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“Captain Marvel” Is Out Of This World, With An Inspirational Brie Larson

For all of the ways that Marvel and specifically their Marvel Cinematic Universe have led the way with superhero filmmaking, they’ve fallen short with diversity and representation. That goes for both in front of and behind the camera. That began to change last year with Black Panther and continues this week with the release of Captain Marvel. Lo and behold, both cases, in depicting heroes who don’t look like all the others, end up becoming top tier MCU efforts. This movie is exciting, funny, unique and weird, all in equal measure. Furthermore, it’s inspirational. This is one of 2019’s very best releases so far.

The film is an origin story for the MCU’s newest and most powerful hero. It’s also a period piece, set in the 1990s. When we meet Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), she’s already an intergalactic warrior, fighting with the Kree in their battle against the shapeshifting Skrulls. Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) urges her to keep her emotions under control, but Carol senses that she has a hidden past. Soon, events land her back on Earth, hunting down some of the shapeshifters. She comes into contact with a young agent in Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who will assist in helping her figure out just who and what she is. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck direct a screenplay they co-wrote with Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet. The rest of the cast includes Annette Bening, Gemma Chan, McKenna Grace, Clark Gregg, Djimon Hounsou, Lashana Lynch, Ben Mendelsohn, Lee Pace, Rune Temte, and more. Pinar Toprak composed the score, while the cinematography is by Ben Davis.

Brie Larson is an inspiration here. It’s rare to want to stand up and cheer in a superhero movie, where your protagonist is literally superhuman, but she brings that out in you. Boden and Fleck lean in to the science fiction aspects of the flick way more than expected, resulting in something rather odd at times. This is closer to a Guardians of the Galaxy outing than a Captain America one. The de-aging effect used on Gregg and especially on Jackson is remarkable, as are how deftly the 90s references are used. With a great soundtrack, a terrific Stan Lee cameo (as well as a Kevin Smith reference that warmed my heart), lots of humor, and a rousing climax, this is an unqualified success.

Captain Marvel feeds right in to Avengers: Endgame, though not in the way you might be expecting. It does, however, show just how strong Carol Danvers is and why Thanos is in for more than he can likely handle. More than anything, this is a showcase for girl power, finding strength within yourself, and forging your own path. Larson is perfectly cast too, turning in work that is above and beyond for the genre. You bond with Carol and her alter ego because of Larson’s work. Especially in the third act, you positive well up with joy at watching her come into her own and wield her full powers with ease.

This week, Marvel fans have a treat in store for them. Captain Marvel is definitely a top ten MCU outing, and potentially even a top five one. You’ll have to wait until the end of the week when I re-rank the Marvel Cinematic Universe to see exactly where it falls, but just know it’s a real good one. Ignore the internet trolls and make it your business to see this film. The movie more than sells itself, from Larson on down. Kevin Feige and company have another hit, unsurprisingly. Newcomers won’t be lost, but MCU diehards will be thrilled with the little details here. In fact, pretty much anyone who enjoys quality comic book cinema would do well to line up on Friday and enjoy Captain Marvel…

Be sure to check out Captain Marvel, in theaters everywhere this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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