The long-awaited first female-led Marvel film is here, and Captain Marvel is certainly worth the wait. Carol Danvers’ origin, and powers, may seem like one of the harder stories to believe, yet it is one of the most authentic, realistic stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. The writing allows Carol and her powers to seem natural and will get you emotionally hooked quickly. Captain Marvel works brilliantly as a stand-alone film and a connector to the rest of the MCU that acts as a bow on top of the past eleven years of films.
Whether you are a Marvel fan or not, Captain Marvel is for everyone. One of the better storytelling tools in the film is its ability to satisfy existing fans while being a wonderful entry point to the franchise for first-timers. It does help if you have seen the earlier MCU films, including Guardians of the Galaxy, and watch ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to the returning characters and a big surprise in the last act of the film. However, the film also explains who everyone is and doesn’t expect you to have prior knowledge of the MCU. Everything is explained in a way that doesn’t seem gimmicky to fans and will satisfy the new viewers’ questions.
Carol Danvers’ (Brie Larson) origin tale is also perfect for all ages and genders. Captain Marvel is the story of a woman coming to terms with her past, present, and future, who uses her strengths to become the hero she is meant to be. Carol is snarky, sassy, brash, sarcastic, and never apologetic for doing what she thinks is right. Larson commands the screen at all times and gives a great performance. She humanizes the character is a way that lets Carol be very relatable.
The character is a perfect example of female empowerment. This film couldn’t have come out at a better time and will give women of all ages someone to look up to for many years to come. Carol’s journey is similar way to Stephen Strange’s in Doctor Strange, as she has to earn the full potential of her photon-based powers. The film slowly builds anticipation for Carol finding her inner potential, and the moment that she finally embraces herself and her powers is amazing. Her abilities are pretty spectacular, and I found myself with my mouth hanging open as she shows off the full extent of her powers for the first time. She may be the most powerful being in all of the MCU’s galaxies.
Larson is the focal point of the film and keeps the audience entertained from start to finish. She does a great job going head-to-head with Samuel L. Jackson (as Nick Fury), Ben Mendelsohn (as Skrull leader Talos), and Jude Law (Kree soldier Yon-Rogg). She keeps these great actors on their toes in every scene and never lets the focus get pulled away from Carol. Jackson is as good as ever as a younger Fury (the film takes place in 1995), who helps add the signature Marvel charm and humor with the help of scene-stealing Goose the cat. It was also nice to see Mendelsohn take a break from his typical super serious style and show a softer, more comedic side. The entire ensemble does a great job of both acting and supporting Larson.
Without spoiling anything, Captain Marvel has a few surprise turns, along with some predictable ones. The film connects to the greater MCU in unexpected ways and may have started to show what part of Marvel’s Phase 4 might look like story-wise. There are plenty of characters in this film that could easily return and have a future in the MCU, like young Monica (Akira Akbar). Seeing the titular character come into her own and take control of any situation thrown at her is a wonderful ride, made even better by being Marvel’s first non-sexualized on-screen female character. It is clear that Carol is a huge part of the MCU’s future. Start embracing her now because Captain Marvel will be going higher, further, faster for years to come.
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