And so she’s back, from outta space and god damn if she don’t have that look upon her face. Yes, that’s right, it is finally here, the Marvel, female led, superhero movie we’ve all been anticipating, Captain Marvel.
It’s a rip-roaring, two-hours of technicolour fun that does everything it can to not only tell the story of Ms Marvel, but also fill in some gaps in the Avengers world and the great-big storyline within.
Brie Larson (“Kong: Skull Island“, “Free Fire“) plays our titular hero and does so with a gusto and fun that makes you like her from the off. She’s as confused as we are when we first meet her, believing she’s been saved by the Kree (you’ll remember them from Guardians Of The Galaxy), but having flashbacks to a time she isn’t too sure about.
Her mentor through this time, teaching her to control her powers that the Kree say they have given her, is Yon-Rogg, Jude Law (“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald“, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”).
After she escapes, she ends up falling to Earth, in the nineties, landing in a Blockbuster store and meeting a de-aged Nick Fury, Samuel L. Jackson (“Glass“, “Incredibles 2“), and Agent Coulson, Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV)”, “The West Wing (TV)”).
Now, Earth is slap-bang in the middle of a battle between two alien races and Captain Marvel is beginning to remember who she is and, perhaps more importantly, who she isn’t.
When considering who to give the keys to for this Marvel film of firsts, the producers didn’t decide on some gigantic name, but rather chose two, relatively unknown, directors with short back catalogues.
Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (both of whom also had a hand in the script) have directed “Half Nelson” and “Mississippi Grind” together before. Where they succeed is on the smaller pieces, the intimate moments of the film, such as when Carol Danvers (Larson) is getting reacquainted with her old friend Maria, Lashana Lynch (“Brotherhood”, “Bulletproof (TV)”).
However, this is a Marvel film and these moments are in the minority, particularly when you have a main character who can fly and kick-ass. It’s the latter where the two directors struggle the most. You miss great swathes of fight scenes, particularly hand-to-hand combat scenes, because the camera is all over the shop, pointing anywhere but at the action.
Elements of the story, and some of the directing, owe a great big nod to James Gunn and the Guardians movies. Which is ironic given the sh*tty way Disney have treated him.
This, perhaps, isn’t a surprise given one of the other writers involved was Nicole Perlman, writer of “Guardians Of The Galaxy” (there was also: Meg LeFauve (“Good Dinosaur“, “Inside Out”) and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (“Tomb Raider“)). In particular watch for the Groot-esq moment, this time from a ginger cat that’s not a cat.
The story isn’t anything special, in fact you’d say it’s verging on formulaic these days which, hopefully, isn’t a sign that Marvel are running out of steam. But the movie doesn’t have the laid-back comedy of Waititi’s Ragnarok nor does it have the fun and adventure of Gunn’s Guardians and it’s not dark either.
Captain Marvel sits somewhere in the middle of, well, everything really. It’s fine, it’s nice, but it’s a tad bland as well. Perhaps we’re just getting used to all this now and want something more. This, sadly, isn’t it.
What did stand out from the movie, beside the remarkably young Jackson, is that Nick Fury warrants a back-story all of his own, something more than the side-story he is reduced to in this, particularly when you have an actor of Jackson’s presence and ability playing him.