FILM UNFILTERED – Larson excels as powerful heroine ‘Captain Marvel’

FILM UNFILTERED – Larson excels as powerful heroine ‘Captain Marvel’

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After the huge success of DC’s “Wonder Woman” and the genre-changing “Black Panther” last year, Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige had to deliver a solid film to follow up the events of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Revealing the origin tale of perhaps one of the most powerful heroines in the lore of Marvel Comics, “Captain Marvel” is an exceptional place-setter not only for the forthcoming “Avengers: Endgame” but it also establishes that this new hero is going to be sticking around awhile.

Casting the exceptionally talented actress Brie Larson in the lead role was also something of a coup. Many will remember her from 2015’s troubling film “Room.” Here, she’s the amnesiac Carol Danvers, a refugee of Earth who awakens on the Kree home world Hala. She is part of an elite fighting squad led by Jude Law. One of their missions goes askew and they end up facing off against insurgent Skrulls led by Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos. They have been at war with the Kree for years.

Skrulls are an alien race capable of shape shifting their appearance and taking the form of any other being. Mendelsohn has cornered the market as the leading baddie, this being his third in recent memory.

Carol brings this battle to Earth crash-landing into a ’90s-era blockbuster. She soon meets haggard Shield Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and finds herself in an unlikely partnership with him. Not only does this film flashback to a time more than a decade before Tony Stark’s Ironman came onto the scene, it helps solidify other aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But, if there is one thing that stands out about Captain Marvel, it’s that this film is clearly about establishing strong female role models. Carol Danvers was a successful pilot in a male-dominated “Top Gun” era before ending up on Hala. Her mentor, Dr. Lawson, played by Annette Bening, and her best friend, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), also play key supporting roles in the development of the title character.

As an origin film, this is a good start, though I don’t know if it could be considered Marvel’s best effort. There were moments during the film when the action ceased and there were heavy, talking moments; it felt like the film lost a little bit of its direction at times. Though, the reverse-aged Nick Fury was a nice touch even if at times it looked a little creepy. Sam Jackson hasn’t looked like this since “Die Hard with a Vengeance.”

Larson is excellent and she really embodies the character well, even if she is a little soft-spoken. While she comes off as pesky and questioning her superiors at times, by the end of the film she is cocky and sure of her talents and abilities. Presuming that Larson has signed a multi-picture deal with Marvel, as is customary, I look forward to seeing her continue to expand on this very powerful character. I am sure that she will no doubt play a large role in “Avengers: Endgame,” which comes out in a mere seven weeks.

This film also has perhaps the best soundtrack of any Marvel movie to date, with heavy doses of some of the biggest grunge and female hits from the mid-1990s.

The film is rated PG-13.