Captain Marvel drops you into her world ‘in medias res’ much in the way Carol Danvers herself woke to her life as a Kree warrior. For anyone who hasn’t devoured the comics and spent their free time on Reddit, the learning curve is steep but fairly quick. The lines of good and bad are drawn instantly in the sand: the Kree are good, the Skrull are bad.
The Skrull insidiousness is innate, their ability to shapeshift down to DNA is proof enough and their threat to the Kree way of life is unparalleled.
Carol Danvers, or Vers as she’s known on the Kree planet of Hala, wakes in the midst of dreams which blur the line between her current life and a past she can’t remember.
The 90s setting is an ambience which wholly encompasses the film, penetrating its humour, costumes, language, and music – even on alien planets.
Captain Marvel’s two hour and 14-minute runtime contributes to its superiority within the superhero drama – each minute has a purpose, and the film still moves at a fast but clear pace.
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Make no mistake, Captain Marvel is a superhero movie first and foremost – but has a deep core of feminism which stems from the intimate connection between the featured women.
Captain Marvel’s feminism is a happy consequence, not a hamfisted one, of what happens when you make a story about women with women in mind, and there are definite nods to the ‘girl power’ theme of the 90s, and today’s #metoo era.
As Maria, Lashana Lynch gives heart-rending expressions, quiet intimacy, and dialogue delivered in such earnestness that she becomes not just a side-kick but a well-rounded character who helps Danvers’ develop her long lost sense of empathy all the while staying true to her priorities.
And it is empathy and emotion which are the keys to what makes Captain Marvel great and it is her ability to tap into her emotions – the full range of them – which allows her to become the best version of herself.
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Empathy helps Danvers learn not just about herself but about the world she lives in and the aliens she has fought beside, and to keep off her shores.
With all these layers, or perhaps because of them, Captain Marvel is one of the best superhero movies to date.
The stock goodie and baddie are traded for complicated political relationships; the fight sequences are couched in self-aware, but not self-aggrandising, humour.
Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull leader Talos forces you to challenge your preconceptions without an ounce of contrivance.
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Everything you want from a Marvel movie, you get – and more.
There is an easiness to Captain Marvel – watching the film is exactly what watching a superhero movie should be – fun.
Captain Marvel offers its audiences a chance for escapism, and to imagine a world in which one woman can change the course of the future.
Captain Marvel is playing in UK cinemas on March 8, 2019