“Captain Marvel” is the long-awaited (and much critiqued) addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). After being revealed in the end credits scene of “Avengers: Infinity War,” the titular character became a source of contention among Marvel fans; some fans speculated whether the film was the correct move for the franchise, while others were joyous that a Marvel film would be female-led for the first time. With a strong, three-dimensional protagonist and talented supporting cast, plenty of funny witticisms, excellent visual effects and great action sequences, Marvel produced a film that would satisfy any die-hard fan or casual viewer.
Captain Marvel’s (Brie Larson) first encounter with Earth is when she crashes into a Blockbuster in 1995. Although the time period fades from attention as the action revs up, the film doesn’t miss the chance to poke fun at the slow technology of Windows 95 or emphasize the fashion choices of the era. As a member of the Kree (which she describes as a race of “noble warrior heroes”), Captain Marvel is inherently strong. But Marvel enhances her characterization through flashbacks and interactions to ensure that Captain Marvel’s tragic origin story and three-dimensionality are on full display. She is bold, rebellious, a bit cocky, but she’s also funny, sweet and loyal (not unlike another hero, Tony Stark). Larson’s performance and the dialogue make her characterization feel natural, especially in her interactions with other characters, such as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and her best friend, Maria Rambeau.
In the 1990s, Fury is far from the tough leader of the first Avengers film — he’s a slightly awkward, low-ranking, cheerful member of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s office division. He provides light comic relief, but Jackson’s comedic abilities shine brighter when he shares the screen. As a team, Captain Marvel and Fury fill the time with fun banter and intense action sequences. The CGI in the action sequences is a bit much, as sometimes the scene seems more on par with video game graphics than a live-action flick. Overall, however, the editing makes for a visually impressive watch, especially when it was used to spice up action-less scenes. The soundtrack, like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” is full of throwbacks that make the action sequences infinitely more interesting than just placing them against intense instrumentals.
Rambeau has an intense emotional exchange with Captain Marvel that’ll have the audience fighting back tears. As a character central to Captain Marvel’s origin story, Rambeau ensures that she is more than just a playful warrior. Together, the two are a dynamic duo that establish undertones of empowerment that add a layer of complexity and relevance to the film. That’s where Marvel’s secret lies — it has found the perfect balance between action, comedy, and drama. So far, Marvel’s flawless execution of this formula and unique characters has prevented this formula from feeling repetitive.
“Captain Marvel” is packed with details that add to the MCU, but also pay homage to it. It includes a bittersweet cameo and tribute to iconic creator Stan Lee as a thanks to the man behind the comic book. It continues the long-standing tradition of the mid- and end credits scene, which is sure to excite even the most casual fan for the upcoming “Avengers: Endgame.”
With outstanding performances from the cast, playful banter and visually striking edits, “Captain Marvel” lives up to the high expectations that exist for every Marvel film.
Verdict: Whether you need a break from studying or are looking for a way to celebrate Women’s History Month, “Captain Marvel” is a must watch for Marvel fans and casual watchers alike.