‘Captain Marvel’ isn’t ‘Infinity War’ but is still thoroughly enjoyable

Mar 8, 2019, 7:23 AM | Updated: 7:24 am

Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers in the latest Marvel movie based on a comic book character, Captain Marvel.

RELATED: How Tom Tangney voted for the 2019 Critics Choice Awards
RELATED: ‘Glass’ takes itself far too seriously to take seriously

She’s as a woman who doesn’t quite know who she is. But as it turns out, she’s discovers she is Captain Marvel herself. But that doesn’t happen without a whole movie’s worth of self-reflection, mixed in with lots of fistfights, firefights, and intergalactic dogfights, of course.

When we first meet Larson’s character, she’s called Vers and is in training as a Kree warrior. The Kree are an alien civilization in a galactic battle with the Skrulls, a shape-shifting alien race.

Since this is an origin story, there’s a lot of backstory to get through.

Vers ends up chasing Skrulls all the way to Earth, where she crosses paths with a human secret agent and spy, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who can’t quite get a handle on who he’s dealing with.

“Excuse me miss, why are you dressed for laser tag?” Fury asks Vers upon their initial meeting.

“Oh boy. You guys don’t have any clue, do you?” she fires back.

Vers and Fury team up somewhat reluctantly as she battles to save her own skin and track down her past. Vers has no sustained memories, only shards and flashes of random and uncontextualized images. Over the course of the film, these images begin to cohere and she slowly reconstructs her life, all the while fighting off her enemies in order to stay alive.

“Your life began the day it nearly ended,” one Kree leader tells her. “We found you with no memory. We made you one of us, so you live longer. Stronger. Superior.”

Captain Marvel eventually comes into her own as one of the most powerful superheroes ever, but not before having to revisit and overcome a lifetime of putdowns and dismissals.

Very much a self-empowerment movie for girls, the climactic moment is perhaps a little too reminiscent of the recent Serena Williams “Dream Crazier” ad. But at least, the message is received loud and clear.

“I’m kind of done with you telling me what I can’t do,” she proclaims.

That line may not rival “I am woman, hear me roar!” but I’m sure it will resonate all the same.

Captain Marvel matches the high entertainment standards of Marvel movies in general. While it’s not in the league of Avengers: Infinity War or Black Panther, it is nonetheless a thoroughly enjoyable film.

Tom Tangney


Tom Tangney

Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Belfast’ is a crowd-pleaser that doesn’t quite hit the mark

"Belfast" has plenty to recommend itself but it's not nearly the moving testament to fraught times that Kenneth Branagh thinks it is or wants it to be.

3 years ago

Eternals, Marvel...

Tom Tangney

‘Eternals’ has to do a lot of heavy lifting for a single film

Imagine the daunting task Marvel sets for itself in "Eternals." It has to introduce 10 new superheroes, not to mention an entirely new cosmology.

3 years ago

French Dispatch...

Tom Tangney

‘The French Dispatch’ is unmistakably Andersonian

Wes Anderson is an acquired taste. But luckily, after 10 full-length movies, most critics and many movie-goers have acquired it.

3 years ago


Tom Tangney

All set-up and no payoff: ‘Dune’ is world’s longest and most expensive trailer

It's hard to find the right metaphor for the new "Dune" movie. Whatever comparison you choose, it must reflect a sense of incompletion.

3 years ago

Last Duel...

Tom Tangney

Poor Marguerite’s story saves ‘The Last Duel’

Tom Tangney says, ultimately, The Last Duel is a proto-feminist take on the Middle Ages with Marguerite's take that brings the film into focus.

3 years ago

James Bond...

Tom Tangney

Daniel Craig’s final James Bond movie comes full-circle

The 25th installment in the James Bond movie franchise may be titled "No Time to Die," but "Too Much Time to Die" may be more fitting.

3 years ago

‘Captain Marvel’ isn’t ‘Infinity War’ but is still thoroughly enjoyable