After the success and acclaim of 2017’s Wonder Woman, it was only a matter of time before the Marvel Cinematic Universe countered the DC Universe with its own female-led superhero movie. Released in conjunction with International Women’s Day, the origin story of Carol Danvers aka “Captain Marvel” is trouncing the box office and winning the hearts of men, women and children.
Captain Marvel hits all the right notes while never failing to entertain. A large part of this success can be attributed to the writing/directing duo of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the creative team known for such indie films as Half Nelson (which garnered an Oscar nomination for Ryan Gosling in 2007). They bring a humanity to the story that makes it broadly appealing and current, a spirit that the actors then further elevate.
Oscar winner Brie Larson (Room) is our titular character, though the moniker is never once uttered in the film. Uncovering her complicated background, whether as a human or a member of the alien Kree race, she encounters many of the misogynistic tropes that anyone lacking a Y chromosome has experienced in life — especially “mansplaining” and gaslighting. Carol responds throughout with sassy one-liners and a spitfire manner, but as her memories return and her truth revealed, she becomes the best version of herself — strong, smart, kind, just and completely comfortable in her own skin.
Larson is supported by a terrific cast, including Jude Law, Annette Benning and Ben Mendelsohn, but it’s a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson as the beloved S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Nick Fury with whom she shares the most screen time. Amid a mid-’90s backdrop, well before the eye-patched Fury appears in the 2008 story of Iron Man, the pair have great chemistry, and Jackson is, as always, a total delight.
Captain Marvel benefits from a tight ensemble, a sense of nostalgia, a crackling script and a scene-stealing orange tabby cat named Goose. Unlike many of the DC films, the MCU infuses a lot of humor in its stories and never takes itself too seriously. Captain Marvel is a welcome addition to the Avengers series and will appeal to devotees and newbies alike.