As much as the MCU has impacted film goers (not just fans of comic books), it seems all the more surprising that it took twenty prior films for Marvel to finally feature a female-led superhero movie. Then again, Captain Marvel is no ordinary superhero
One of only two MCU films to take place in the past (the other was Captain America: The First Avenger), Captain Marvel brings us back to the 1990s (more on the time setting later). We meet an alien race called the kree, who are at war with the skrulls, aliens with the power to change into any form of breathing entity they encounter. The two main kree we meet are Vers (Oscar winner Brie Larson) and Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). Rogg is the more experienced warrior, who has taken Vers under his wing (as well as given her the powers she has). The kree are led by the Supreme Intelligence, who always takes a different identity depending on who is talking to it. In the case of Vers, it is a woman from her past she can’t remember (as much of her past has been jumbled up).
Eventually, Vers finds herself taken to Earth, where she begins to get pieces of her past back in place and must now find the woman she sees when she encounters the Supreme Intelligence (the woman, played by the always wondrous Annette Bening). Along the way, she meets a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), in his rookie years of S.H.I.E.L.D. There are others in the film from previous MCU films, such as Ronan (Lee Pace), Korath (Djimon Hounsou), and Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), not to mention one of the main Skrulls, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn, who also doubles as Fury’s boss Keller). In short, the film is another example of how the casting of MCU characters have always (with a possible few exceptions) been spot on, and Brie Larson is clearly no exception. Watching her reminded me of RDJ’s Iron Man, but a little more toned down. She makes quips, can crack one liners, but is not as hard shelled as Tony Stark. She is able to be more vulnerable as she tries to find out who she really is and where she belongs
While the villain is not the best in the MCU (at least when compared to Killmonger, Loki, or Thanos), the one that Captain Marvel has to fight is really her inner self (which, when you think of it, is what all heroes have to do). Remembering that we are human is a scary thing, and can always be seen as a weakness (not just in a fantasy world).
The film reminds us that, as Christians, Satan thrives at playing mind games. He deceives and misleads. Reminding us of our past failures is something he does with glee, and no one is immune to it. Living into our true identity in Christ leads to human flourishing (Colossians 2:9-10).
Parents, the film is (like every MCU film) rated PG-13, but is a rather soft one at that. There are bad words, some action and violence, but nothing they have not seen in the MCU before (and far less dark than the events of Infinity War). If your kids have seen at least one of the prior MCU films, they are fine.
Is Captain Marvel the best MCU film? No. Is it a solid outing? Yes. It is also rather funny, especially if you are like me and grew up in the 1990s (“What is it doing?” “It’s loading”), but the directors (and screenwriters) Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck don’t rely just on nostalgia. Like the titular character, we leave the theater with the feeling that being human is not something to frown at.
That, and having a pet cat may not be as bad as I thought.