‘Doubt makes you vulnerable’ – Captain Marvel (Film Review)

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Last year, after the veritable trauma created by watching Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel used their follow-up film, Ant-Man and the Wasp, as a metaphorical sorbet. A palate cleanser of sorts. The film was lighthearted,  favouring the entertainment factor after the intensity of it’s predecessor. And it worked, quietly amping us up for April 24th 2019 and the release of Avengers: Endgame. Now Captain Marvel is here to build that tension back-up again, but just enough to get us excited whilst leaving us craving for more. And what a film they give us in the form of Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie.

Brie Larson does an excellent job in the lead role, as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, who is probably best described as being in possession of the wise-cracking of Star Lord, the impulsivity of Thor, the deadpan of Ironman, the goodness of Captain American and the general kick-assery of Black Widow. She’s yet to have a a fully rounded and unique personality, yet. There’s definitely room for it to grow and, as can be seen with the developing characterisation of Thor (look at 2011’s Thor then compare to 2017’s Ragnarock and 2018’s Infinity War). Often it feels like we are told more about her than shown, *many* characters inform both us and Carol how great/noble/brilliant she is. We just don’t see it all that often, yet.

We first meet her when she is a member of an elite Kree army, being mentored by Yon-Rogg (an extremely excellent Jude Law) whose prevailing advice to her is to ‘not let your emotions override your judgement’. Things happen, during which we find out how she got there in the first place. The film initially takes a different approach to telling her origin story, it’s unique but there’s a strong chance younger viewers may get a bit confused as the story-telling at this point is slightly convoluted.

After this section the film then transitions to a by-numbers action movie; all of these aspects are soldily good and very enjoyable. But the film has flickers of greatness, most of which are when the film takes on the form of buddy comedy with Larson paired with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. Jackson and Brie have a hilarious rapport, it’s during these moments the film really feels fresh and it’s own movie. To quote any of these scenes would be giving the game away. Ben Mendelsohn is also reliably brilliant, he too has some cracking stand-out moments. Another key aspect of the film are the friendship scenes between Carol and her best friend Maria (a charismatic Lashana Lynch). Their friendship is a lovely one and something that would be enjoyable to watch explored further.

Accompanied with an excellent 90s soundtrack, the end result is a solid origin story that is entertaining and good fun.

4/5 stars

Captain Marvel is in UK cinemas from Friday 8th March.