Weekender Bahrain, Tuesday, February 25 2020

Marvellous...to an extent

admin 16-Mar-2019

Marvellous...to an extent

A review of Captain Marvel by Ahmed Zayani 

It is kind of wild to think just how far the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come over the course of just ten years. What started off as a mere suggestion in the post credit sequence of 2008’s Iron Man, has now taken a life of its own. Not one to bulk from a challenge, Disney took on a challenge that many thought was too big, even for the famed House of Mouse, and in the process created something phenomenal. As of this writing, the Universe has expanded to include 19 feature films, a multitude of TV shows and one shots, and an endless array of toys, theme park attractions, and cross over paraphernalia. 

The MCU has become a juggernaut that many have tried to duplicate but none came close to doing so either through lack of vision or impatience (I’m looking right atcha DCEU!) Their success has been so profound that mega producer Kevin Feige has recently gone on record stating that the MCU could go on with no end in sight. Based on their track record and performance, that might just be true. 

Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel is the twenty first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and tells the story of Carol Danvers (played by Brie Larson) a member of the elite Kree Starforce who winds up on Planet Earth as the 90s are in full swing and must battle with not only the galactic scourge known as the Skrulls but with a past that she did not know existed. Outside of sharing top billing in Ant Man and The Wasp, this is the first film in the MCU with a female lead, so it goes without saying that the stakes are high for the studio. I am happy to report though that for the most part Captain Marvel was a delight to watch. Much of this is due to the cast at hand of whom I have mostly accolades for. As always, Samuel L. Jackson stole the show with his de-aged portrayal as Nick Fury who at this point is a decade or two removed from his Shield head honcho status. Joining Jackson is the returning Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson who hasn’t been seen on the big screen since his encounter with Loki in the first Avengers film (as always Gregg was awesome to have around but I wish more was done with his character) as well as Lashana Lynch, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, and Annette Bening. Hell, even Goose the Cat has a wonderful, albeit overhyped (as is everything with the internet nowadays), performance. 

If anything, I think Brie Larson was the least impressive of the bunch. Now don’t get me wrong, she did still turn in a good performance and her chemistry with SLJ was palpable, but it still seemed as though she was not comfortable in her shoes just yet. I think the true test of her bridges in the role will be her turn in Avengers Endgame. Another story aspect of Captain Marvel is the visual effects. Much discussion has been made on the de-aging effects used on Jackson and Gregg, a process Disney had previously used in Rogue One. I can safely say that the effects, most notably on Jackson, are every bit as good as they were in the Star Wars prequel. That’s not to say that the other effects are not as remarkable, on the contrary, it seems that with each passing film Marvel manages to up the ante with what CGI is able to do, with this film being amongst the most visually pleasing of any in their catalogue. Also, if you do not at least tear up after the Stan Lee tribute at the beginning of the film then you my friend are dead inside! 

However, the first is far from perfect. One gripe that I had was how inconsequential the whole film was, with them seemingly setting up certain ideas or storylines for future entries yet decide at the last second to swerve the audience. I personally don’t mind a twist on the source material, but to do it in spite of a plethora of future narratives might not be wise (then again, they could always undo this in a future entry, so who knows) in addition, a few of the story beats were so incredibly predictable that the mere suggestion of them has been designated by my friend Ebtehal to be within the realm of spoilers. Additionally, while it was nice to have Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou back in the fold their appearances came off as mere afterthoughts and inconsequential, as if they were thrown in just to include a couple more familiar faces. Finally, and this is a small gripe, while I did enjoy Stan Lee’s cameo in this film, it does create a weird Marvel centric paradox that’ll boggle your mind the more you think of it. 

That said, I did think that Captain Marvel was a fun time in the theatre. It may not be Marvel’s strongest film but it’s entertaining and at the very least I found it more entertaining than Wonder Woman. Marvel- 1 , DC- 0 

Verdict: 7/10 

For more cinematic intel, follow Ahmed on @theahmedzayani 

The Five: Favourite Films with Strong Female Leads

  • Aliens
  • The Sound of Music
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Hidden Figures
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day