Going into this movie I didn’t know really what to expect from this movie. I know very little of Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers and what knowledge I do, wasn’t much. When that much is basically Civil War 2 (which no reader new or old should EVER endure to read) and X-Men (during her “Binary” phase and the Savage Land arc where Rogue and the part of Carol within her duke it out until Magneto decides to play “mediator”).
Add-in the fact I fully confess I wasn’t fond of Marvel Comic’s push of the character which I blame more at how much their Inhuman one. That one came very much at the expense of the X-Men was what turned me off from actually buying Marvel Comics for awhile. Regardless of what, nothing I had known gave me a true understanding of this character. So when I went into this movie, it was with new eyes. What I saw I loved.
Carol is basically the “Terminator” at the beginning of this movie (there are numerous tips of the hat, but the best was the nice homage to T2 with Carol taking some clothes off a silver mannequin and take a cocky biker’s ride). She is nothing more than a Kree soldier who has been born/bred being told to not to give into emotions. I find it almost humorous the whole controversy of some complaining on why actor Brie Larson wasn’t smiling in the trailers cause right out this movie gives us the reason. And seeing Larson’s Danvers begin to develop cracks in that programming until the very end. You can tell Larson is having the time of her life in this role.
Speaking of someone who’s having all sorts of fun in their role is Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull general Telos. Now here’s an actor who’s been basically been cast the last few years in big budget films as a sleazy bad guy and plays the roles with gusto. We get that same gusto here but we get some spectacular stuff with this character. In fact, the Skrulls in general are given a bit of a overhaul in this movie that I enjoy. It’s also amusing how the character basically encompasses all forms of the Marvel Cinematic films. Starting as a one-note bad guy (Phase 1), before getting some real dimension (as per Phase 2), until the end where you get some nice pathos for the character that’ll leave a mark with you (Phase 3).
Likewise Jude Law‘s Yong-Rogg, Carol’s Kree mentor. Which I have to say after almost eleven years of film, I’m glad we’re so finally getting more into the Kree Empire. With what’s introduced in this film with the Kree. I hope we so get more of a look into this Empire in future films as we had here. Because like Thanos himself, the empire has only been hinted at in the universe and seeing the expanded role of it here makes me want to see where it is currently.
Of course the real scene-stealer besides a young Nick Fury (Sam Jackson like everyone in the cast appearing to all sorts of fun) is of course Goose. With all the hype, I expected this darn cat to hog a good section, but it was perfectly planted throughout the movie and all the glorious payoff to it.
That’s the biggest strength of this film. The movie just loves to play with the various Phases the Marvel movies. You get the standard heroic origin fare done in the past ala Phase One. You have the mental side of digging into hero’s head that were the hallmark of Phase Two. Then you have the final act, which delivers the gut punch Phase Three films have had.
If there are flaws to the movie in being locked into the past of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Because the nitpicker in me will be, “But that’s not how that was originally.” S.H.I.E.L.D. was formed aka the joke in the original Iron Man (2008) and how it so wasn’t used here at all here. I mean come on! It was right there to be had and they didn’t go for it?! But again that’s just a minor nitpick the fan in me screaming for perfect continuity.
The other more straightforward is basically, the Starforce team Carol was in, save for Yong-Rogg, Minn-Erva, and Korath (only because we know he’ll show up in Guardians of the Galaxy) get the only characterization of the group. The other two members are just forgettable and you don’t really get anything else with them in the third act of the film. I get why, but there was a few moments in the climax they push that button but don’t go too far with it. I feel like they should had and the film could have been even better for it. Unlike say, Agent Coulsen’s (Clark Gregg) inclusion which felt more nod to the prior movies, but unlike the Starforce I get that. His little scenes did work perfectly.
Also after the amazing climax, the movie kind of does pull a Lord of the Rings: Return of the King where it doesn’t know where it wants to end. It almost feels like the writers thought of one ending before thinking, “nah let’s end it like this!” And this is sort of thing we got. Which is amazing because other than the ending, the pacing in the film is perfect.
Overall, I’d range Captain Marvel close to the top tier but just missing that polish. It was so close, but it just missed that extra. I’d probably list it above Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man movies, the Thor movies, Incredible Hulk, and the Iron Man sequels. Just because the heart of this film just makes them better than those. Captain Marvel is an amazing starting point for the character and I can foresee some great things ahead. And to quote a movie-goer as the film ended: “SEE YA NEXT MONTH!”
4 out of 5