During a mission for Starforce, Kree warrior 'Vers' (Brie Larson) tracks a group of Skrulls - lead by Talos (Ben Medelsohn) - to Earth circa 1995. There she discovers that they are searching for a hidden device, one that could tip the balance of the war between these two races in the Skrulls' favour. But does 'Vers' have more of a connection to this planet than she first realised? The only person willing to help her find out is a young Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Directing team Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck deliver an origin story for what is considered to be the most powerful hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; Carol Danvers - A.K.A. 'Vers', A.K.A. Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). But in order to do it, they have thrown the Marvel Guide to Origin Stories right out the window. When we first meet 'Vers', she already has her powers and no memory of her life before gaining them. Which means the audience gets to discover who she is along with her. Brie Larson was the perfect choice to play this complicated hero, she brings strength and passion to the role, and at the same time, a vulnerability. 'Vers' is still trying to figure out who she is, to understand her power and control it, something she covers with impressive fighting skills and cocky bravado. Helping her on her journey is Nick Fury (a perfectly de-aged Samuel L. Jackson). It's interesting to learn a little about the mysterious spy and former head of S.H.I.E.L.D. prior to a time when he's used to seeing the peculiar. The pair also have perfect banter, making this inter-galactic road trip movie (of sorts) a lot of fun. Watch out for their travel companion too, Goose the cat (or is he?), he's a real scene-stealer.
This unique approach to an origin story does result in some interesting pacing during the first act, but it serves to keep the audience guessing. The story twists and turns a fair bit, but it's certainly never boring, and believe me, the payoff is well worth it. For when she realises her true potential, Captain Marvel more than lives up to the movie's tagline; "Higher. Further. Faster." Movies in the MCU have always been at the forefront in terms of CGI, and Captain Marvel is no exception. From Danvers' powers to the Skrulls and their ability to shape shift, everything looks spectacular. The latter also gives the movie a sense of paranoia, as at times it's difficult to know who's who. It certainly gives Ben Mendelsohn the chance to do something a bit different with Talos - a much more multi-layered character than many of the ones we've seen our heroes go up against.
It is a shame to say then, that some of the secondary characters are more than a little underserved. Clark Gregg's fleeting appearances were disappointing to say the least, especially given that he was someone I was very excited to see make a return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Starforce were also given little to do, this includes Gemma Chan and Djimon Hounsou, both of whom were limited to a few - albeit perfectly choreographed - fight scenes. Jude Law's Yon-Rogg leads the Starforce, he also acts as mentor to 'Vers' and is the only team member - bar 'Vers' - to feature heavily throughout. Law is very convincing as this dedicated military leader, it's also interesting to note that we now have two sets of Holmes and Watson in the MCU.
But the thing that's truly awesome is that the MCU finally has a female hero headlining one of its movies. Not only that, Captain Marvel is the first movie to have a female director, and is filled with tough, relatable female characters. The relationship between Danvers and Lashana Lynch's Maria Rambeau is particularly touching, seeing these two friends who supported each other through thick and thin - at a time when there wasn't much support for women in military roles - reunited is powerful to say the least. Rambeau, who provides Danvers with a link to her past could have been there purely for exposition, but she is so much more than that. It helps that Larson and Lynch have great chemistry, and when you throw Akira Akbar into the mix as Maria's daughter, Monica they are also a lot of fun to be around. This trio are more than just friends, they are a family - it's a cliché but it's true. If there is to be a Captain Marvel 2, I hope the Rambeaus will be a part of it, because if not, I feel they will leave a void that's impossible to fill.
Captain Marvel is a hilarious, action-packed adventure in keeping with the MCU's finest entries. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have set Marvel fans up perfectly for Avengers: Endgame with their introduction to one of Marvel's most powerful heroes. We are now ready to see them rise up together against Thanos. But Boden and Fleck have also set the stage for more solo adventures with Carol Danvers and her friends, and given what a massive success their first foray into big blockbuster movies has been, I can't wait to see them do it again! I mean, who says the snap was the first time Nick Fury used that pager?
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