone for the rest of the film is set.

Brie Larson as Carol Danvers is charismatic, no-nonsense and witty. She’s achingly cool, in her stolen grunge fashion choices and her wise-cracking interactions with everyone from friends to villains. For fans of Danvers’ comic appearances, rest assured that Larson presents the Danvers you know and love.

Cast

Samuel L Jackson gives us a Nick Fury who is very different to the one we’re used to from past movies. This Fury is younger (neatly digitally de-aged), and less jaded. He forms an immediate friendship with Danvers, and an even stronger love for Goose the cat. Fury is much funnier and full of hope than we’ve seen before, and it’s interesting angle to see who Fury once was. Fury and Danvers make for an unlikely buddy movie, but one that is charming to watch and very believable.

A supporting cast that includes Jude Law as a Kree warrior, Annette Bening as Lawson and Carol’s human friend Maria Rambeau played by Lashana Lynch. Maria and her daughter Monica (Akira Akbar) bring some real heart to the movie, and to Danvers. Maria neatly sidesteps the usual tropes of ‘black friend sidekick’ and instead gives us a woman we really believe could be best friends with a superhero. I’m certain too that we haven’t seen the last of Monica.

The real standout character however is feline. Goose steals every scene she’s in, and has a few surprises up her furry sleeves.

Nostalgia

The whole thing is a riot of 90’s nostalgia. Expect jokes about internet speed and Radio Shack. The fashion is all 90’s grunge girl cool, and the soundtrack matches. Key moments are punctuated by some of the biggest female artists of the era, including TLC, Salt ‘n’ Pepper and Hole.

Most of all, this movie is just excellent fun. It’s colourful, with masterfully choreographed action scenes, characters to fall in love with, and a soundtrack that slaps. It’s central heroine has a bigger message though, amongst her sarcastic replies and wry raised eyebrows. In her final showdown, she delivers a message of strength and empowerment that will have women everywhere internally screaming in triumph. Danvers is a woman who won’t apologise to anyone for existing.

For a 90s buddy movie romp, for feminist empowerment and for a truly brilliant cat, go and see Captain Marvel. It’s wonderful, and will leave you more than ready to see her again in Avengers: End Game in April.

George Elsmere is a Birmingham based freelance copywriter and features writer. Find her website at georgeelsemere.com

 


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