Saturday, March 23, 2019
"Captain Marvel" (2019)
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.