‘Captain Marvel’ soars to new heights

Vers leads the Star Force on a mission. The Star Force are a group of Kree warriors to protect their kind.


Vers leads the Star Force on a mission. The Star Force are a group of Kree warriors to protect their kind.

Shaye Holladay McCarthy, Magazine Editor

Marvel’s twenty-first film takes a step back into the past to introduce a key character in Avengers: Endgame, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). Set in the 1990s, this film isn’t a generic hero backstory film like Iron Man or Captain America. Carol’s past is built in a unique way because the events of her past that are revealed don’t appear in a logical way.

Carol is on Hala, known as Vers, training under Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) as a Kree warrior to control her powers and her emotions while suffering from recurring nightmares. Her nightmares are of the day she got her powers, but any events before that time she is unable to recall. Since the crash she has been working with the Kree to help them help the skrulls. Skrulls are a species of alien shapeshifters that can only recall recent memories.

When a mission on Torfa goes awry, Vers winds up on Earth where she meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Fury works with Vers to help her regain her memories by taking her to meet Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), her friend from the United States Air Force.

While working with Maria, the leader of the Skrulls visits just as Vers discovers her name is Carol Danvers. The group is caught as they’re working together to recover the Tesseract from a space cruiser in orbit. Carol breaks free of her restraints and accesses her full potential to end the war.

Marvel’s first female solo lead film is impressive with stunning visuals landing on par with the visual effects from Doctor Strange. The difference of effects between the two movies is that Strange’s magic is opaque and the energy that weaves around Danvers is translucent. Then there are scenes where Carol soars through the skies are beautiful and show just how far she has come from the start of the film.

Carol Danvers shows off her full strength as she goes to rescue her friends from captivity.

In terms of a timeline of all Marvel films, this is the first film of heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Set before Fury lost his eye and with Coulson as a rookie within S.H.I.E.L.D., there are a few gaps filled among the films and a few parallels that can be drawn. Ever since the release of The Winter Soldier, where Fury first mentioned losing his eye in a dramatic manner to Captain America, seeing the truth of how he was blinded is one of the most amusing gaps filled.

Other gaps that are filled come from Lee Pace (Ronan the Accuser) and Djimon Hounsou (Korath). Both of their characters appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy, but nothing was known about them. Captain Marvel sheds light on both of their characters and looking at the circumstances their characters were in for Guardians of the Galaxy, it comes together and is more understandable as to how they wound up where they were.

The film also shows off how talented Ben Mendelsohn is. He has to have two different personas and uses both an American accent and Australian accent to differentiate between his characters. It goes to show how much of an underrated actor he is, and this film brings light to his talents.

One character who steals the show is one anyone would least expect, but Goose the Cat absolutely makes the film. She was formerly owned by Carol’s boss, Doctor Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening), but now she wanders the base where Danvers is deployed. Goose is one of the few characters that changed between page and screen, but it fits given the similarities between the two movies. While she isn’t actually a character that speaks in the movie, her communication is through actions and how she interacts with Fury, Danvers, and the Skrulls.

Lashana Lynch is amazing as Maria, an African-American mother who serves in the Air Force alongside Carol. Having more women of color on screen after Black Panther in such key roles would be a huge movement in the industry.

There are a few characters who could’ve done with more screen time or more to contribute to the plot of the film like Gemma Chan who played Kree sniper Minn-Erva or even Coulson since this film is his start to the Marvel universe. The one character who should’ve gotten more time to contribute to the film would have to be Law’s character.

He plays a critical role, but his use in the film is a bit limited considering he’s Carol’s mentor and commander of the Starforce. If anything, there should have been more scenes of him sparring with Danvers and working to help control her powers. There’s only one scene of the two sparring where he gives her a bit of advice before heading off on a mission with the Starforce.

Marvel has a bit of a habit for heroes not taking themselves or characters they look with too seriously, but it makes for amusing moments together. Captain Marvel still follows that with a handful of characters dropping funny remarks in tense moments usually coming from Danvers.

It’s a well composed film, but the one issue is how strong Larson’s character is. Sure, she struggles to remember her past, but when it came to her powers she barely struggled to control them at her full potential. With that one exception, Marvel absolutely nails an incredible story and character.