The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Captain Marvel | Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch | Review

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4 Chicks Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
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Captain Marvel | Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch | Review

Viewer alert! This is an origin story with lengthy, detailed background information so take a deep breath as I try to give you the pivotal points of the multi-layered plot while revealing nothing. Ready?

(takes deep breath)

Alien Kree soldier VERS (Brie Larson) a hybrid warrior on planet Hala, is injured in battle and wakes up in enemy Skrull hands during a brain scan to extract memories necessary to find the human responsible for a tech advancement crucial to turning the tide of a looming galactic war.

(exhales)

VERS gains her past memories in pieces and snippets and skillfully placed non-linear flashbacks going all the way back to childhood and up to a recent past of piloting U.S. Airforce fighter jets. The year is 1995.

VERS quest for her true identity takes her to Earth and into contact with a two-eyed Nick Fury (a de-aged Samuel L. Jackson) future S.H.I.E.L.D director, but here a low-level investigator for the agency.

The two uncover lies and betrayals that challenge VERS core beliefs as she uncovers her human identity - Air Force fighter pilot Carol Danvers. Infused with Kree blood, and extraordinary strength, energy projection, and flight, Danvers reconnects with Air Force best friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and confronts the reality of not one, but two different mentors (Jude Law, Annette Bening) that have shaped her various identities.

Meanwhile, Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and a whole city of leather-clad, facially challenged, shape-shifting Skrulls liven up the scene in ingenious ways. Shapeshifters tend to do that. Your impression of Skrulls will shift as well, despite their looking like a race of gargoyle/orc crossbreeds (Tolkien reference).


See? I’ve told you nothing. Not how Carol Danvers eventually morphs into Captain Marvel. Not about the red cat named Goose. Not about Mar-Vell. Not how the Avengers got their name. Not even how Nick Fury loses an eye. And certainly nothing about the Supreme Intelligence on Kree planet Hala played by Annette Benin in one of her three small but important roles in the film.

These things are left for you discover for their a-ha! moments that interconnect and enhance what you have witnessed in prior MCU films. Captain Marvel is full of these moments, otherwise known as, “Oh, so THAT’S how…”

Brie Larson brings the conflicted VERS/Danvers/Marvel to life with a steely martial arts prowess juxtaposed with a sentimental side steeped in low-key sass and savvy. She hits all the right notes (and villains) with supercharged fists. Jude Law’s Yon Rogg, her non-blue Kree mentor and trainer treads the fine line between trust me/don’t trust me with single-minded conviction. Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, the Head Skrull brings a surprising range to the role.

A lively Samuel L. Jackson, de-aged over twenty years for the role, brings humorous observations and epithets that pre-date his “MF” directorship with S.H.I.E.L.D to his Nick Fury. Captain Marvel is his first rodeo with a superhero. Also de-aged is Clark Gregg of TV’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D in the small role of rookie agent Phil Coulson.

The film is a cleverly woven piece of fabric that exhorts the viewer to think and remember. No spoon feeding here. It feels good to be played up to instead of down to.
Credit director/writers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Sugar) with additional writer Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider) for the creation of disparate worlds, from the honeycomb forcefields of space, to the throwback nostalgia of Blockbuster Video and Radio Shack. It’s an ambitious story to tell and they do it with energy and precision.

Stan Lee makes a very sweet posthumous appearance and two mid and post-credit scenes are worth waiting for.

Brie Larson has called her character “a bridge between Earth and space” in interviews. One of the film’s best sequences is that character’s realization that her “flawed” human half, disparaged by the Kree for its reliance on emotion, holds the key to her greatest strength. Fists of Fury indeed.

And she’s on our side.

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