The Movie Guru: Brie Larson fantastic in perfect ‘Captain Marvel’
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language.
Screenplay by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet.
Story by: Nicole Perlman, Meg LeFauve, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet.
Directed by: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg, Rune Temte, Gemma Chan, Algenis Perez Soto, Djimon Hounsou and more.
Grade: Four stars.
There’s a lot riding on “Captain Marvel.”
Not only is it the first female-led movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s the lead-up to this year’s universe-breaking “Avengers: Endgame” and the one character potentially powerful enough to one-punch Thanos in the face. It’s also the introduction of a storyline that’s been a major part of the Marvel Comics Universe for decades, one that could possibly shape the entire cinematic universe going forward. If it’s not a good movie, a lot could suffer.
Thankfully, “Captain Marvel” isn’t just a good movie. It’s a fantastic one.
A thrilling superhero origin story that serves as a surprising prequel to the entire MCU, the movie manages to deliver on every front. It’s got plenty of adventure, emotional backstory, laughs, witty banter, nail-biting danger and deeper thematic meaning, all wrapped up in killer visuals and enough 1990s references to warm anyone’s heart. Add a wonderful performance by Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, and you have a superhero movie worth watching over and over again.
Nick Fury Backstory
The movie starts out as something of a mystery, with Carol Danvers trying to find out more about her past. Any plot spoilers here would ruin one of the most beautifully constructed movies the MCU has put out yet, but I will say that there’s an important reason it’s set in the ’90s. This is the Nick Fury backstory we never knew we needed, a delightful look at his past as an agent and the all-important explanation for how he became the one-eyed architect of the Avengers.
Jackson is as fantastic as he always is in the role, and he clearly delights in playing a version of his iconic character that doesn’t have quite so much baggage. His easy chemistry with Larson is absolutely delightful, and now I yearn for nothing more than to see these two team up and save the world all over again.
Fearless and Unapologetic
As it should be, though, “Captain Marvel” is really Carol Danvers’ story. Larson is masterful in the role — as fearless and unapologetic as Danvers herself would be. She uses a fantastic sense of humor to full advantage, but is just as talented when dealing with some of the weightier fallout of her story. This is exactly the kind of superhero little girls should be able to look up to.
I can’t say much more about the plot, except to say that you won’t be disappointed. It has several strokes of genius, from casting to thematic implications to the treatment of the comics’ canon. Even better: the trailers have spoiled absolutely none of the movie’s best scenes.
In the end, however, the most important commentary on “Captain Marvel” came from a gentleman who was at the screening I attended. After two hours of watching Danvers wipe the floor with the alien invaders, he offered an elated prediction of the ending of the upcoming “Endgame” — “Thanos don’t stand no chance.”
Now that I’ve watched “Captain Marvel,” I have to say I agree with him.
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.