Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law
Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Running Time: 124 mins
Captain Marvel is an American film and the twenty-first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When the Earth finds itself in the middle of an intergalactic conflict, Carol Danvers rises to the occasion as she becomes the hero to defend the Earth and fight for justice.
In an era where Marvel continue to reinvent their tried-and-tested superhero formula, it’s really nice to see a movie like Captain Marvel that takes everything back to basics, and refines the pure superhero origin story to near perfection.
As such, I had huge fun with Captain Marvel, thanks to its story-driven blockbuster entertainment, great humour, exciting action sequences and top-notch performances across the board. It’s not Marvel’s most original or most striking film, but it is certainly their most pure, and that’s what made this such an entertaining watch for me.
Now, if you’ve been following the MCU over the last 11 years, you’ll have sat through no less than eight origin stories (count them), meaning that all of the options for making the same formula feel fresh again and again have been thus far pretty much exhausted.
However, while Marvel and more broadly superhero films in general continue to branch out to different genres to keep superhero fatigue at bay, Captain Marvel takes a bold decision to go back to basics, with a simple yet perfectly-executed origin story, as we see Captain Marvel arrive on Earth from another planet, before doing all she can to save the planet as well as those in need.
In effect, the premise isn’t all too far from the core idea of Superman, but this is the first movie which has pulled off that classic story in such deliriously entertaining fashion in a very long time (Man Of Steel certainly didn’t). As such, while Captain Marvel is far more Marvel’s most innovative film, it is without a doubt one of their most purely entertaining, and stands as a soldi benchmark for what an entertaining, crowd-pleasing superhero movie should be.
Of course, that’s not to say that Captain Marvel is a totally generic and predictable piece, as it takes from Marvel’s decade of experience in crafting its own identity, while still delivering that classic story in such enjoyable fashion, with a wealth of delightful winks and nods to all things MCU, and excellent humour right the way through.
The humour here isn’t on the wacky level of Thor: Ragnarok or Guardians Of The Galaxy, yet nor is it as serious as the likes of Black Panther or Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Instead, Captain Marvel hits a great sweet spot in which you’re laughing and smiling throughout, yet still invested enough in the story to find entertainment away from the jokes.
That’s thanks to a screenplay that prioritises good story and character development throughout, while peppering the excitement with humour and great action. As a result, it may not be a film that surprises or shocks with its twists throughout, but it is one that takes you on a rollercoaster of blockbuster excitement, with an immensely entertaining and action-packed opening act, a riveting middle portion, and then a triumphant finale that all make up one fantastic superhero extravaganza.
Away from the action and story, the performances are also great fun across the board. Above all, Brie Larson is hugely likable as Captain Marvel, Samuel L. Jackson is great to see in his younger guise as Nick Fury again, and the two carrying off great chemistry throughout that makes their adventure together a whole lot of fun from beginning to end.
And finally, there are all the little things that only Marvel have the capability to throw about without distracting from the core action. As a result, all of the callbacks to past events in the MCU offers up an opportunity for a brain-teasing quiz of all your knowledge of Phase One and Two (although those who haven’t seen any of those films may be a little lost at times), while the film’s wealth of 90s nostalgia – from the pagers to the kicking soundtrack – is a delightful cherry on top, leaving me smiling from ear to ear at almost every moment throughout.
As I said, Captain Marvel isn’t the most original or innovative superhero film you’ll ever see, but with a classic story that’s executed almost perfectly throughout, coupled with the might of Marvel’s immense experience in the business, there are few comic book movies out there that will give you as purely entertaining a watch as this one, and that’s why I’m giving Captain Marvel an 8.0 overall.