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  • by Jeff Beck

Captain Marvel: Brie Larson Shines in a Forgettable Origin Story

It’s a little hard to believe that it’s been an entire eight months since our last Marvel fix, with the last release being the decent, but somewhat forgettable “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Last year also saw the release of “Black Panther” and one of the best Marvel films to date, “Avengers: Infinity War,” with the latter raising a rather large question as to the whereabouts of a certain major superhero from the Marvel Universe. Well, for their first major release of 2019, the studio is set to answer that question with “Captain Marvel,” a film that delves into the past to deliver yet another origin story for the ever-expanding MCU.

The film begins in 1995 on the planet of Hala, home of the Kree, where Vers (Brie Larson) has been having recurring dreams that she doesn’t understand. With the help of her commander, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), she trains and hones her special abilities, which eventually gets her assigned to a mission for Starforce in which she is tasked with helping to rescue a Kree spy, who has infiltrated a group of Skrulls, the Kree’s enemy. However, the mission doesn’t go as planned, resulting in her crashing an escape pod on Earth, which immediately gets the attention of SHIELD agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). As the two start to work together, Vers is able to begin piecing her life together, discovering truths about herself, as well as uncovering lies that she was led to believe were true her entire life. With these shocking revelations, she and Fury must risk everything in order to do what’s right.

At the conclusion of “Avengers: Infinity War,” millions were left pondering exactly where Captain Marvel was and why Fury had waited so long to finally summon here, so it made perfect sense to have the next film in the MCU be the origin story of Carol Danvers (Vers’ real name). It’s more than a little understandable if a few comic book fans are getting a little fatigued by origin stories like this, and to be blunt, this is not one of the more intriguing examples. We have a character that doesn’t really know who she is, haunted by dreams of a person she doesn’t remember, which makes it a somewhat strange decision to have the first third of the film be a bit of an actiony mess.

The actual origin tale finally plays out a little over halfway through the two-hour film, and while there is an interesting revelation or two to be had, it’s nothing particularly shocking and merely plays against the expectations of what you thought the rest of the film was going to be. That being said, it’s hardly a bad film or anything like that, it’s just that it feels as though the narrative could have used a little touching up as to make it a little more compelling than it ends up being, in addition to the first act being put to better use. Furthermore, the character development could’ve been handled a little better, as it seemed to take just as long to get started as the narrative, which, again, felt delayed thanks to an overreliance on action.

In this sense, it’s rather reminiscent of “Black Panther,” another origin story that ended up being a little disappointing. However, it still provided some stunning sequences and featured a wonderful cast (the single biggest shock of awards season was when it ended up winning SAG’s Best Cast award). “Captain Marvel” also features some incredible sequences, and has a magnificent cast that includes Oscar winner Brie Larson, as well as Oscar nominees Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Annette Bening, and Djimon Hounsou (and that’s not to mention Ben Mendelsohn, Lee Pace, and Clark Gregg). Simply put, there’s certainly no shortage of talent behind and in front of the camera.

It really all comes down to the ho-hum writing. It’s far from the worst film in the MCU, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself not getting as invested as usual, or if the film ends up fading from memory faster than others. At the very least, we now know what was keeping Captain Marvel so busy while the fate of half the universe was hanging in the balance (though as to why Fury didn’t call her sooner is still a great question). Now that she’s been formally introduced (and incorporated into modern day, thanks to a mid-credits scene), we can look forward to her inclusion in the upcoming “Avengers: Endgame,” which looks set to be one hell of a ride. If her actions here are any indication, Thanos is going to have quite a fight on his hands, infinity stones or not. 2.5/4 stars.

Now playing in theaters everywhere.

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