Marvel movies seem to get better as each one releases and Captain Marvel is no exception. It offers us the story of Air Force pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), who’s involved in a plane crash in the opening scenes. There’s another woman (Annette Bening) at the crash site, but we don’t find out her relationship to Carol until much later. We do see an alien, who shoots a gun in their direction and presumably hits the other woman.
The next time we see Carol, she’s known as Vers (pronounced Veers), and is living in Hala, the capital of Kree, as part of an elite military team. Her leader is Yon-Rogg, played by Jude Law. He’s tough and relentless, and has trained Carol to be the same. She’s able to shoot bolts of energy out of her wrists, and combined with her high level martial arts skills, it makes her almost invincible. However, she has no memories of the crash or anything that happened before.
The military team’s main task is to battle an alien race called the Skrulls, whose greatest skill is shape-shifting. Carol has been told they’re trying to infiltrate planets in order to take them over.
When their latest battle with these lizard-looking aliens goes sideways, Carol winds up on Planet C-53, a.k.a. Earth. She slowly comes to realize that C-53 is her home planet, and discovers humans are far behind the rest of the galaxy when it comes to tech. She attracts the attention of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who has not yet assembled the Avengers.
What I enjoyed about this movie is that there’s no love story. Carol doesn’t fall in love with Yon-Rogg or anyone else. Her closest relationship was with her female best friend on Earth, before her accident.
There has been a lot of negative talk about Captain Marvel because this movie is the first of Marvel’s to have a female superhero in the lead. However, it’s easy to forget about gender altogether while watching the movie. Unlike Wonder Woman, Carol doesn’t wear skimpy or revealing clothing. She doesn’t project stereotyped femininity. She’s just a trained warrior, like the other warriors on her team, who are mostly, although not exclusively, male.
I didn’t find I had to suspend my credulity at any point. Captain Marvel (although she’s never called that in the film) has powers, thanks to something that happened early in the film. But in addition to that, she has trained relentlessly. It’s almost the only thing she cares about — being a great warrior in order to help her team keep destructive aliens from harming innocent races.
Brie Larson does an exceptional job in what was a challenging role. Her character goes through a lot, especially as she regains her memories and slowly pieces together what is happening, while figuring out who the enemy is — and who isn’t. Carol is a tough, very skeptical person, and she’s had to be, especially since the plane crash.
Because the Skrulls can shapeshift into anybody, she never knows who to trust, and Brie portrays that very well. Her distrust of strangers comes across clearly and keeps us in suspense, wondering if she’s correct in her assessments or if she’s just paranoid from her experiences and training with the Kree.
The film moves along at a good pace — the action never stalls, taking the audience on a ride that keeps us guessing at every step — there are a lot of twists and turns in the plot.
From the moment it begins — with a touching tribute to Stan Lee — to the very end, when there’s a funny post credits scene that will have you, if not laughing out loud, at least with a big grin on your face (make sure to watch after every bit of the credits have rolled), this film is exceptionally entertaining.
5 out of 5 stars.
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