The wait is over! Disney/Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel (aka “Sparklefists” for all you comic fans) has officially crash-landed into a theatre near you! On International Women’s Day, no less! How fitting, considering this is the first MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) superhero movie starring a female lead. Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson (Room) explodes onto the scene as the titular character Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers aka Vers, but she also, unfortunately, underwhelms from time to time.  

Life’s complicated when you’re a Kree (a technologically advanced militaristic alien race native to the planet Hala), but even an inter-galactic identity crisis won’t stop Captain Marvel from becoming the highest grossing film of 2019 (so far). It’s already surpassed DC’s Batman v Superman at the box office, but DC plans to fight back with the release of Shazam! early next month. It’s a battle Captain Marvel is determined to win, but only time will tell. 

Until then, the latest high-flying Avenger is here to make a lasting impression; Captain Marvel swirls 90’s Grunge and “Girl Power!” nostalgia with classic MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Star Wars narratives/visuals to present a bad-ass, bubble gum, Sci-Fi/Action movie. Pop! goes Carol Danvers! It’s an empowering joyride, and there are some great nods to the music of the decade (Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, No Doubt, Garbage, NIN, Hole and more) which all grace the film’s soundtrack, the characters’ wardrobe (band tees), and movie sets (concert posters, VHS tapes, etc). And to top it all off, stores of the era – like Blockbuster and Radio Shack – make memorable appearances acting as hilarious punchlines during an unexpectedly slow and rattled first act.

As the movie progressed, I nearly forgot about Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald), who plays a Kree named Yon-Rogg. While he’s on screen, he basically plays himself, and I forgive him because he’s so damn beautiful, but while his character is complicated and shrew, his performance is…simple. Underused, if you will. Annette Benning (American Beauty) as Mar-Vell, Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy) as Korath, and Lashana Lynch (TV’s Bulletproof) as Maria (Carol Danvers’ best friend) are also underused, but they managed to stand out in their respective performances compared to Jude Law.

Ben Mendelsohn (Ready Player One) as Talos, Goose the (literal) Cat, and  Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers: Infinity War, Glass) as Nick Fury, on the other hand, are all marvellous in this movie! Jackson arguably helps carry the entire film and the reverse-aging visual effects that make him look decades younger are seamless! The make-up and VFX, in general, are top notch, and every blast, spacecraft and green Skrull alien is crafted to the point of perfection. It’s truly incredible; Captain Marvel is the future!

Now, Brie Larson unequivocally has pivotal moments as Carol Danvers, and any lacklustre elements regarding her “non-emotional” performance were most likely directed. As I mentioned, the Kree are aliens, and without any real knowledge of how humans emote on Earth, how can they possibly exude the same mannerisms or characteristics? Even still, there’s a slight sense of disconnection on Larson’s part, but she does manage to click with the audience once her character taps into the more dramatic or heartwarming scenes of the film. Larson is an Academy Award-winner, after all.

Captain Marvel also boasts some jaw-dropping twists and blindsiding turns, which indefinitely shake up the plot. And while they deviate from the comics, they don’t disappoint whatsoever. The story starts off choppy, but everything comes together in the second and third act, and up until Captain Marvel encompasses her full powers (which will blow you away) there’s something very charming about her girl-next-door-with-an-attitude persona. I was left wanting so much more!

This is the very first major motion picture from directors/screenwriters Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, and their ability to thrust this 2h 5m movie into the MCU is remarkable. Not only is Captain Marvel a fresh new part of the universe, but this movie also marks the beginning of the much anticipated “Phase 4,” which means the fate of “The Trinity” – Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downy Jr. as Iron Man, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor – is uncertain after Avengers: End Game is released on April 26, in which the Carol Danvers’ star is about to shine brightly!

Overall, the unnecessary boycotts (over Brie Larson’s misunderstood statements about feminism) and targeted bad reviews are only going to help Captain Marvel smash through the restrictions her otherwise toxic male fanbase have put on her. With a touching memorial in the opening credits and a cameo to remember (is that the Mallrats script?!), Captain Marvel has the seal of approval by the late, great comic legend himself, Stan Lee. And while Carol Danvers may be”Just A Girl,” she has undoubtedly solidified her role as the Avengers’ cosmic can of whoop ass!

“Higher. Further. Faster.”

3.5 Popcorn Kernels / 5

TIP: Watch this in IMAX! The VFX are worth seeing on a giant screen! And stay to the end for not one but two end credit scenes (the first ties into Avengers: End Game and the second will make you laugh.) 

About the Author

Joey Viola is the Co-Founder of MoJo Toronto and an LGBTQ community leader who utilizes his passion and flair for the art of writing by bringing a fresh perspective in reviewing entertainment and advocating for equality, tolerance, and social/political justice.