Sunday, March 10, 2019

Movie Review: Captain Marvel

If it was opening day for a super-hero movie, then you know I was there.

I saw Marvel's new film, "Captain Marvel" on Friday night. Oddly, the theater with the RPX screening--i.e., bigger screen, bigger chairs, bigger sound, and bigger price--was not full. Not by a long shot.

But the people who were there were die-hard fans. How did I know? When the "Marvel Studios" logo was run and instead of showing all the heroes in all the movies...they showed all the Stan Lee cameos with a simple "Thank you Stan" right after it. I'll admit, I got emotional. But the fans in the theater clapped and cheered. I did, too.

I know next to nothing about any of the various Captain Marvel characters. The only thing I know for sure is the original (?) one, the one named Mar-Vel, died in 1981 or so...and has stayed dead. I always admired that about Marvel Comics.

So, going into this movie, I was a super-hero fan but I was going to be shown something new. And I loved it. The movie starts in space, on a planet called Hala. Brie Larsen is a character named Vers (pronounced Veers). She's part of StarForce, and her mission is to extract one of their own from the vile, green-skinned, shape-shifting Skrulls.

Naturally, things go awry.

She's captured by the lead Skrull, Talos (played wonderfully by Ben Mendelsohn) and her memories are tapped. She escapes and lands in Los Angeles 1995. Now we get a fun fish-out-of-water story with Vers being all earnest in her mission, never telling a lie, teamed up with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury early in his career.

And the results are pretty darn hilarious.

The odd pairing makes for a standard buddy movie where each character has to learn about the other. We get some backstory on Vers--real name Carol Danvers--meet some people in her past, and have lots and lots of things that'll make those of us who lived through the 1990s smile and point and laugh.

As I mentioned, Mendelsohn is under make-up for most of the film, but his acting chops really shine through. There are more than a few moments when you really see his talent no matter the prosthetic. Larsen is an actress I cannot say I've seen in anything else. But she is charming in her own way. She knows what she's doing is right and she's set on completing the mission. When she faces things that counteract what she knows, she has to confront them.

And, most importantly, she's having a blast being a super-hero. So refreshing.

Jackson plays Jackson so you know what you're going to get. Nothing wrong with that.

Stan Lee's cameo is so, so wonderful because, for the first time, he's actually playing himself. That he's reading the script for Kevin Smith's "Mallrats" movie now makes the professional fan/podcaster/writer/director part of the Marvel cinematic universe. I suspect he's beyond thrilled.

Captain Marvel is a fun movie with way more humor than I expected, lots of great super-hero/space battles. It seems the movies of Summer 2019 now start in March.


realestateDAD said...

We watched it yesterday and really had fun. Some of our family of 5 felt it got off to a slow start but where all happy by the end.

Scott D. Parker said...

Agreed. My boy was, to his own admission, a tad bored in the first bit, but grew to love it by the time the film was over.