Brie Larson as ‘Captain Marvel’ is Not as Marvel-ous

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CHICAGO – Since the Marvel cinematic universe began over a decade ago with “Iron Man,” it’s shown an amazing talent for consistency. While only a few installments have surpassed their comic book origins to become great examples of the genre – and great stories in general – Marvel hasn’t had many out and out clunkers either (possible exception, the second Thor movie).

“Captain Marvel” has the added notoriety for being Marvel’s Studio first solo adventure headlined by a woman superhero. So Captain Marvel delivers the usual thrills, even if it doesn’t quite have the pep of the best installments. Brie Larson stars as the title character, a half-human/half-alien fighter pilot who crash lands back on earth squarely into 1995. She’s trying to stop an infestation of the shape shifting “Krull” on earth, while also tries to ferret out clues to her own true identity.

Brie Larson as ‘Captain Marvel’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

She teams up with Marvel movie regular Samuel L Jackson (as Nick Fury) to get on the trail. Jackson gets a bigger than usual role here, and in addition he’s been spookily and convincingly made younger through the powers of CGI. That said, the digital version of him can only do so much, and Jackson runs like the 70-year-old that he is, rather than the man-in-his-early-40’s version that appears on screen. But he is always a welcome addition.

Larson is an appealing presence, who adds zing to her one liners in the middle of fight scenes, even if to begin with she doesn’t have much of a character. The action sequences are the usual Marvel movie set pieces, but don’t expect too much of a 1990’s nostalgia trip along the way. The 1995 touches are just window dressing – a collection of forgotten brands (Blockbuster, Alta Vista) and period-era song hits that are never quite as fun as they are supposed to be.

But the premise of Captain Marvel isn’t really about the title character’s story. This is primarily a puzzle piece to fit into the overarching Marvel Cinematic Universe … and by that measure she’s a rousing success. The ripples from this adventure are felt far and wide throughout the Marvel Comic Book galaxy.

The Cast of ‘Captain Marvel’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

Of course, you almost have to have studied “Avengers: Infinity War” beforehand, and their heroes in that film, to catch all the references. And this will probably get fans even more pumped for the next chapter (“Avengers: Endgame”). And that’s probably been the plan all along.

“Captain Marvel” opens everywhere on March 8th, in IMAX, RPX, 3D and regular screenings. See local listings for format, theaters and show times. Featuring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch and Clark Gregg. Screenplay by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Rated “PG-13” contributor Spike Walters


© 2019 Spike Walters,

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