After more than ten years, Marvel still can’t put a foot wrong. And with Captain Marvel, they remain spectacularly on form.
As the film opens, we meet our eponymous hero as Vers, a warrior hero of the Kree civilization, which is locked in a war with the shape-shifting skrulls. Vers, however, also suffers from unexplainable dreams — or possibly, flashes of memory — of another life as a fighter pilot. Inevitably enough, Vers ends up on planet Earth in 1995, where she meets a very young Nick Fury and starts to establish who she is… and who she was.
As the film progresses, loyalties shift and Vers finds herself forced to question everything she thought she knew. This makes for a film with a much more science fiction feel than superhero films often manage.
I am, of course, well aware of the fact that many — if not all — superhero films are packed with plenty of SF tropes, including impossible technologies, alien powers and all the rest. However, these films tend to follow a formula more inspired by heroic fantasy — bad stuff happens until the mighty hero turns up to save the day.
For me, Captain Marvel takes a very creditable stab at doing what science fiction can do, which is encourage you to look again at the world and to see things differently.
None of this feels forced and, as a mid-1990s set origin story, Captain Marvel works very well indeed. In this telling, we see the very early days of SHIELD and a very youthful Nick Fury, played by a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson. And I have to say that the CGI manipulation in this case works very well indeed, giving us a very optimistic version of Fury right at the start of his career.
Of course, much depends on Brie Larson’s performance and she delivers in spades to give us a fully fleshed-out character that is both plagued by self-doubt and believably tenacious.
Captain Marvel is a superb addition to the MCU and one that effortlessly slots into the existing continuity and sets us up for an explosive finale when Avengers Endgame is released.