Saturday, March 23, 2019

"Captain Marvel" (2019)

Whoooo-eeee!  This movie is a superb ride.  I saw it for the second time today, and it was even better than the first time through.  The plot is all twisty and has some nice foreshadowing that you only pick up on when you know what's coming.  Sometimes twisty plots don't hang together as well the second time through, but this one absolutely does.  I can't wait to see it again.  I suspect a third viewing will push this into my top 5 list of MCU films.  It's already in my top 10.

One of the things I liked best about it was how it blended humor and focused, purposeful action.  It reminds me of Thor: Ragnarok (2017) more than any of the other MCU movies, and you know I adored that one.  Like in that, the humor here is character-based and situational, not jokes.  And the little thingie on her neck was a lot like the one that kept Thor in submission on Sakaar.  And they did this little burbling motif in the music that got used a lot in Ragnarok too, so that was nifty.

But it's not all fun and games -- they didn't shy away from pathos either.  Bad stuff has happened to a lot of these characters, and they don't shrug and move on, they let the characters (and audience) process that pain. And learn from it, and use it.  I appreciated that side of the storytelling a lot.

Okay, spoilers will be rampant from here on out.  I'm just going to kind of gush about different things I loved.

Let's start with the '90s setting.  I kind of came into my consciousness of pop culture around 1996, so the grunge look?  I totally wore flannel shirts tied around my waist.  Video stores were basically my favorite places -- I used to dream of working in one.  So much of the music was familiar, and their use of No Doubt's "I'm Just a Girl" had me grinning and bouncing during both viewings.  So perfect.


Then there's the CGI younger-ing of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg).  Soooooo well-done.  I think Fury's is a little better, but maybe that's because I am fairly familiar with what Samuel L. Jackson looked like in the '90s, but the first thing I ever saw Clark Gregg in was The Avengers (2012). 


And I loved Jude Law.  Oh man.  He delivered another solidly stunning performance.  I really have never seen him turn in a boring one, but he has been extra good lately, including here.  His Yon-Rogg was so smart, so strong, so deserving a mentor and then foe for Carol Danvers.  Really rocked this role.


And Ben Mendelsohn!  Oh my goodness!  I enjoyed disliking him in Rogue One (2016), I found him very compelling in Darkest Hour (2017), and he amuses me a lot in Slow West (2015), but he was just wonderful here.  Loveable, even.  Eventually.  I love that we got to see him in his human face as well as under gobs of alien makeup as Talos -- that was loads of fun.  And Talos was such a sweet husband and father, too.  I love his scenes with his family.


As for Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), I found her a really relatable character.  I too spent my girlhood with a strong desire to prove myself to everyone around me. Sometimes I failed.  Sometimes I triumphed.  But I never quit trying.  In a lot of ways, I still haven't.  There's that bit where you see her standing back up after falling on her butt time after time, all through her life, and I was like, Yes!  I know that feeling!  I liked how smart and intrepid she was, but also not absolutely sure of herself.  She had to figure out who she really was before she could go out and save the world, and that a little bit mirrored Thor's character arc in his first movie too, which I appreciated.


Let's see, what else?  It was cool to see Annette Bening again.  She got some nice stuff to do.  Oh, and Carol's best friend Maria (Lashana Lynch) was a great character in and of herself!  She wasn't just the best-friend-sidekick, but had an integral role to play and got to help save the day.  Really liked her.

Annnnnnnnnnd the Flerken. So adorable.  So surprising!  I'm super tempted to adopt an orange cat and name it Flerken.  That would be such fun.

But possibly the best thing about this movie, for me, is how smart it is.  It gets you 100% wondering if maybe the Kree aren't always evil, it convinces you of things that Vers is convinced of, and then it flips everything around at the end of the second act to reveal that nope, she's not who she thinks, the things she believes happened didn't quite go that way, and she's been trusting all the wrong people.  And it WORKS.  It's not merely flashy storytelling, it's solid all the way down, and watching it through a second time has only deepened my appreciation of the excellent writing.

Okay, maybe that wasn't as much spoilage as I thought, but I'll leave the warning where it is. 

Is this movie family friendly?  Um, about as much as most MCU movies?  It's got some innuendo, lots of superhero violence, some bad language, etc.  Teens and up.

15 comments:

  1. My daughter and I saw it last weekend. I wasn't absolutely sold prior to the viewing, but I left the theatre on a movie high and a big fan. Looking forward to enjoying it a second time.

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    1. Caftan Woman, that's how I was too! I don't think I'd even seen a whole trailer for this film before I went to it, I just knew the character was going to play into Endgame in a big way, so I needed to see it. And I came out revved up and a solid fan of the film. Hope you get that second viewing soon!

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  2. Ok this is the second good review of Captain Marvel that I’ve read from a trusted blogger! I’m definitely seeing it now!

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    1. Ivy Miranda, hope you can see it soon! It's really excellent.

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  3. Very fun review! It is such a fun ride and is right up in my top five right now. The casting is so perfect, the characters so much fun to hang out with. I loved all of the actors in this. The humor is exactly what you say, natural with the characters. And Ben, you know how much I love him here, of course. :-D The "I'm Just a Girl" part is spectacularly fun and wonderful. Marvel just continues to be fabulous.

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    1. DKoren, yes. The casting was even more superb than usual for the MCU. Which is saying a lot. Marvel does indeed continue to be absolutely fabulous. I'm less fearful of Endgame now too, which is a relief. I mean, I'm still fearful, but not AS.

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  4. This is now my favorite "fun" MCU movie (I divide them up into "fun" vs. "serious" in my brain, and this one was more on the "fun" side, although I loved how it delved into serious issues as well.)

    I LOVED THE SHOT WHERE SHE STODD UP SO, SO, SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH. I love that they showed her failing [and being laughed at!] first, before showing her succeeding. I loved that they highlighted perseverance & determination as her True Superpowers, not the tesseract stuff, just like courage is Cap's True Superpower and not the serum stuff. (She reminds me so much of Cap & it makes me grin.)

    Also Maria rocks. And Fury. And young Coulson. And the cat--AHEM, the Flerken. :D :D :D

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    1. Also, I was a huge fan of the Skrull/Kree twists!!! That was very Doctor-Who-like, convincing us we knew what was what & then showing us we didn't. Good stuff.

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    2. Jessica, yeah, I can see dividing them up that way.

      That standing up part -- I'm getting goosebumps remembering it. I cried the first time. SO GOOD.

      I spent the whole first like 20 minutes of the movie going, "Wait, she's Kree? The Kree are evil! We All Know The Kree Are Evil! I watched Agents of SHIELD for like 4 solid years! Kree = bad! How are they going to make this work?" And then I started going, "Okay, yeah, I suppose this is 20 years ago, maybe this is part of how the Kree become bad? Maybe things change? Maybe these are the good Kree, and they die, and Ronan takes over?" And then it was like, "Yup, nope, Kree are evil all along." Watch it the second time through and see how very not-evil the Skrull are all along -- it's VERY well done. Very nuanced. I loved it.

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  5. I've been seeing some so-so reviews for this one (mainly Twitter comments), but will, of course, still pick up the Bluray when it releases. PLUS, I'm SO nervous for 'Endgame.' Definitely going to be reading all the spoiler-y things for that one. Because a girl's gotta' be prepared. :)

    Also, I too adored "Thor: Ragnarok"! Loved how light hearted it was in comparison. Maybe the powers that be in the MCU knew we needed that. :D

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    1. Rissi, I have one friend who refuses to see this movie because she read something somewhere that made her dislike Brie Larson. And I know there has been some online kerfuffling about statements she's made, or is said to have made. I tend to try to take movies for their own value, though that can be difficult sometimes for any of us.

      But anyway, this is DEFINITELY a fun MCU movie, not one of the super-serious ones. I think you will dig it when you see it.

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  6. I'm interested to see what I think of this whenever I get around to seeing it (as I imagine will happen ;)). I don't know much about the story, but I am excited to see her in Endgame with all the others. :)

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    1. Olivia, I think you will get a bang out of it when you see it. I went into it not knowing really anything except that it was set in the past and had Nick Fuy in it, and that Jude Law and Ben Mendelsohn and Lee Pace would be in it, and wow, it just knocked my socks off. I've seen it three times now and would not mind a fourth.

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  7. The video store scene was my favorite part.

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    1. Tom, I loved that too, because for a long time, my dream job was working at a video store. Ahhhh, the nostalgia! The happy hours I used to spend wandering up and down rows of movies, just reading the backs of the cases!

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