With Avengers: Endgame nearing its hotly anticipated release, Marvel Studios provides us with its final origin story before what is set to be the MCU’s magnum opus. Captain Marvel is a character that was hinted after the metaphorical and literal dust settled following the big blow of Infinity War’s finale. To the cheers and applause of audience members in the theatres, Captain Marvel was set to have a serious impact on the follow up to the story. With Brie Larson at the helm of such an important character, this film was to make an historic mark with the MCU’s first leading lady role in their eleven years of story telling.
Taking place much sooner in the MCU timeline, we take a nostalgic trip back to the 90’s. A time when Blockbuster video and No Doubt were a relevant piece of pop culture and for those who were alive during the time, it often feels like a time capsule highlighting everything that was great about the decade. This time shift brings us to Fury’s early S.H.I.E.L.D. days and leads to what ultimately becomes the beginning of the ‘Avengers initiative’, a key element that ties Kevin Feige and Marvels goal of bringing all these characters together.
Larson has proved time and time again that she has the talent to carry a movie. With strong performances in Room, Short Term 12 and Kong: Skull Island, it didn’t come as a huge surprise to me when it was announced that she would take on the role. Fortunately, she does it with such class and a touch of feminine prowess that has somewhat been lacking within the MCU. Coupled up with a younger Samuel L. Jackson as fan favourite Fury, we’re gifted with a buddy comedy that at it’s best, is the film’s shining achievement. Despite the strong chemistry between these two however, it manages to sideline acting heavyweights Jude Law and Ben Mendelsohn to forgettable character status, which is unfortunately one of the biggest mistakes this film makes.
My biggest issue with the movie lies with its lack of risk. It feels like a film in the early stages of the development of its cinematic universe, and not something that should sit between what is, at this point, the companies most important piece of work. The now tepid and dry formula of the MCU is in full effect during this movie. Little known directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, having only a few indie flicks to their name, seem to have been swallowed by the direction of the studio’s desire to repeat their own process. By that I mean there’s a lack of personal touch from the two directors to differentiate this piece of work from other Marvel movies where directors have failed to do the same.
Although worth seeing, Captain Marvel doesn’t feel overly important to the story and missing this shouldn’t have you asking too many questions before or during Avengers: Endgame. However, with Larson pulling a performance that could rival the heavyweights of the franchise, the interactions between her and Sam Jackson and some well orchestrated set pieces, Captain Marvel becomes a fun, and often enjoyable cinematic experience.