Captain Marvel ★★★★★

Don’t worry kids, absolutely no spoilers here whatsoever!

An unapologically fun, wild and rousing ride, Captain Marvel isn’t a mind blowing reinvention of the superhero genre, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead, it’s an all out bonanza of unpretentious and enjoyable fun, expanding the cosmic end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and giving us the debut a character as beloved as Carol Danvers deserves.

Director duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who directed Half Nelson, step into the world of blockbusters with a sturdy sense of develivering the good, and doing so with a winking sense of bombastic high adventure, and the trademark emotional sincerity that defines the best of the MCU. Yeah, it’s not “groundbreaking” (whatever the hell that phrase even means anymore), but it’s absolutely perfect for the ultra science fiction fantasia we have here.

Brie Larson (Room) takes to the role of Carol Danvers like a fish to water. With a jubilantly wry sense of humor and a genuine likability, Larson balances snark and sincerity in a pitch perfect, bouyant performance, and has a truly envigorating character arc about the importance of self determination and self worth, which is always something wonderful to see on the screen, especially in such a fun package and with such a likable and identifable main character.

Her interactions with Samuel L. Jackson recall the same snappy back and forth that defined such iconic buddy films as Lethal Weapon, and it forms the meat of what makes the film so enjoyable. Samuel L. Jackson is clearly having the time of his life with the younger Nick Fury, finally taking a major role after having mostly cameos, and he once more gets to prove his excellence in the role, and as a counterpoint and compliment to Larson. The duo feel as if they’ve known each other for years, their chemistry is so fluid, and you can genuinely feel the friendship build on screen.

We’ve also got a stellar supporting cast, which I can only skim, since otherwise it’ll throw out some spoilers (and I promised to be spoiler free). Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg, Rune Tente, Gemma Chan, Algenis Perez Soto, Djimon Hounsou, and Lee Pace, among many others, all giving crackerjack performances, with Law, Mendelsohn, and Bening in particular enjoy themselves, and that enjoyment translates perfectly to their characters.

Visually, the film has a standard Marvel Look, which means that the colors are overall subdued, yes, but when they pop, they truly pop. We get some legitimately amazing action sequences, that feel like a high octane homage to the best of 90s action cinema, while Pinar Toprak (the first woman to write a score for a Marvel film) contributes a bombastic and fun score, blending standard orchestral elements with pulsing, spacey synthesizers. The film also takes advantage of it’s setting in 1995, as the soundtrack is loaded with all sorts of the best the 90s had to offer, from R&B to grunge, all used in a pitch perfect way.

A rambunctious, unapologetically fun and jubilant film, and one that packs in the entertainment and the trademark Marvel Method of filmmaking in a truly wonderful—and inspiring—package.

All hail Carol Danvers!

5 out of 5 stars.

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