‘Captain Marvel’ (12A) reviewed

❉ Is the MCU’s newest hero a Marvel? Our reviewer Ben Peyton parties like it’s 1995.

Opening in Hala, one of many technologically advanced planets, a war is raging between the warrior-hero Krees and the shapeshifting Skrulls. The Skrulls seem to be invading as many worlds as possible with the Krees attempting to keep the peace and stop them by any means necessary.

After a rescue mission goes wrong, Kree soldier, Ver (Brie Larson), finds herself on Earth desperately seeking a company called Pegasus and one of their doctors, Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening). Lawson has developed Light-Speed technology which the Skrulls will do anything to get their grubby mitts on. Ver sets out to find it first and along the way uncovers the truth about who she really is.

Set primarily in 1995, but utilising flashbacks to fill us in on Ver’s history, collaborative directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck create some exciting set pieces and successfully introduce an enjoyable pre-Avengers film, but try a little too hard to make it as funny as those we’ve seen before. The script doesn’t have the assured confidence of previous Marvel films and whilst there are some comical moments, many fall flat and are just plain awkward.

Brie Larson does an excellent job as the Captain looking assured in the fights and delivering the comedy well, but she doesn’t have too much to sink her teeth into. Her emotions and expressions regularly go from confusion to realisation to acceptance in the blink of an eye and this is repeated several times over as she comes to terms with her situation.

Jude Law flexes his considerable muscles and showcases his action credentials with style as Yon-Rogg, a seasoned Kree warrior, in a role that deserved more screen time and Ben Mendelsohn hams it up and steals scenes as only Ben Mendelsohn can. Samuel L. Jackson goes through the motions as Nick Fury, but has fun exploring the origins of his character.

The rest of the supporting cast all do their jobs well enough and there’s a nostalgic 1990’s soundtrack including the likes of Nirvana, No Doubt and R.E.M. with Pindar Toprak’s energetic score accompanying the action.

The problem that’s been created by this film is that they’ve made Captain Marvel far too powerful and she appears virtually indestructible. It’s similar to the Superman problem in Justice League. Superman saves the day without the help of any of the others, subsequently making the idea of a team redundant and that’s pretty much what happens here. It’ll be interesting to see how directors the Russo brothers use Carol Danvers in Avengers: Endgame and what her Achilles heel will be because, after the evidence of this outing, she could slap that big, bad baddy Thanos down with ease all by herself.

Captain Marvel is a solid superhero film and entertaining in places, particularly the last thirty minutes, but not up to the exceptionally high standard of the majority of MCU films. It’s fun, but flawed.

Stick around for a mid-credits scene that you won’t want to miss and one right at the end just for fun. Special mention to the lovely tribute at the start of the film to Stan Lee. And, yes, his cameo is bittersweet, but will definitely make you smile.

❉ ‘Captain Marvel’ (12A) opened in the UK on 8 March 2019. Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck; Starring: Brie Larson, Gemma Chan, Jude Law, Mckenna Grace, Samuel L. Jackson, Lee Pace. 123m mins.

❉ Ben Peyton is an actor, voiceover artist, husband and dad. Credits include Band Of Brothers, Holby City, Emmerdale and he was a regular in The Bill. You can find Ben on Twitter – @BenPeyton007 or at his website – www.benpeytonreviews.com.

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