Following the traumatic and devastating events of last years Avengers: Infinity War, Captain Marvel finally arrives on our screens with huge expectation, anticipation and excitement. As Nick Fury was reduced to dust in the final moments of Infinity War, along with half of all living things in the universe, we saw that he’d just managed to send out an SOS message. The recipient of that message was revealed to be Captain Marvel, so far absent from the cinematic universe but labelled outside of it as “Marvel’s biggest female hero”, and “quite possibly Marvel’s mightiest Avenger”. With mad Titan Thanos still on the loose, and half of all life to restore, there’s clearly a great deal resting on her shoulders. Thankfully we’ll get to see how that all plays out in just over a month when Endgame hits our cinemas, but in the meantime we need to get up to speed on the origins of Captain Marvel.
But this isn’t your standard origin story. When we first join Captain Marvel, or Vers as she is currently known, she is already part of the Kree Starforce, fighting alongside her mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) as they take on shape-shifting enemies, the Skrulls. She already has a considerable amount of power, although she has no memory of how exactly she came about it, or of any kind of life preceding it. Following an early morning bit of fight training, with Yon-Rogg urging her to try and control her emotions and her power, it’s straight into the action as the Starforce team are sent out on an important field mission. Things don’t quite go according to plan though, and when they’re ambushed by a group of Skrulls, Vers is kidnapped by Skrull commander Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and taken to their ship for interrogation.
The interrogation has a kind of Total Recall effect on Vers – unlocking memories of her life as a child, growing up with friends, military training and more. She manages to mount an escape, fleeing the ship and crash landing on planet C-53 (or as we know it, Earth), along with a bunch of Skrulls. She lands in the middle of a Blockbuster video store, with the Skrulls landing on a nearby beach and assuming the shape of some surfing humans in order to blend in with the locals. It’s not long before the dramatic arrival has drawn the attention of a couple of SHIELD agents by the name of Fury and Coulson, both looking a lot younger than we’re used to, due to the fact that we’re in 1995. The de-ageing effect, used sparingly but impressively in previous Marvel movies is simply incredible here, given that it is being relied upon for the entire movie in order to make the young Nick Fury believable. And it totally works too.
Up until this point in the movie, I felt that it was all just a little bit bland. We don’t really get much time to get acquainted with our hero, or the alien world she inhabits, and the space-team-field-mission elements have all been done previously, and much better, in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Coincidentally, Ronan and Korath who star in those movies both appear early on in Captain Marvel, providing some nice backstory for them and a link to the rest of the cinematic universe. It’s only when Vers arrives on Earth, and teams up with Nick Fury in order to stop the Skrull invasion, that the movie really finds its footing, becoming a great deal more interesting and enjoyable. Things really lighten up too, accompanied by a great 90s soundtrack and giving off a cool 90s buddy cop movie vibe. It’s also great to see Nick Fury acting much less serious and having a lot more to do than in previous Marvel movies. As for Vers, we finally begin to learn a lot more about her too as she begins to piece together her forgotten history and learn more about her life on Earth as Carol Danvers.
The movie is made all the more fun by a couple of very good additional characters. Ben Mendelsohn is outstanding as Talos, providing just the right combination of menace and humour. Special mention also for Goose the cat, who joins Danvers and Fury on their journey. Although, if you’re familiar with the comics (where she is known as Chewie), you’ll know that there’s more to her that meets the eye and she literally manages to steal every single scene she’s in, providing some of the movie’s laugh out loud and surprising moments.
The final third of the movie is where things really kick in though with Carol Danvers unlocking her full potential, despite being repeatedly told throughout life that she’s too emotional and too weak; unleashing hell in an epic, breathtaking and extremely satisfying space battle. With just over a month to go until the release of Endgame, Thanos had better be scared. He’s not going to know what hit him!