[SPOILER-FREE] Captain Marvel Review: A Perfect Blend of Top Gun and the Best of the Superhero Genre
Captain Marvel masterfully blends high concept science fiction with a kick-ass female superhero that is a perfect blend of Superman and Top Gun.
Directors: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Summary: Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.
Captain Marvel feels like a movie that some fans have been waiting a lifetime to see. Before Wonder Woman came in and kicked the door down, the solo female superhero genre was rightfully mocked. With Wonder Woman paving the way, Captain Marvel is here to take her place among the best of the best for the entire genre. There are moments in Captain Marvel, even more so in the third act, during which everything comes together so perfectly that it brings tears to your eyes. Much in the same way audiences cried during the no man's land scene in Wonder Woman, the entire third act of Captain Marvel will move people to tears.
The movie takes liberties with the comic lore that it is based on to try to streamline the process for new fans. While there are plenty of callbacks to the original comics, this is a different origin story for Carol. In fact it's a different origin story altogether; when we meet Carol she has her powers and while she isn't perfect she has decent control. The movie is about Carol finding out who she is and where she came from. Star Brie Larson reminds everyone that she won an Academy Award for a reason and her Carol Danvers is empathetic, badass, and so perfectly flawed. We so rarely get to see women make mistakes or be snarky, but there Carol is on screen doing her best and still messing up.
It helps that she has some great supporting players to back her up. Samuel L. Jackson plays a great version of a younger Nick Fury. It's weird and fun to see the guy we know from the Avengers completely smitten with a cat. Lashana Lynch has immediate screen presence and she becomes something of the heart of the movie by the end. She is a badass, and it's great to see a woman like her on screen. Jude Law, Gemma Chan, and the rest of the Starforce group are clearly having a lot of fun playing the alien version of the A-Team. Annette Bening plays the Supreme Intelligence with the arrogance that one would expect with a name like that. Finally, Ben Mendelsohn does something really interesting with Talos, but to get into it would be a spoiler.
That's not to say that the movie is perfect. The first act is pretty weak and the movie takes a little while to get going. It never gets boring, but the structure of this movie is a little odd. It picks up once Carol makes it to Earth but there are some serious stumbles along the way. It's not enough to break the movie but it is enough to make you a little nervous going in. If you find the beginning dragging a little, know that it doesn't last very long and the third act more than makes up for it.
One of the things that Wonder Woman so powerful for women, in particular, was the lack of the male gaze. It really felt like a woman telling a woman's story and this very much rings true for Captain Marvel as well. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck share the heavy load of this movie between them and once again we get a woman being strong on screen without anyone sexualizing her. It's refreshing, because it really is so rare that we get to see that on the big screen. The '90s callback soundtrack is a lot of fun while the score by Pinar Toprak feels genuinely epic and fitting for the movie hand.
Captain Marvel has kind of a rough start in the beginning but once the movie hits the ground running it never stops and ends with one hell of a bang. Be sure to stay through the credits for two post-credits scenes and get ready to welcome this awesome woman to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Higher, Further, Faster.