Captain Marvel (2019)

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck direct Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn in this superhero origins story set in space and 1990s Earth where a former airforce test pilot discovers truths about herself while on an intergalactic mission.

Captain Marvel is a perfectly acceptable one-watcher. Bright, silly, star driven. The good stuff is at the forefront. Brie Larson has a laconic dry wit in the exposition scenes and a heroic relaxed manner during the action. There was a moment early on, during a spaceship escape, where a close-up of Brie blowing her hair out of her face reminded me of the “another day at the office” cool Harrison Ford brought to his set pieces in his Lucasfilm franchises while all hell broke loose around him. That’s a nice movie star achievement to unlock. She also has wonderful chemistry with Samuel L Jackson (their one-on-one scenes are the highlight of the blockbuster). 95% percent of this has the pre-programmed look and plotting of a Marvel factory line hit, depressing but it works. There are flashback moments that are unusually explored. Memories are fast-forwarded through, skipped past, rewinded and changed angles on in a dazzling bit of storytelling early on. Giving us the audience glimpses of character building blocks while allowing the filmmakers to not just go through the motions establishing the backstory. It might be too experimental a sequence for a lightweight family film, but the playfulness is noted. There are fine laughs made out of the 1990s period setting plus a good soundtrack too, going for less obvious indie sounds of the decade. What stops Captain Marvel from matching Wonder Woman or Spider-Man: Homecoming as a superior origins flick is the action is unambitious and/or low level. A quickie subway train brawl, an elongated lurk around an installation basement, interstellar shoot-outs where the actors and creatives clearly clock out for the day and the effects boys take over. It is all kinda meh. We want to see Captain Marvel save the universe, best her opressers and betrayers… the second unit approach these sequences with all enthusiasm of a pantomime dame in late January. “Panto season is over, are we still making this, darling?!” Shame, as this lazy roteness holds back an otherwise solid entertainment.


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