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Movie Review: ‘Captain Marvel’ Soars and Proves Why She’s Needed Against Thanos

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The long awaited Captain Marvel finally hit theaters this past weekend and it starts off hitting you right in the emotional gut. The film starts off with a great tribute to the comic book legend and icon that is Stan Lee, which is followed by these words:

“Thank you Stan”

Stan Lee
Stan Lee

This was a great emotional moment that was simple, elegant, and done against the backdrop of a black screen. There probably wasn’t a dry eye in the house although this moving tribute did leave a little confusion as to whether the audience should applaud or not as a few members in my screening actually haphazardly stood up and clapped.

As soon as the tribute was over, the movie wasted no time in letting us know exactly who Captain Marvel is, for those who may not be too familiar with the character.

Captain Marvel is an extraterrestrial Kree warrior living in intergalactic space who finds herself in the middle of a war with a race called the Skrulls. However, she has no memory of her past, but the truth is slowly revealed to her when she’s having nightmares and visions come to her while she’s in the midst of battle.

It’s evident right away that this won’t be your typical origin story as many of her memories have to first be pieced together for us to truly understand where she came from and how her powers came to be since she already has them. We slowly learn about her past through her dreams, flashbacks, and from the Skrulls themselves.

There’s a great scene that involves the Skrulls mixing Captain Marvel’s mind like a DJ’s turntable on a machine that helps them extract information. This “getting information from the mind” trope has been used in movies plenty of times before, but the way it is handled in this film is quite refreshing and different than previous times where I’ve seen it. There was some top-notch editing during this sequence and one of my favorite moments of the film.

Brie Larson’s overall performance as the lead was admirable but not spectacular or amazing (pun intended) as recent Marvel Studios addition Tom Holland’s role as Spider-Man. Maybe this has more to do with me and my high expectations for the character. I was going into this film thinking that she was going be the next phase of Marvel’s “Iron Man” and she wasn’t anything close to Robert Downey Jr’s performances as Tony Stark.

Now, don’t get me wrong she definitely played the rebellious badass role well and she had her moments, but there were some moments that felt kind of bland in the 3rd act of the film.

She was very one dimensional without a personal internal arc, but I think that was due to the script. She learns more about herself, but she becomes more of what she already was from the beginning of the film which really isn’t an arc. Brie is a great actress and was under a ton of pressure to nail the role of Captain Marvel, but the direction feels like it’s trying to figure out her stance on the big screen. She should hopefully improve in Avengers: Endgame under the direction of the Russo Brothers. 

Brie’s best moments came when she’s with her supporting cast. The buddy cop chemistry with Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury was great and I was glad to see my man Sam getting a ton of screen time here because he deserved it, and he definitely made the most of it. Especially once Goose the cat became a major player in the movie. I also loved that this film touched more on he and Phil Coulson’s relationship of how they became friends.

Phil Coulson’s back…on the big screen.

I also loved that the “girl power” vibe was quite strong in this, as women are often undervalued in superhero movies. To put that in perspective, Captain Marvel is the 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first led by a woman, although things are looking up across the board with movies like Wonder Woman dominating the box office and Shuri and the Dora Milaje stomping foes in Wakanda. Black Widow even has her own long awauited but deserved film in pre-production right now.

Speaking of Wakanda and Black Panther, I loved Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau’s character and the nod to her daughter Monica Rambeau’s eventual and possible transformation into possibly Captain Marvel or Photon (which just so happens to be Maria’s pilot nickname in Captain Marvel). There was definitely a throwaway line that Fury even says to little Monica about her growing up and “learning how to glow” like her “Auntie Carol,” which is a direct reference of the kind of powers that she will hopefully one day possess if Marvel plans to stick somewhat to her comic book character’s arc.

A little unknown comic book fact is that Monica Rambeau was once with T’Challa in the comics right before he got engaged to Storm from the X-Men. So now I’m eagerly anticipating how they will handle her character in the future.

The 90’s nostalgia is stamped all over this movie. It was fun seeing Blockbuster and other popular stores such as Radio Shack being prominently displayed. There were movie references to Mall Rats (Stan Lee’s cameo), Terminator 2, and True Lies. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air even got a mention. Songs from Salt-N-Pepa, TLC, Nirvana, and No Doubt were in the soundtrack’s rotation.

The film played up to the technology at the time and had some good scenes like playing a CD on a computer and the computers taking too long to dial up to actually connect to the internet.

Lastly, the special effects overall were great! The de-aging of Nick Fury throughout the entire movie was phenomenal. Samuel L. Jackson as a young Nick Fury looked amazing. When captain Marvel got her final form at the end of the film, it also looked amazing.

Speaking of Captain Marvel’s “final form.” Her powers are great, but when she fully realizes what she’s capable of doing, she has no problem transitioning from powerful to super powerful which I think was a missed opportunity in her growth.

Captain Marvel truly is a great film and a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which makes her upcoming arrival in Avengers: Endgame mean that much more.

Director: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Cast: Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law.

Captain Marvel

8.5

Rating Summary

'Captain Marvel' soars and makes her presence known by becoming a strong addition to the MCU. This film makes waiting to see 'Avengers: Endgame' that much harder.

Pros
  • A strong cast with Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson leading the way
  • The special effects were literally out of this world.
  • First MCU movie with a female lead
  • Funny moments happen when film needs it to be funny and doesn't seem forced.
  • Stan Lee's cameo
  • Bring on Thanos!
Cons
  • Captain Marvel becomes too powerful, too fast.
  • Script seems to hold Brie Larson back at times. Felt that the story could have been a little stronger.
  • The "twist' was too predictable.
Brennen Jones
Brennen Jones is the leading founder and publisher of TheUrbanTwist.com, a leading entertainment and media blog. He is also the founder of P.S. Web Pros, which is a web design and internet marketing company. He's also TheUrbanTwist.com's resident filmmaker and has produced and directed several short films under his Kitt HoRizon Films imprint and he's produced and have worked on video productions and commercials for various government agencies. He plans to turn The Urban Twist into a media haven so stay tuned. Brennen currently lives in Baltimore, MD. So be my friend on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter!

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