Captain Marvel Review
Captain Marvel (2019)
Dir: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck | Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Brie Larson, Gemma Chan, Samuel L. Jackson | Writers: Anna Boden (screenplay by), Anna Boden (story by), Geneva Robertson-Dworet (screenplay by), Geneva Robertson-Dworet (story by), Meg LeFauve (story by), Nicole Perlman (story by), Ryan Fleck (screenplay by), Ryan Fleck (story by)
Vers (Brie Larson) is a Kree and belongs to her people's Starforce, a military unit battling a war against the shapeshifting Skrulls. Vers who suffers from memory loss possesses great power and has been trained by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) to harness her abilities while her world's leader - an A.I. known as Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening) - sporadically appears to her and talks about a past Vers cannot remember.
During a rescue mission that goes wrong, Vers is kidnapped and her mind mined for information. As she manages to escape, Vers fights against her Skrull captors before crash-landing on Earth, in 1990s Los Angeles. There, she meets S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who get caught up in the war between Skrulls and Kree. As Vers begins to piece her past together, she comes to find out who she actually is, and what she should be fighting for.
Captain Marvel is one of Marvel’s lower key entries and all the better for it. It’s an origin story for Carol Danvers as well as providing some history to Nick Fury. It works a lot better in this respect for Fury than it does Marvel, as we haven't gotten to know the Danvers character up to this point, but it is a solid entry into the MCU nonetheless. The film starts off slowly, with 'Vers' already embedded among the Kree, with the story picking up following her crash landing on Earth (right smack into a Blockbuster no less).
Here we get to learn more of the mysterious woman and who she really is especially during her interactions with Fury, and the many fight scenes throughout the film. It does have its quieter moments too and does interesting things with its villains similar to the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. Captain Marvel contains a great central performance from Larson, with good support from Jackson as Fury (a character I really dislike in all of his other Marvel appearances) and, in particular, Ben Mendelsohn who steals every scene he is in, and is a joy to watch throughout. Being 90s set, however, means more of the Disney de-ageing going on. It works surprisingly well for Jackson but less so for poor Agent Coulson who looks a little odd, especially near the end. But let’s face it, Danvers' feline friend Goose is the standout.
While Captain Marvel is not going to change the face of Marvel, not with this film and certainly not with her appearance in Avengers: Endgame, I am hoping that the studio continue to develop and mine this character moving forward. This is the kind of film that improves on second viewing, packs quite a lot of emotion into its running time and builds momentum especially at its midpoint and final third, making it feel more than just a mere superhero film.
The Blu-ray is typical Disney Marvel which means a decent picture quality but underwhelming sound and poor extras which are the usual EPK style short fluff pieces. It’s a shame that their 4K releases are 2K upscales, however, they do have the added bonus of Dolby Atmos, something the other releases do not. It does have have one ace up its sleeve though the 3D version of the Blu-ray, for all us 3D fans that still exist. I was disappointed that the Flerken tentacles didn’t fly out of the screen but it’s nice that they haven’t given up on 3D in the UK just yet.
I watched this film with two even more discerning critics of Marvel films, my kids. My youngest's reactions were emotional and exciting, they can't wait to see more of Carol Danvers, Talos and (a lot more of) Goose moving forward. So, Marvel your real audience is this next generation of filmgoers - don't let them down.
Intro (1080p, 1:51) - This seems to be a thing with Marvel releases, but rather than an actual introduction, it feels more like a mini EPK compilation. Co-Writers/Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck talk about the film, the character, and the FX which then leads into the film itself. Becoming a Super Hero (1080p, 6:40) - Larson talks about playing Captain Marvel and the flight and fight training she underwent. Big Hero Moment (1080p, 3:31): A look at the character of Captain Marvel. The Origin of Nick Fury (1080p, 3:33) - We are led through Fury's involvement in the film and that of the MCU.
The Dream Team (1080p, 2:44) - Directors Boden and Fleck take centre stage. The Skrulls and the Kree (1080p, 3:31) - We are introduced to the battling aliens, and how they may differ from the comics. Hiss-Sterical Cat-Titude (1080p, 3:23) - An odd 90s set 4x4 aspect ratio featurette on the film's feline star, Goose. Why they did it like this? I don't know.
Deleted Scenes (1080p, 8:47) - The following excised scenes "Who Do You Admire Above All Others?; Starforce Recruits; Heading to Torfa; 'What, No Smile?;' Black Box; and Rookie Mistake. Gag Reel (1080p, 2:02) - Lots of fake cats, and dancing. Audio Commentary - Writers/Directors Boden and Fleck explore their film in more detail and typically talk scenes, performances, inspirations and more.
Captain Marvel is out now on DVD, Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray and 4K UHD.