Badass girl?– check
Samuel L. Jackson? – check
Young Samuel L. Jackson? – check
Young Samuel L. Jackson swearing at some point in the film? – check!
Cat? – CHECK!
Given the above-mentioned checklist of requirements being fulfilled and a spoiler-filled weekend thanks to friends who saw the movie before I did, I still went in because why not? Marvel has mostly had a good track record of putting out entertaining content, despite sticking to a central formulaic plot structure – and Captain Marvel is the latest entry to reaffirm that the formula still works.
The film tells the origin story of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a member of the elite Kree military Starforce. Her mentor Yon-Rogg trains her to control her emotions and powers but Danvers tries to understand the meaning behind her fragmented memory and dreams of a former life on a distant planet. When a mission goes awry, Danvers finds herself in the custody of the shapeshifting Skrulls who try to extract her memories in order to find something called the “Source”. Escaping her bonds, Danvers is pursued by Talos (Ben Mendehlson)– leader of the Skrulls to C-53, to an all too familiar 90s Los Angeles where she crash lands in a Blockbuster video store and soon befriends a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
The unlikely duo soon team up and give rise to some of the best banter in an MCU movie. Danvers soon figures out her past as a USAF pilot who was presumed dead after a mission on a powered craft went wrong. The figure she sees in her dreams, played by Annette Benning turns out to be a certain Dr. Lawson whose philosophy about not fighting wars but rather, ending them influences Danvers’ character and gives her reasons to shift her motives later on in the movie after a specific plot-twist.
Rounding off the cast are Lashana Lynch, who plays Maria Rambeau – longtime friend and fellow pilot colleague of Danvers who gives her a much-needed speech at one point in the film that boosts our heroine’s confidence. Clark Gregg returns as a young Phil Coulson, newly hired into S.H.I.E.L.D and Reggie the cat as Goose, who basically steals every furry scene he is in. The buddy comedy aspect of the film is highly praiseworthy, Fury’s chemistry with Goose is even stronger than that with Danvers. Goose makes the film a must-watch for any cat lover and I personally believe the popularity of ginger felines is going to skyrocket pretty soon.
The film does a pretty decent job of humanizing probably the most powerful superhero in the MCU. We learn about Danvers’ past at the same rate that she does and the most powerful sequence in the film is the one where we see her failings and repeated attempts at rising up, a much-needed message in times like ours where success isn’t always the most important thing but the unending diligence and courage. We finally get to see the character who could take on Thanos alone in Endgame at the full range of her powers (damn that Binary Mode sequence where she scares the hell out of Ronan!)
The film pays homage to the legendary Stan Lee in its opening sequence and answers a few long- standing questions like “how did the Avengers get their team name?” and more importantly “How did Fury lose that eye?” *Wink*
In short, Captain Marvel is the first female-led MCU superhero movie that subverts expectations and nails the 90s tale of self discovery while setting us up for the grander battle that will cap the MCU’s decade long Infinity storyline later this year.
Courtesy of Akash SK