'Captain Marvel' is solid addition to Marvel Studios universe

Cary Ashby • Mar 19, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Did you ever wonder what Nick Fury (Samuel J. Jackson)’s middle name is? Or how he lost his eye?

Maybe the biggest question answered in the new Marvel Studios film “Captain Marvel” is why it took to the end of “Avengers: Infinity War” for Fury to call Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) for help. The mid-credits “Captain Marvel” bonus scene and new trailer for “Avengers: Endgame” shed some light. Even though U.S. Air Force pilot-turned intergalactic savior Carol Danvers (Larson) hasn’t been around Earth since 1995, she quickly responds to Nick Fury’s page while he was succumbing to Thanos’ population-reducing finger-snap.

Honestly, there are a lot of mysteries to watching “Captain Marvel.” A good portion of the film is spent piecing together how Carol Danvers, as a noble Kree warrior, remembers her time as an Air Force pilot. Are they false memories planted by the Kree’s enemies, the shape-shifting Skrulls, or did she really experience those events? Finding out requires a bit of patience.

Honestly, to say anything more about the plot would give away who is doing what — and more importantly, why. What this spoiler-free fan and film critic will say is one of the best scenes is when Larson’s Danvers and Jackson’s younger Fury are proving to each other they aren’t Skrulls. The pair have great onscreen chemistry.

It’s a treat seeing Jackson getting significant screen time. His role in “Captain Marvel” is even bigger than “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” when the older, cynical Fury is far more prepared for the unexpected things a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent might encounter. After all, Danvers and the Skrulls are the first beings from outer space he meets.

One thing is certain about “Captain Marvel”: Fans are flocking to see this movie, the 21st in the connected Marvel Studios universe. There was a packed house opening night at Norwalk Premiere Theatre 8, which was showing it on multiple screens. The film has made more than $260 million domestically in its first 10 days. Box Office Mojo and the Los Angeles Times predicted “Captain Marvel” will gross about $70 million in the U.S. and Canada in its second weekend and “is certain to top the weekend yet again.”

Here’s another certainty about “Captain Marvel”: Female fans of many ages are pumped for Marvel’s first movie to feature a solo female lead.

Being an Air Force pilot whose life experiences have taught her the importance of standing up after failing or falling down, Carol Danvers is a strong role model. She also embodies a characteristic that I consider crucial to the greatest and most interesting superheroes and protagonists — being willing to do the right thing, especially when it’s risky and extremely dangerous to stand behind that decision.

Here at “Cary’s Comics Craze” and my related blog, I do my best to compare apples to apples, but all this begs the question of comparing “Captain Marvel” to the first movie featuring a superheroine: “Wonder Woman.” The DC Comics and Warner Bros. film is much more powerful and memorable, but “Captain Marvel” is a solid and fun addition to the Marvel Studios productions and superhero genre. As with “Wonder Wonder,” it’s good enough to see it twice in the theater.

The World War I scene of Wonder Woman boldly crossing the No Man’s Land battlefield is one of the most empowering and memorable scenes in superhero cinema. By the end, you too want to deflect bullets with bracelets and a shield, not mention throw tanks at the enemy.

There’s nothing quite that iconic or inspiring in “Captain Marvel.” Danvers doesn’t fully embody her powers until near the finale, so there’s not quite enough time spent seeing her in full-on warrior mode. And she when does, many of the fight scenes are hard to decipher or fully enjoy due to being filmed in poor lighting or too close to the camera.

“Captain Marvel” doesn’t quite live up to the philosophy that Carol Danvers has as a pilot — aiming to do things “higher, further, faster,” an homage to the Air Force slogan. Here’s hoping we’ll see much more of that in “Avengers: Endgame” (out April 26) as Captain Marvel helps the team defeat Thanos. Grade: B


Follow Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby on Facebook at “Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger” and on Twitter at @Cary_reporter.  

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