Captain Marvel is yet another installment in the neverending Marvel Cinematic Universe. This time the audience is placed in a “retro” early 90s setting with Carol Danvers aka “Captain Marvel”, the super-powered heroine. Brie Larson has appeared before as this character but only in a minor role (Endgame). But now she is the front runner along with Sam Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, and Jude Law behind the direction and writing team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (they were the writer and director team for Half Nelson, Ryan Gosling's breakout film). Set as the origin of the female fighter, Danvers (Larson) and her supporting cast find themselves in the middle of an intergalactic war wherein Earth has become the unprepared battleground.
Refreshing Perspective: It is hard to discuss this film without acknowledging it is the first female lead/driven MCU installment. There are several issues with the film. Just like with Wonder Woman, the two share a lot of similarities. However, there is still something to be said for Brie Larson’s portrayal of the character and the voice she is attempting to give to the female side of superheroes in film. Of course, a lot of gratitude can be given to Scarlett Johansson who has paved this way over the last decade of her own work and involvement.
Larson, Law, Jackson, and Ben: The preceding list is in order of underwhelming performances. Larson tries so hard in the film to deliver a “tough and rough” persona and the directors simply did not know when to ask for another try at the scene. Carol Danvers feels unnatural and rigid from beginning to end. Jude Law, playing as the partner of Danvers, follows right in line with his stiff performance. This was certainly disappointing considering the talent Jude Law is known for in the past. But then the film begins to be saved. Sam Jackson delivers a pre-hardcore Nick Fury. And it is simply lovely. Young Fury is funny, naive, and the most human part of the film considering the narrative. Audiences can feel comforted that one of the most iconic characters in the MCU was not always the stubborn, rude, director of the Avenger initiative. Ben Mendelsohn was a pleasant surprise in Captain Marvel. He was written so well and keeps the audience guessing until the end. After what seemed to be some more restricted characters, Mendelsohn was given something truly unique and he ran with it.
Smaller Moments Over Big Moments: Essentially the main struggle with Captain Marvel is that Boden and Fleck made the small, what should have been inconsequential moments, so good and memorable that it is difficult to return to the narrative of the film. Each act of the film has a predictable sequence that oozes boredom. It is truly only saved by quick chuckles and the occasional nostalgic reference to the 1990s.