Captain Marvel has the nostalgia and the humour to carry a strong feminist message

Captain Marvel (2019) – Film Review

The latest Marvel film – Captain Marvel – serves as an appetiser for Avengers: Endgame – coming at the end of April.

There’s a touching moment in the Marvel logo sequence as all the superheroes are replaced by a montage of moments and cameos with the late Stan Lee who died in November 2018.

Captain Marvel film poster 2019
Captain Marvel film poster 2019

While this film has some cracking lines and is dripping in 1990s nostalgia there’s also a significant theme of female empowerment throughout – this film has come out on International Women’s Day after all.

Marvel has chosen this moment to invest in the first female headlining Marvel Cinematic Universe film after over 10 years of successful instalments mainly involving the male Avengers.

After years of giving us strong supporting female characters like Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Okoye, and The Wasp, Marvel have decided that now is the time to have one lead in a Marvel movie.

The titular hero of the moment is Vers (Brie Larson, Room) – a unique Kree soldier struggling with nightmares of a past she can’t remember and taught to control her emotions by her Starforce Commander Yon-Rogg (Jude Law, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald).

They are sent on a mission to rescue an undercover Kree operative who has infiltrated a group of Skrulls – who are the mortal enemy of the Kree with whom they have been at war with for centuries.

Skrulls have the unique ability to shapeshift to look like anything they have caught sight of – able to become the ultimate spies – infiltrating without people noticing.

Great supporting cast enhances Captain Marvel – with Samuel L Jackson given a co-starring role

One particular group is led by Talos – a Skrull commander played with an almost moustache twirling glee and a surprising amount of pathos by Ben Mendelsohn.

The world building is put aside in favour of more characterisation where the arrival of SHIELD operative Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) as Vers’ accidental partner on her journey of discovery after she escapes captivity by Talos to crash land on Earth in the 1990s.

Samuel L Jackson as a younger Nick Fury in Captain Marvel
Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) Photo: Chuck Zlotnick ©Marvel Studios 2019

Jackson was digitally de-aged in a process which has been seen many times before in films – and it’s a testament to the visual effects people and the writers that the spectacle of a 25 years younger Nick Fury goes almost unnoticed in the entire film – until you notice that he’s got both eyes intact!

The story takes an emotional turn when we discover Vers’ true identity and a universal truth about all wars as our film earns its feminist credentials.

If only there were more 90s references though, as the few music and pop culture cues we were treated to left me wanting to see more, but there were some good cameos and performances to savour – notably from Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau – a friend of Carol Danvers – Vers’ true identity.

There’s also the obligatory final fight, but its kept very short – in part because of the full extent of her powers which make her one of the most powerful of Marvel superheroes – able to give Thor a run for his money.

In the end, Captain Marvel is a fine 90s style action movie which maintains the usual Marvel sense of humour with enough action to be getting along with but doesn’t reach the high standards set by Black Panther (2018).

It also doesn’t quite reach the emotional highs and intensity achieved by the DC Comics hero Wonder Woman (2017) which will see a sequel released soon.

And while the humour is excellent, it’s not at the level of Thor: Ragnarok (2017).

After an enjoyable enough movie, though, and there’s a couple of end credits scene to enjoy.

The first end credits scene has to be one of the most highly anticipated – trailing the forthcoming Endgame – but there’s a bonus one right at the end of the credits as usual. Stick around for both if you can.

Lashana Lynch and Brie Larson as Monica Rambeau and Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel
Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL L to R: Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) Photo: Film Frame ©Marvel Studios 2019

Captain Marvel (12A; moderate fantasy violence, implied strong language; 124 minutes)

Director(s): Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden

Cast Includes: Brie Larson, Gemma Chan, Jude Law, Mckenna Grace, Samuel L. Jackson, Lee Pace

Summary: CAPTAIN MARVEL is a sci-fi fantasy adventure in which a pilot becomes embroiled in an alien war.

Rating: *** (Nostalgia and humour carries a strong female message in Captain Marvel)

Captain Marvel Trailer