The first cinematic release after veteran comic book writer Stan Lee’s death back in November 2018, Captain Marvel attempts to capture the heroic gestures of its central female protagonist, but doesn’t quite manage to get there.
Brie Larson is the film’s heroine, Carol “Vers” Danvers, fighting alongside the Kree civilisation against shape-shifting antagonists named Skrulls. We see her bleeding blue blood, amidst a collection of memories on a dusty landscape, as she awakes from a dream. While Vers practises fighting with Yonn-Rogg (Jude Law), we discover she has been provided power by Supreme Beings. The protagonist is advised to keep her feelings and emotions in check – perhaps a nod to the way ordinary women are treated in the real world – and struggles with her past memories.
At the epicentre of the feature are Vers’s flashbacks, while she attempts to uncover who she really is. Amidst the memories are recollections of pilot Dr Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening), who built the light-speed engine, which harnesses the Tesseract energy, providing ultimate power. The amnesiac-ridden soldier lands on Planet C53 – aka Earth – in the 90s, where we see grunge band posters; additionally the music supervisor seems to have had a field day giving us everything from Nirvana’s Come As You Are and Garbage’s Only Happy When it Rains, to the powerful single by No Doubt, I’m Just a Girl. The audience are humoured with throwbacks to a vintage era of dial-up internet and computer games. Crash-landing on Earth, Vers is confronted by Agent of Shield Nick Fury (a highlight performance by Samuel L Jackson) who assists her to track Dr Lawson.
Captain Marvel’s release on International Women’s Day is a nice idea, though the feature is generic in its formula, involving repetitive scenes and predictable one liners. Despite this, the film can also be used as a lesson for our times, with the Skrulls fighting for their home in a refugee crisis – chief Skrull Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) states, “There are thousands of us separated from each other” – while Jackson’s Fury and a surprisingly funny appearance of a cat manage to keep the audience amused for the duration, alongside Larson’s portrayal of the first Marvel female superhero to dominate the screen.
Captain Marvel is released nationwide and in IMAX cinemas on 8th March 2019.
Watch the trailer for Captain Marvel here: