CAPTAIN MARVEL (directors/writers: Anna Boden/Ryan Fleck; screenwriter: Geneva Robertson-Dworet; cinematographer: Ben Davis; editors: Debbie Berman, Elliot Graham; music: Pinar Toprak; cast: Brie Larsen (Carol Danvers/Vers/Captain Marvel), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Ben Mendelsohn (Talos/Keller), Jude Law (Yon-Rogg), Djimon Hounsou (Korath), Lee Pace (Ronan), Lashana Lynch (Maria Rambeau), Akira Akbar (Monica Rambeau at 11), Gemma Chan (Minn-Erva), Annette Bening (Supreme Intelligence/Dr. Lawson), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Algenis Perez Soto (Att-Lass); Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Kevin Feige; Marvel Studios; 2019-3D)
“It’s a film that aims to show-off its girl power, and does so with mixed results.”Reviewed by Dennis SchwartzAnother nonsensical action-packed super-hero film about aliens, that looks like all the others, except it’s worth noting this was the first comic book published with a woman lead and the first Marvel film with one. The women co-directors and co-writers, regular collaborators, Anna Boden (“Sugar”/”Mississippi Grind”) and Ryan Fleck (“Sugar”/”Mississippi Grind”), inform us through their presence that from now on Hollywood will probably cast more women as actors in such pics and hire them as directors in their blockbuster money-making super-hero films. Otherwise, this message pro-women film is inconsequential, lacked a sufficient wit and one that I aesthetically disliked.Brie Larson plays the hardcore superhero warrior, with enormous supernatural powers from her heat producing fists that release proton blasts. She’s from the faraway galaxy with a humanoid population known as Kree and goes by the name Vers. She’s someone who lost her memory in battle but thereby gained her superpowers, and lives in the planet called Hala. In her back story we view her as a Kree warrior having bad dreams about her identity crisis and is getting some fighting lessons before her next mission from her mentor/trainer Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), whose advice is that emotion is the most dangerous attribute for a warrior and don’t always rely on fighting only with your hands. He orders her, in this A.I. system they are part of, to talk to the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening). She’s the woman haunting her dreams, who orders her to forget her bad dreams and do her job to help Kree in the war effort. Vers is thereby placed on a pod and mentally teleported to virtual reality realms for her next mission. On this mission things change radically for Vers when captured by the enemy Skrull leader called Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). The Skrulls are reptilian appearing shapeshifters. General Talos uses a device that restores some parts of her memory, making it more urgent for her to know more about herself. She thereby escapes captivity by punching a hole in the spaceship holding her and crash-lands on the ‘shithole’ called Earth in 1995 and goes through a Blockbuster Video store roof in a Los Angeles shopping mall. She meets in the parking lot the bad-ass S.H.I.E.L.D boss Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), wearing a digitalized CGI mask to show him as a young version of himself. Fury is the film’s comic relief, talking wise guy stuff. He soon learns about space girl’s mission and eventually teams up with her to stop the alien war from taking place on Earth. The drama now involves Vers taking time off when she is allowed by Fury to see her official archives and read her case file to discover her identity is Carol Danvers, nicknamed “Avenger”, who was part of a joint Air Force and NASA flight team that included Dr. Wendy Lawson (again Bening). She learns further that she was an American Air Force pilot named Carol Danvers who crashed. The escapist sci-fi epic fills us in with an ample supply of limited special effects, a spectacle weaker than most of the other superhero flicks, plot twists that keep things mostly more confusing, a rousing action galactic war scene at the climax that almost made the tedious film bearable, the annoying execution of the film where every move is met with unneeded lengthy explanations, and the offering of too much of a nostalgia trip down the memory lane of the period. What worked was a riveting background music score from the female Pinar Toprak and period songs like No Doubt’s “I’m Just a Girl.” It’s a film that aims to show-off its girl power, and does so with mixed results. For the ladies there’s the powerful moment when Carol or Vers actually becomes Captain Marvel, which lets us know women can be empowered to be superheroes like the men. The only thing is no one in the film calls her Captain Marvel.
REVIEWED ON 3/1/2019 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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