Want to know what happened after Thanos’ devastating snap which wiped out half the universe’s population in Avengers: Infinity War? Well, you’ll need to wait a while longer, as we now interrupt your regularly scheduled Marvel Cinematic Universe program to bring you this intermission about arguably the MCU’s most powerful superhero.
Yes, according to Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige, Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson) is even more powerful than Thor or Hulk. And you know what? She really does deserve that title, and the best part is that it’s not just her powers that make her strong (and what powers those are).
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Here’s what you need to know about the story first.
After a touching Marvel Studios opening title that replaces all the usual superheroes with scenes of the late Stan Lee’s cameos, we are transported directly to Hala, capital city of the Kree homeworld. The Kree is a race of “noble warrior heroes” at war with the shape-shifting Skrulls. When we first get to know Carol, she’s known as as Vers, a member of Starforce, an elite Kree fighting force led by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). She has no memory of her past, beyond some flashbacks she gets in her dreams.
When a mission goes awry, she is captured by Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn ) and eventually ends up on 1990s-era Earth. There, she meets a young Nick Fury (a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson), and they team up to stop the Skrulls from getting their hands on a piece of technology that could turn the tide of the Kree-Skrull war.
As far as origin story go, credit has to be given to directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (and co-screenwriter Geneva Robertson-Dworet) for producing one that manages to break away from the usual superhero origin story mould.
Unlike many origin stories, where we are made to wait (often impatiently) for the superhero to eventually get his or her powers, there’s no mundane, powerless Carol in the beginning (which is a relief, considering how long she takes to become Captain Marvel in the comics). Here, she arrives fully formed (well, almost) as a kickass warrior, with the ability to shoot photon pulses from her hands, and how she got her powers is fed to us in drips through flashbacks.
Despite early misgivings I had about Larson as Captain Marvel, the Oscar winner actually manages to win me over with a likeable, confident performance that is more than good enough to convince us that she could be the MCU’s most powerful hero. After watching this (and the two post-credit scenes), you can really get a sense of why it’s been said that she will be a real game-changer in Avengers: Endgame.
This is as much an origin story for Fury (“Everyone calls me Fury”) as it is for Carol, and it is a true pleasure to see Jackson finally get more screentime in an MCU movie to really let loose. His banter and chemistry with Larson would make for a pretty decent buddy road trip movie on its own, without the superheroics, and we also get to see just how Fury was like before he became the grizzly Director of SHIELD (he doesn’t even have his eyepatch yet ).
This being Marvel’s first movie with a solo female lead, it’s inevitable that it will be compared to DC’s Wonder Woman. And when pondering this question, I started asking myself, “Which movie would I take my daughter to watch?”. While I maintain that both movies are great in their own way, I eventually decided that I would probably take her to Captain Marvel over Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman was, well, wonderful in its own right, and probably set the benchmark for female-led superhero movies. But there was always a sense that it was a movie about a FEMALE superhero, whereas with Captain Marvel, you accept that she’s a superhero, female or otherwise. It’s the sort of empowering statement that I would like my daughter to learn, in the hope that it would inspire her to go higher, further and faster. And that would be something quite marvellous indeed.
Directors: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law.