Captain Marvel has been among the most anticipated film, alongside Avengers but for me, held more weight as it is the first one to have an exclusively female lead. As a fan of comic books, I know how many truly stellar female characters Marvel has on its shelves. While it has as a company, not always depicted women as well as it should, there were plenty of role models for me growing up. With today’s society engaging more with visual media, I felt it was important to have a strong female lead for a new generation and yet, we waited. Despite the wait, now that the film has arrived, it is singularly excellent and everything I could have hoped for, truly female driven with multiple women roles, not just as a lead but in supporting roles. Marvel has brought us a film that is empowering to women and I just hope they continue the trend.
Brie Larson stars in the title role as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. She is introduced to us as a Kree, lacking memories of her past and instructed by her mentor, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), who tells her to rule her emotions, this is how she will learn to control her powers. We also learn when she meets with the Supreme Intelligence that rules the Kree, that there is a galactic war between the Skrulls and the Kree. When Carol goes on a mission with Yon-Rogg and her team, she is ambushed by a Skrull, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and ends up on earth. She soon learns her memories aren’t as gone as she thought but in order for her to get answers, she must beat the Skrulls to a power core that can create faster than light airships. Along the way, she teams up with Nick Fury after he’s called in to investigate her crash. Once Carol finds her answers, she must learn to embrace her true self to control her full powers.
The storyline is exciting, full of twists and turns, and completely female driven. Carol is the driving force taking action in the movie, with Nick Fury along to support her on her quest. And when she does find her answers, they aren’t about a man but about who she is as a person and as a woman. There were definitely some moments that surprised me, especially being somewhat familiar with Carol Danvers from the comics but all of those surprises only made the story more engaging and more in line with promoting Carol as the hero of the film.
The dialogue is one of the elements that really stood out to me as part of the success of the film. As a character, Carol is charming, funny, and full of smack talk. Nick Fury gives as much as he gets and their dynamic is incredible. There are some poignant moments among the story and the serious dialogue is as good as the funny lines. Every moment between the characters makes them feel like real people who you quickly care about.
As for the characters, I don’t want to spoil their roles but suffice to say, there are plenty of female supporting characters, each as dynamic and as integral to the story as Carol. The chemistry between the actors is incredible. I found Carol to be fearless, indomitable and as a character, willing to risk it all to do the right thing when she learns the truth. Nick Fury is as awesome as usual and it’s great to see him in his origins with Shield and see more of him on camera as a character. But the character that stole the show for me is a cat that they find along the way, Goose. He is adorable, fans will love him and he is a key element to the film.
The action and music are among some of the best I’ve seen in a film. The music was paced well with the fight sequences and the key moments in the movie. It was killer music that made you want to sing along with it. The fight scenes were well choreographed and well executed, realistic and the special effects that go along with them are just fantastic. The effects that go into Carol’s powers are mind blowing and I enjoyed the visual elements quite well.
As I said, the characters are great but they wouldn’t be without the actors playing those parts. Brie Larson was charming, brilliant and brought a special energy to the role. Samuel L. Jackson was witty, engaging and had great comedic timing throughout. Ben Mendelsohn was talented and funny as Talos as well as being more complex than you initially realize. Annette Bening as the Supreme Intelligence is talented. All of the acting is skilled and without such beautiful performances, the film would just not work.
The film brings the best elements of female energy to the superhero genre and holds its own against similar films. It also uses Carol’s powers as a metaphor for women, showing how she appears to be powerful at the beginning as false. Once she embraces herself and stops holding back, we see how truly powerful she is, just as most women hold back themselves day by day. And at the end, she no longer seeks validation for herself but accepts her true power.
I could say there are some predictive elements but with some of the surprises, this is balanced across the film for me. If you love superhero movies and have been looking for a female role model in the genre, besides Wonder Woman, this is the film for you. It is comparable to Wonder Woman with some of the female ideas that it explores plus it is full of great action, awesome characters, funny and rich dialogue, and a kick-ass female in charge.
Rating: 5 stars.