‘Captain Marvel’ Movie Review: Marvel’s latest hero is no Wonder Woman, and that’s perfectly fine

*Minor Spoilers Ahead*

Marking the first female-led superhero film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Captain Marvel” officially debuts Brie Larson as Carol Danvers before she joins the rest of the franchise in next month’s “Avengers: Endgame”.

‘Captain Marvel’ Movie Review
‘Captain Marvel’ poster/Marvel Studios

Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the film takes fans back to 1995 offering an opportunity to learn what young Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) were up to while they were still S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives. Incorporating the Kree-Skrull war into its narrative, the film plays out as a unique origin story with Carol already equipped with her powers by the time it kicks off.

As the 21st entry in the MCU, “Captain Marvel” will be the final standalone film before the franchise 22-film arc wraps up in “Endgame”. As teased in the post-credit scene of “Avengers: Infinity War”, Danvers is positioned as the only hope of universe following Thanos (Josh Brolin) wiping out half of life in the universe. This only ramps up people’s excitement over the arrival of the newest hero.

‘Captain Marvel’ Movie Review
Brie Larson as Carol Danvers in ‘Captain Marvel’/Marvel Studios

Your long-overdue Marvel heroine

Being a period piece, Marvel Studios effectively explains why the MCU has not had a female headlining hero in its 10 years. Turns out, Carol wasn’t only the first, she also paved the way for the assembling of The Avengers. Without Fury’s encounter with her, The Avengers Initiative that the then-S.H.I.E.L.D. director was talking about in the iconic Iron Man post-credit scene wouldn’t even become a reality.

Mixing up the tried-and-tested origin story format, “Captain Marvel” uses a non-linear form of storytelling which worked well with Carol’s journey in discovering herself. It isn’t the strongest introduction in the MCU, especially with films like “Iron Man” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” that immediately sold audiences to Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. But with Larson fundamentally capturing the essence of the character, Marvel Studios can easily better sell the character once “Endgame” rolls out.

Stellar performance from the cast, Larson perfectly encapsulates the kind of woman Carol Danvers is - rowdy, care-free, but driven. Newbies Annette Bening and Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos stand out. Obviously, every MCU fan would take any excuse to see more of Fury and Coulson considering that they have been part of the franchise since day 1. Would’ve been nice to learn more about the Starforce and Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg, but with the way things panned out for him at the end, it’s possible he’ll return down the road.

No Wonder Woman...

Since both fits in the same sub-category when it comes to comic book movies, the comparison between Marvel’s “Captain Marvel” and DC’s “Wonder Woman” is inevitable. Admittedly, DC and Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman is better-crafted than its contemporary. The Gal Gadot-starrer has a tighter narrative with way better visuals. There’s no awe-inspiring speech from Carol and dramatic entrances. Carol doesn’t quite have the elegance of Diana’s fighting style, she’s reckless, snobbish and emotional - but that’s all okay. Because at the end of the day, she’s not an Amazonian Goddess.

Unlike Diana who’s born into the responsibility of protecting mankind, Carol was thrust in a difficult situation and she made do with the cards that she’s dealt with. And in hindsight, this is the most important lesson from the film. Carol’s resiliency got her through life, and she tapped on it again once she’s faced with the hard truth that she was robbed of her memories and abducted from her own home. If anything, this makes her more relatable because not everyone is dubbed “the chosen one” as Diana.

Both heroines’ existence, however, highlights the need for more female representation in media because women, although the same, have varied stories that need to be told. Young kids especially need to see more of this kind empowering films, and “Captain Marvel” is a great place to start.

‘Captain Marvel’ Movie Review
Brie Larson as Carol Danvers in ‘Captain Marvel’/Marvel Studios

Truth be told, “Captain Marvel” may be disappointing for fans who have this massive expectation of the film. Marvel Studios didn’t overly dramatize Carol Danvers’ narrative. Despite it supposedly being a cosmic adventure, the movie remained grounded for the most part which was important considering that it was trying to establish her origin story. However, now that her origins is out of the way, audiences can now look into the future and MCU’s just became a bit brighter with Captain Marvel in it.

As always, stay at the end for two post-credit scenes - both fit in the overall MCU lore and will help kick things off come “Endgame”.

RATING: 7.5 out of 10

— ALD, The Summit Express

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