Captain Marvel is a 2019 superhero film based on a character featured in Marvel Comics also going by the same name. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the film stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. The plot revolves around the origin story of Brie’s character who has to use her powerful abilities to curb an impending danger to earth and its inhabitants.
Acting and Character performances.
Straight off the bat, Larson in my view, played this role as though her whole acting career had been leading up to it; exceptional would be an understatement. She made the character as balanced as she should have been i.e. she had a fierce/badass side to her that appropriately interchanged with well-executed humour. Additionally, I don’t know how much stunt work she did in the film’s production nevertheless, there are various shots in the movie where it seemed as though it was her doing the stunts and not a stunt-double; a true testament to the hard work she had been putting in her work-out so as to portray the hero the best way she could. Her character’s arc in the film was satisfactory despite the fact that it began a bit unconventionally, I won’t say why because it is a potential spoiler. The arc pretty much involves her taking a journey of self-discovery while also stepping up to the hero role when circumstances need her to.
Coming into this film, I already had a fixed idea of what I’d be getting from Jackson as Nick Fury based on his previous roles in Marvel movies, or should I say, future roles and perhaps I made a mistake in doing this. The Nick Fury on here has a light-hearted persona and rarely wears that game-face that he often does in the Avengers and Captain America flicks. He is much less action and much more dialogue. On one hand, one could say that he was written as a character who is too ‘not the Nick Fury we are used to’ deliberately so that he can be tool to enhance the outstanding comedic tone hence letting Captain Marvel have her moment of glory to the fullest.
On the other hand one could argue that, much like Carol Danvers, this was pretty much an origin story for Fury as well who at the time was not so occupied about the possibility of celestial threats to mankind as opposed to terrestrial threats which he felt he and his agents could handle hence his lack of seriousness. If you asked on my take on this, I’d say I am sitting on the fence because both theories seem valid and I wouldn’t argue for or against them. Having said that, Samuel L. Jackson was good overall in the role; he is a seasoned actor and I didn’t expect any less.
It’s safe to say that you wouldn’t put it past Ben Mendelsohn to play a villain role in a film and this particular one is no different, or is it? Well, I will say this much, there is a certain plot twist in the movie centered on his character Talos that was considerably unexpected, most notably to fans of the Marvel comics. Much like Fury, he also had a humorous side to him which broke the tension in some measure.
The Plot Merits and Demerits.
Of course, there is no way I’d do this review without mentioning the controversy surrounding Brie Larson in the weeks or even months leading up to this movie; a controversy that is still very much alive as of the time I am writing this. Her comments on the lack of diversity among film critics fueled a lot of negative talk that not only put a real strain on her stature as an actress but also on the film’s marketing with many audience members pledging to boycott the film. That said, irrespective of all the controversy, I’d urge you to get to the nearest theatre to see the film anyway and judge it for what it and not according to the immense drama surrounding its release.
Judge it on its story, which in my opinion, was up to standard. It stayed true to much of the origin story of Captain Marvel in the comics while also providing a fair few twists and surprises. For example, the foundation of the relationship between Brie’s character and Mar-Vell here is more to do with admiration as opposed to love.
Judge it on the direction, which in my own point of view was top-notch. Despite their somewhat underwhelming filmography, the incredible directorial work that Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck put into the film is very evident in almost every scene.
The production design team of this movie deserve a warm round of applause. The 90’s feel was for the most part, seamless i.e. from the detailed Blockbuster video store, the faulty computers and so much more. The visual effects team did a great job also i.e the Kree world, the alien tech. as well as the Skrulls design; the latter which I was quite skeptical of in the beginning. Another positive I took away from the film is the conveniently done editing; with the exception of a few flashback instances courtesy of Captain Marvel which felt quite choppy.
The cinematography was above par; quite a number of tracking shots are employed on here to enhance the visual appeal of the action and it works brilliantly. The denouement was massively rich in entertainment; the movie concludes with interesting elements that got me on the edge of my seat. Finally I loved the comedy; it was administered well and it brought the best out of some of the characters in particular scenes or just the scenes in question.
As far as the flaws are concerned, there wasn’t much that I could personally nitpick having watched it once, perhaps I might add on some more later on. However, I felt the writing of some characters wasn’t all that great especially with Nick Fury as I had mentioned earlier. Furthermore, the 90’s nostalgia felt excessively forced in a number of instances i.e. the music placements.
If the Box Office successes of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy; Vol. 1’ and ‘Black Panther’ are anything to go by, Marvel Studios have indeed developed a knack of making lesser known comic book characters/team-ups resonate with the wider audience. Captain Marvel might be joining that bandwagon in the months to come. I can’t quite say that the motion-picture was an ideal set-up for Avengers; Endgame nonetheless, I enjoyed it and I loved the Stan Lee tribute as well.