Be prepared for a movie that isn’t a normal Marvel origin story.
It’s set in the mid 1990’s and we get to find out the actual start of the Avengers, how they got that name, Nick Fury’s history, childhood and even his middle name. It answers a few questions you didn’t know you wanted to ask.
The film begins with the usual Marvel logo made of a collage of images. This time, though, they’re all of Stan Lee’s cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After that is a single line. “Thank you Stan Lee”, and the theater erupted in applause. It was a wonderful start to the first MCU movie since his passing. There’s even a Stan Lee cameo during the movie, which had a slight CGI feel.
The story begins with Vers, the title character played by Brie Larson, in a whirlwind of earth and fire. She sees an older woman, a crashed plane, and an alien raising a weapon. She wakes in her bed on the Kree Capital, Hala. The dreams are common, but she can never remember her past beyond 6 years ago. She trains as a Kree warrior under her superior, Yon-Rogg, played by Jude Law. During sparring, he berates her use of emotions. Telling her that “Anger only serves the enemy.”
On her first ever mission, she goes with Yon-Rogg’s crew to rescue a spy from the mortal enemy, The Skrull, a species of shapeshifters who are the other side of the ongoing war. With the battle cry of “For the Good of All Kree!” they go off to rescue one of their own. Vers is suddenly compromised, as has parts of her missing memories come flooding back to her, showing her flashes of a very different life.
When she finds herself on planet C53, the Terran Homeworld, she meets with Nick Fury, played by Samuel L Jackson, who suddenly finds himself a believer in extraterrestrial life. The 90’s nostalgia runs thick and fast, with Blockbuster video, Radio Shack, ultra slow internet dialup, and a fantastic 90s soundtrack that fits right in. Vers learns her real name is Carol Danvers, and as her memories return, so does the truth.
We see several characters and items that will be very familiar to those who have watched all the Marvel movies, including from Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Goose the ginger cat will definitely wiggle his way into your heart. He was in the previews with Fury, and a certain plane takeoff provides a lot of humour with a cat and g-forces.
Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg and Lee Pace round out a fantastic cast. It’s well paced, with 90’s music that firmly sets the sense of time and place.
Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg both get the CGI fountain of youth treatment, and it works well enough that you just don’t think about it. The rest of the visual effects are almost a bit over the top during some fight scenes, where it’s difficult to keep track of who is doing what to whom, but most are just amazing to watch on the big screen. Like every other Marvel film, this is meant to be re-watched on Blu-Ray or home video on a smaller screen where it’s easier to absorb, so it’s not so much of a problem as that might seem.
Movies are a mirror of ourselves. They tell the stories we want to hear. The one we want to hear right now, most of all, is how the roles thrust upon us aren’t always the ones that define us. Carol Danvers is on a vision quest, and becomes most powerful when she comes to full knowledge of who she is. That’s a message that resonates.
By the way, when you’re in the theater watching, stay for the credits, because there are two cut scenes. one at the start of the credits, and one at the very end. One references next month’s Avengers: Endgame, and needs to be watched.
Come soar with Captain Marvel. It’s a must see, and now Endgame looks even more exciting.