Eleven years since the release of Iron Man (Jon Favreau, 2008) and nineteen other films released to populate the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios released Captain Marvel which marked the first time where a female superhero became its main character. Like the first films of superheroes made by Marvel Studios, Captain Marvel is also an origin story that will introduce the audience from her power to her various problems while trying to recognize and control the power she has. A story plot that is quite basic for a film that originates from the universe of superheroes. However, apart from the various familiar elements of the storytelling, the duo director Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (It's Kind of a Funny Story, 2010) managed to package Captain Marvel as a dish that feels fresh and very, very fun to follow.
With a story script written by Boden and Fleck together with Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider, 2018), the film with a background in storytelling in the mid-1990s began its story when a secret rescue mission carried out by military forces from the known planet Kree as Starforce ended in failure. One member of Starforce, Vers (Brie Larson), who was arrested and detained by the leader of the Skrulls forces, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), managed to escape with his space shuttle and later landed on planet Earth. Damn, his whereabouts were later discovered by Skrulls troops who soon followed and tried to arrest him again. Not stopping there, the suspicious Vers appearance and strength he possessed also attracted the attention of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division secret agent, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who then carried out his own investigation to hold Vers.
As a film that serves as an origin story for its main character, Captain Marvel carries out its work well in providing knowledge to its audience regarding the background of the main character's life, Vers - including exploring the story of how she will also be known as Carol Danvers and Captain Marvel. However, Boden and Fleck work on Captain Marvel more than just being an origin story. As part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel was also presented as a bridge for the last film in the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe series, Avengers: Endgame by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo that will be released next April. The story composition of Captain Marvel is also able to make it flow as a buddy movie when the characters of Vers and Nick Fury start to work together to solve the problems they face. Rows of story elements have succeeded in making this film appear dense.
Of course, not all the storytelling themes that Captain Marvel wants to present are successfully executed smoothly. The first half where the film is trying to introduce the world and the new characters feels too slow - and confusing especially for those who are not fully familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Luckily, when the Vers character was told to land on Earth and get acquainted with Nick Fury's character, Captain Marvel began to find its right path. Presented with a blend of thick comedy elements, enticing acts of action, and a touch of music from the 1990s (Garbage! No Doubt! TLC! Nirvana! Hole!), Captain Marvel flows smoothly and pleasantly in every conflict. The film is even able to present some emotional elements when Vers met with Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and her daughter, Monica Rambeau (Akira Akbar), which is said to be a crucial figure of her past.
Admittedly, with the increasing complexity of other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the stories presented in Captain Marvel do not seem to present a truly new formula. Even so, the story script by Boden, Fleck, and Robertson-Dworet was able to take advantage of the momentum of Captain Marvel's presence as the premiere female superhero film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In various angles of storytelling, Captain Marvel appeared straightforward in delivering on the role and empowerment of women in life. Captain Marvel's story also does not portray the super hero as a glamorous and sensual figure. Captain Marvel is presented as a simple character that is grounded as well as delivering themes about intimate identity discovery and far from ambitious - a technique that has clearly been applied by Boden and Fleck when working on independent films like Sugar (2008), It's Kind of a Funy Story, and Mississippi Grind (2015). A clear touch will make this film able to inspire the audience - especially the young audience who witnessed it.
Larson comes with solid quality as Vers / Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel. Her appearance is able to make the character she plays look so strong, full of self-confidence, but also feels easy to like and be approached by everyone. The strong chemistry she displayed along with Jackson also became an important element for Captain Marvel to flow with smooth storytelling. Jackson - who appeared with visual effects that made him look younger - was also very pleasant in his appearance as Nick Fury. The acting department of the film was also strengthened by the classy appearance of Annette Bening, Jude Law, Mendelsohn, and the figure of a cat named Goose which is sure to be able to steal the attention and heart of everyone who witnessed it. [B-]
Director : Anna Boden
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Annette Bening