I guess it would be foolish to call any movie perfect, but Captain Marvel comes pretty close to the Platonic Ideal for me.
Brie Larson is fantastic: has the comedy timing when required, serious and distressed and determined when required… I read about how she went up with female fighter pilots to get a sense of what it was like being in the cockpit, which is awesome. And I love the character of Vers/Carol: always committed to what’s right but not so fanatical that she can’t accept when her truth is challenged. An excellent friend; balancing compassion and ruthlessness (looking at you, Yonn Rogg); her persistence as a child and young woman make me so happy. Also, THAT COMMENT to Yonn Rogg at the end makes me SO HAPPY every time.
I adore that this film has no romance. Don’t get me wrong: I am totally here for romance in my stories; ask me why I like Empire Strikes Back so much. But so often when the focus of a story is a woman, romance gets shoehorned in as if audiences can’t cope with a woman not having men fall over her, or her over men (and let’s be honest, it’s usually hetero). So it’s refreshing to have a female hero with male and female friends, but no hint of romance.
The friends! Maria Rambeau is awesome – the right mix of courage and guts with appropriate trepidation (going into space in a vehicle not designed for it…) – what a great best friend; just falls back into the friendship after six years of anger and grief. Monica is also cool and I look forward to seeing her as a hero in her own right. And Fury… well. Fury. I adore that we got a younger Fury in this film, to see where he was before the Avengers Project really blew up in his face. And maybe it’s a bit tacky but I love the jokes about his eye throughout the film.
Then there’s Ben Mendelsohn. MENDO. Playing brilliantly on the expectation that he plays a villain – inspired casting! – I think the writers did a really great job with the character of Talos, and Mendo fulfils it wonderfully. Why would I want to turn into a filing cabinet?
AND Annette Bening! Such a delightful cameo; I know it mucks with the comic canon to have her as Mar Vel but ask me how much I care.
The mid-90s setting is hilarious for someone of my age; the Blockbuster always sets me to reminiscing about getting 5 weeklies for $10, and the awesome responsibility of getting an overnight rental. The flannel, the NIN tshirt, the waiting for the modem to connect… and of course, the music. What a soundtrack. I’d forgotten about Elastica and “Connection” before seeing this; back in heavy rotation now. Aside from Guardians, this makes the best use of music of any MCU film.
All of the characters and the setting work together with a really great narrative. The contrast between the high-tech Hala and what looks like a very low-tech Earth is pretty funny; the gradual reveal of Carol’s past and the truth about the Kree is paced beautifully; there are a good number of chases, well-choreographed fight scenes, and explosions. Like I said: Platonic Ideal for me.
Oh, and I forgot Goose. Sorry Goose. Who’s a good pussy cat, eh?