- Release Date: 08/03/2019
- Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
- Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening.
Vers (Brie Larson) is a Kree — a race of extraterrestrial being at war with another shape-shifting race of aliens known as the Skrulls. She is an elite warrior and is under the guidance of Yon –Rogg (Jude Law), a charismatic and calculated leader. Vers is haunted by dreams of a lady that she doesn’t even remember knowing. While on a mission to retrieve an asset from a planet that has just been attacked by the Skrulls, Vers lands in an ambush that ultimately results in her crash-landing on planet earth. Once on earth, she teams up with a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to track down and destroy the remaining Skrulls who landed on earth with her and may pose a threat to the humans. As she spends more and more time on earth, she unearths a series of secrets that not only changes her life forever but also turns her into the last hope for humanity in the face of an all-annihilating enemy.
I was amazed at how generic and underwhelming this film was in every aspect. There isn’t a single memorable or innovative action sequence in the film apart from maybe one in which we see Vers fight with braces on her hands as she tries to break free of them by hitting them against walls and then bludgeoning her enemies with them. The story is squarely generic and reminded me of several other films that I had seen in the past. Throughout my viewing, I felt as if Marvel’s only inclination to make this film was to ensure that Captain Marvel was introduced prior to her taking over a pivotal role in Avengers: Endgame. This film shows us her origin story and it is one of the most unremarkable and recycled stories that one could ask for. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that it is a collection of set pieces that give the viewers the impression of watching a story.
The only saving grace of the film is the performances by the ensemble cast. Brie Larson has an easygoing charm to go with her performance and that charm is infectious. She strikes up a beautiful chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick fury that time and again tickles your funny bones and makes the proceedings bearable. She is a fish out of water on earth and she plays that card to its hilt to not only generate some genuine laughs but also get the audience to care for her character. She looks great in the action sequences which are mind-numbingly assembly line and sans a few visibly CGI moments she slips into the costume pretty well. She doesn’t have to do any heavy lifting as her character is one dimensional and has very little arc. Suffice is to say that Larson keeps the audience hooked to her character with her charm and her charm alone.
Samuel L. Jackson has been present in almost every Marvel film and his character has evolved leaps and bounds over the years. Here we get to see a version of him that we haven’t seen ever before and it is probably one of the best-done things about the film. Fury’s de-aging is awe-inspiring and even after looking closely, I couldn’t find a single chink in the armor of the de-aging process. As mentioned before he works up a wonderful chemistry with Brie Larson that adds to the charm of his character. The version of Fury that we see is here is one who is just beginning to understand the different threats that the world might have to face up to. He is baffled by a look at the alien form. He involves people in his mission who go on to double cross him. He cracks jokes. He smiles often and he is mostly second fiddle to Captain Marvel. All this and a lot more makes this character one of the most likable bits in the whole film.
Jude Law isn’t there for too long but when he is onscreen, he brings his trademark charm and authority to his character. I liked the scenes he shares with Brie Larson’s character. Ben Mendelsohn has to act with some heavy makeup on his face but he is insanely funny in certain bits. His comic timing is spot on and he makes the most of whatever little he gets to work with. Annette Bening is apt.
Apart from the performances, there is very little to cheer about in this film. Marvel is known to make films that for some strange reason washes out the vibrancy of the colors. The same is true for this film more than any other film that I can remember in recent times. There is some cool world building but it is so limited that chances are that no one will notice it. A large chunk of the climactic battle is done in the dark and it is extremely difficult to make out what is actually happening. Captain Marvel is almost God-like in strength. Once she comes into her own, the bad guys are annihilated without any fuss. This brings me to my next big issue with the film. It doesn’t have a fearsome adversary which liquidates the heroism of its protagonist at every step. Marvel is never really threatened. Avengers: Infinity War worked so well because of the towering presence of Thanos (Josh Brolin). Justice league was marred to a great extent because of the lame Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds).
Captain Marvel has two post-credit sequences that tie it into the MCU. Also, we get an explanation of the highly tweaked pager that Fury used in Avengers: Infinity War. There is also another Stan Lee cameo which would get many nostalgic. Sans that and some great performances by the ensemble, the film has nothing marvelous to offer. It was in the making for a very long time and the makers could have easily thought it out better. I was really expecting a lot from this film but it fizzled out without even trying to put up a fight.
Rating: 2.5/5 (2.5 out of 5 Stars)