Sunday 10 March 2019

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel

It seems that Marvel Studios have finally hit their stride. After so many films that struggled to balance sincerity and humour - leaning too heavily on the latter - with Black Panther they finally created a film that was both meaningful and entertaining. The key? Diversity.

That continues with the latest release, Captain Marvel. This is the first Marvel film with a female lead. It's a film that features a badass woman kicking ass. It's a film where the woman doesn't have a romantic counterpart. She is, instead, powerful on her own terms.

That's not to say the narrative is perfectly told. We're thrown straight in at the beginning, with warring inter-galactic factions, a protagonist with amnesia, and snippets of characters and information that don't altogether make sense. It's enough to be intrigued, but it relies on stereotypical and convenient sci-fi tropes.

From there, the middle section flatlines as our heroine crash lands unexpectedly on Earth. Though she is human, she is essentially an alien on the planet as she hunts down apparently evil shapeshifters. There's eye-rolling humour in the misunderstandings between her and the humans, and the pace plods as secret bases are uncovered and twists of mistaken identity are piled on top of one another. While Brie Larson's soon-to-be-known-as Captain Marvel is a character we care and root for, the overarching plot is unclear and meandering.

Where it does succeed is in its placement within the Marvel universe. The events of Captain Marvel take place prior to the rest of the series, so there's plenty of fun to be had seeing Samuel L. Jackson's young bumbling Nick Fury amongst the other agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and the film's climax sets up the whole Avengers plotline. It also allows for some fun 90s nostalgia, not only in the setting and costumes but a great grunge soundtrack.

The plot might be a clich├ęd affair, but really we watch Marvel films for some high-octane popcorn entertainment. Captain Marvel delivers. There's humour here based not on bathos but actual jokes - a welcome change - and Larson's sardonic performance is full of energy. Sure, her character arc of finding her true power is predictable, but when she does unleash her potential it results in some awesome action sequences and a huge amount of fun.

It culminates in a battle against multiple enemies soundtracked by No Doubt's 'I'm Just A Girl', representing everything that's great about this film in one scene. Like D.C.'s Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel proves that women are just as awe-inspiring as any other superhero.


Watch: Captain Marvel is out now.