Tuesday 12 March 2019

Make Mine Mar-Vell

Captain Marvel is the funniest and most poignant Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) instalment since Guardians of the Galaxy! It deftly acts as an awesome cosmic origin story for the titular hero, played with wit by Oscar-winner Brie Larson, and as a prequel to Avengers: Endgame.

The nostalgic nineties setting allows for a thrilling Gen-X tour de force from directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Sugar) and an opportunity to see beloved characters before the Avengers were a thing. Unlike Ready Player One, it manages to avoid fatigue from nostalgia overload. The internet cafe and CD-ROM load time gags had me in stitches: I was reminded of going online for the first time, using Netscape for Mac, in a university library.

From AOL to Blockbuster and there's a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), who took me back to my undergraduate years and Pulp Fiction, as Starforce, lead by Captain Marvel's mentor Jude Law (Yon-Rogg), attempts to end the Kree-Skrull war once and for all.

Captain Marvel succeeds or fails on the core relationship between Fury and Danvers. Suffice to say it excels and further embellishes the end credits scene from Avengers: Infinity War, where Fury pages Danvers before turning to dust in the wake of Thanos' snap.

Goose may be the greatest space feline since Jones survived a xenomorph in the original Alien. The galactic ginger made me misty-eyed in memory of my cat, Leo, who passed away 12 years ago. Leo was one of the most loyal pets it's been my privilege to befriend.

An area where the MCU continues to fall foul is the soundtrack. Whilst there's nothing inherently wrong with Pinar Toprak's score; it's buried deep in the mix and there are no standout leitmotivs other than a reprise of the Avengers theme composed by Alan Silvestri. After a decade, Marvel Studios could still learn something from Harry Potter and Disney stablemate Star Wars.

There are nods to Star Wars, Lethal Weapon, The Right Stuff and Independence Day. Watching Captain Marvel, I was reminded of Supergirl and Superman: The Movie. Heroic heights indeed and a touching tribute to the late Stan Lee.

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