Danvers Takes A New Flight: Captain Marvel
Carol Danvers has a bit of an identity crisis. She lives on a planet with Krees, but she doesn't recall how she arrived there. She is involved, however, in an ongoing conflict with the Skrulls, who are known for shape shifting. She starts to develop a different perspective, though, in Captain Marvel. Danvers (Brie Larson) goes on a mission with other Krees as a part of Starforce, including her handler, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), who has been tasked to control her super powers. In their efforts to kill some Skrulls, Vers, as Carol is known on the Kree planet, gets captured by the Skrulls and subject to a memory probe. She, however, overpowers her captors, but the Skrull craft crashes with Danvers still aboard.
She has landed in Los Angeles, but finds a way to get a hold of Yon-Rogg. Her crash, though, gets the attention of SHIELD agents, including Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who starts to question Vers. Before getting to safety, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) trusts Fury's judgment, fully aware of the pursuit for her. Per Fury's boss, Keller (Ben Mendelsohn), he is assigned to protect Vers. She also has a memory crystal with her, courtesy of the Skrull probe. Once accessed, Vers starts to remember the circumstances that brought her to the Kree planet. Danvers has served in the Air Force, and was assigned to fly an experimental plane by her superior, Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening), who also designed the craft and accompanied its pilot. This plane, designed to travel at the speed of light, crash landed on the Kree planet. Ensuing incidents led to Lawson's death and Danvers's empowerment, which the Kree encouraged her to control. The crystal also leads Danvers and Fury to Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), Danver's closest Air Force friend, now living in Louisiana. She confirms key details about Danvers's life. The Skrulls and Starforce also arrive to continue their skirmish and for Starforce to retrieve their fighter.
Captain Marvel is set primarily in 1995, and is a fine origin story not only for Danvers, but also for Fury and Coulson, who work together for the first time. This also marks the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film since Captain America: The First Avenger that's not primarily set in the present day. Once away from Yon-Rogg and the Supreme Intelligence that rules the Krees, Vers learns the part of her identity that she had lost. She also learns why the Kree want to keep restrictions on the force she can use. The direction comes from the team of Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, whose best known film prior to this might be their 2010 effort It's Kind Of A Funny Story. They also had a hand in writing the screenplay, which is filled with action, as well as some twists where some characters have more than one identity. They also connect Carol to the events in the current MCU during the closing credits. Some of the action has a nice sense of humor, especially in the scenes involving Goose, a creature who looks like a house cat - but not completely. The storytelling is not exceptional, but certainly remains consistent with the previous entries in this series. The final sequence, involving Goose, is the funniest closing of an MCU film since The Avengers.
Larson, who has gravitated toward action roles these days, is another welcome addition to the MCU as Danvers, a pilot filled with Kree knowledge relearning to be a fighter in her own right. Because so much of Danvers's past had been lost to her, the Kree used that loss to their advantage. The aftermath of Starforce's initial battle with the Skrulls, she starts to regain the memories she'd lost, and finds she has a much greater potential than the Kree cared to let her know. A digitally de-aged Jackson also does well as Fury, a veteran military man taking on a whole new mission. He shows how no-nonsense he is as he gets to the bottom of Carol's past, and some hidden truths about her old mentor. I also enjoyed Bening, Law, Gregg, and Mendelsohn in smaller supporting roles. Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, and Chris Evans have a cameo appearance where they meet the Captain in the present day. Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou make another appearance as Ronan the Accuser and Korath, respectively. These actors also played those roles in Guardians Of The Galaxy. Stan Lee has a cameo as a commuter on a train Danvers boards.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has, since 2008, provided a series of movies that keep winning the box office and garnering critical acclaim. Their connection to one another has, slowly but surely, become obvious. Captain Marvel adds another engaging chapter to this saga. Carol Danvers has found a place among the Kree, but that acceptance comes with ulterior motives. A separation from fellow Kree Starforce troops uncovers these motives, and sets her on a new path. A long time ago, Carol experienced many a stumble and fall. Every time, though, she returned to her feet, determined to be stronger than she'd been previously.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Captain Marvel 3.5 stars. Oh, Captain!
Captain Marvel trailer
© 2019 Pat Mills