It’s fine. It’s nothing to get too excited about, but it’s fine.
Much the same can be said for most Marvel films of late; if this had been the first or even the tenth then it might have been that much more interesting. Still above average by Marvel fare but by no means very different save, of course, the significance of the lead casting, our roughly tri-annual dose of KPI-enthused fun is here.
Serving masters beyond it’s immediate canvas, Captain Marvel has to reckon with both the big-screen behemoths of years past and those oh so quickly on their way. The not so sly allusions to the rest of the gang are as conspicuous as the predictable CGI armies and familiarly-styled origin story for here Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). Further talented actors (Annette Benning, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law) pick up their paycheck and enjoy the thrill, like the audience, of turning their brain off for a bit.
A much publicized ‘de-aged’ Samuel L. Jackson (reteaming with his Kong: Skull Island co-star) joins the fray; the technology proving a lot less distracting than originally anticipated.
Larson is great, as always, leaning into a comic role and unleashing her dramatic bona fides as plot turns so require. Ever-relatable and welcomely so, she pointedly bypasses the indestructible, glamour-ridden aesthetic characteristic of Evans’ earlier Captain America and Chris Hemsworth’s initial outings as Thor. For a figure as powerful as Danvers Larson imbues her with an endearing humanism and likeability through something as simple as say briskly puffing her hair out of her face during a fight.
Bereft with 90s nostalgia, because the 90s are apparently now retro, the painstaking loading of a CD or the well-timed blasting of a True Lies cut-out are among several wry touches. A very obvious music choice courtesy of No Doubt, symbolism aside, would nonetheless have been handled better with the likes of another hit to better match the rhythm of the scene.
Concluding with a showdown that thankfully did not have, for once, entire worlds in the imminent balance, it’s remarkably more memorable than most Marvel finales. The same can be said for a key and enjoyably anticlimactic, much-teased revelation surrounding one of Nick Fury’s most recognisable traits.
A well-worn sci-fi beat characterises a revelation about the legion of bad guys that at least in the context of the MCU conversely offers a novel approach. Captain Marvel doesn’t give us much new or to be too excited about, but what it does right this assured piece of popcorn filmmaking does well indeed.
Captain Marvel is in cinemas now