Captain Marvel (PG-13) ★★★

Brie Larson stars in “Captain Marvel.” Photo Credit: ©Marvel Studios 2019

Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel Serves as a Role Model for Female Empowerment

“Captain Marvel” stars Brie Larson, Academy Award winner (“Room” 2015), as Carol Danvers, the first female superhero from Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films—yes; it’s finally here with a terrific lead and an outstanding supporting cast. Both entertaining and messy at times, the popcorn flick had me at Larson’s first chuckle with a feisty Fury, not Nick Fury, nope (he demands to be called by a singular name) Fury, (Samuel L. Jackson). To be clear, Larson shines, as she’s made the independently strong character her own—serving as a role model to all young girls worldwide—however, the scenes between her and a younger eyepatch-less Fury are my favorite.

Samuel L. Jackson as Fury in “Captain Marvel.” Photo Credit: ©Marvel Studios 2019

The beginnings of the film take place on planet Hala, Danvers or Vers is dreaming of fighting (Yon-Rogg) Jude Law. He tells her “control your impulses,” as she trains with her commander. Her past remains a mystery; we know her genetic makeup has part Kree physiology, as her blood is blue. She possesses superhuman strength, while able to punch her hand though steel. Continually plagued with visions of an older woman (Annette Bening) the Supreme Intelligence, she’s invigorated by her words and charges forward to heighten her skills to battle the Skrulls, a shape-shifting intergalactic force.

Yon-Rogg and his Starforce team are ambushed by a well-armed group of Skrulls, he and Vers are kidnapped, their leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) taunts Vers. She’s strung upside down by cables, with electric currents pulsing through her brain in an attempt to extract key information via her memory. This scene is one example of why the film is rated PG-13, Vers is in agony, and the sight of her tied upside down while currents are zapped through her body are frightening. Through her own powers of strength, she manages to escape soon ending up on Earth with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Fury, she tells him of an alien species and the threat of invasion of earth. She also discovers she might not be a Kree warrior after all, but instead something or someone that is far more human. These discoveries do become a bit messy at times, making the film somewhat confusing. Despite the script flaws, the fact remains that Larson’s Captain Marvel is mesmerizing. On screen she radiates confidence, intelligence, and empathy; yes, it becomes clear she’s fighting for social justice.

With a main setting of the 90s, (“The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” is mentioned as the prime TV show), we view Larson as a young girl and later an Air Force test pilot. Through clever writing by directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, with the addition of Geneva Robertson-Dworet, we see Danvers actualization through her pilot friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and later Rambeau’s innocuous, sweet daughter Monica (Akira Akbar). Deliberate in purpose, these characters guide her to become the hero she is meant to be while adding depth to the back-story.

Also breaking new ground is the hiring of a woman composer, Pinar Toprak. During her audition, she conducted  a 70-piece orchestra to highlight the talents that garnered her the job. You’ll also recognize many 90s tunes in the catchy soundtrack, “Just a Girl” (1995) by No Doubt and “Come as You Are” by Nirvana (1992), to name a few.

Vers continues her quest for social justice that leads to several space battles that showcase eye-popping special effects, all while her ultimate powers are realized. Entertainment and empowerment are woven throughout the female action-centered film—indeed a satisfying time in the theater. See it at your local IMAX if possible and stay for the credits as you’ll see the setup for April’s “Captain Marvel: End Game.”

Bottom Line: Brie Larson proves she can handle the role of Captain Marvel and makes it her own.

Credits: Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck; Written by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet.

Cast: Brie Larson (Carol Danvers), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Jude Law (Yon-Rogg), Ben Mendelsohn (Talos), Djimon Hounsou (Korath), Lee Pace (Ronan), Lashana Lynch (Maria Rambeau), Gemma Chan (Minn-Erva), Annette Bening (Supreme Intelligence), Algenis Perez Soto (Att-Lass), Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson)

Studio: Marvel Studios

Running Time: 128 minutes

Sarah Knight Adamson© March 12, 2018