Captain Marvel: supersonic or super not-it?

Another solid entry to the Marvel canon. Though it may fall a bit flat on its own.

When you have reached the 21st film in a franchise, you will have probably decided if that franchise is for you or not. And really, that makes my job of recommending Captain Marvel so easy.

Do you like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? Then you will probably like Captain Marvel.

Not a fan? Well, this is not exactly going to sway your opinion.

Captain Marvel is a fun time at the movies. It’s not particularly deep, but runs along at a decent pace, sprinkles some decent action with excellent comedy throughout.

The film follows Vers, a Kree soldier who is caught in a war between her people and an alien race known at the Skrulls. She has vague memories of a previous life as Carol Danvers. When the war takes her to Earth, she teams up with a young Nick Fury to rediscover her lost memories and stop the Skrull invasion.

In a manner similar to a number of the more recent installments of the MCU, Captain Marvel plays out less like an individual film, and more like an episode of the most expensive TV show of all time. Think less like Black Panther, and more like Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Now this is not a problem by any stretch of the imagination. But it does mean that Captain Marvel does not have that strong an individual identity, coming mostly across like a cog in the larger Marvel machine.

For instance, I don’t think the directors were given much of a chance to give the film a unique touch. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are a solid directing team and have a really distinct style in their previous works. However, nothing in Captain Marvel feels like it could not have been made by another filmmaker.

Which is a shame, because normally Marvel Studios are really good at letting their directors shine. Think James Gunn with Guardians of the Galaxy, Ryan Coogler with Black Panther, or even Taika Waititi with Thor: Ragnarok.

That said, the film’s lack of vision or a distinct style doesn’t stop it from being an entertaining ride throughout.

The cast is solid, and contrary to what stupid angry little men on the internet would tell you, Brie Larson is really good as Captain Marvel. She brings a lot of warmth to the role and is clearly having a lot of fun with it. She nails the comedic timing, and her chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is really good.

Speaking of which, the de-aging CGI effect they use on Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg is on a whole other level. Within a minute you don’t even notice the effect, and it’s like they just stole these actors from a time capsule 25 years ago. Really impressive stuff.

Everything else is as you would expect from a Marvel film. No real surprises, but also nothing to disappoint.

Also, a lot of Easter eggs, references and connections to other Marvel movies. In the same way Spider-Man: Homecoming really wanted to tie into the first Avengers, so does Captain Marvel.

If anything, the other MCU film that Captain Marvel reminds me of the most, is actually Captain America: The First Avenger. In the same way that The First Avenger had the unfortunate task of being the film that directly preceded the first Avengers, Captain Marvel has the same job in leading up to Avengers: Endgame. They are warm-ups to the big event, an unfortunate side-effect of big franchise film-making. But maybe it means we could get a Captain Marvel sequel that’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier levels of quality? Maybe? Please?

At the end of the day, I’ve said a lot, but it’s worth repeating. It’s a Marvel film, you know what you’re getting at this point.

I will say as one final thing; the film makes a really touching tribute to Stan Lee. The crowd I was with straight up applauded. I joined in.

And of course, stay through the credits.

Captain Marvel is playing at the Commodore Cinema in 3D until 14th March and in 2D from the 15th to the 21st March, every day at 19:30.