Brie Larson plays a girl named Vers, pronounced the way you’d “veer” off course, who lives as a part of the Kree species on Hala, the Kree-dominated planet. The Kree have been at war with the Skrulls for an undisclosed amount of time, a species with the power to shapeshift. She occasionally has flashes of people she can’t remember ever knowing, especially this one particular lady, who, it becomes apparent, the Skrulls are specifically after. One day, when Vers and her crew are trying to rescue a hostage spy of the Kree, an ambush makes her forced to use powers that give her the ability to shoot a force that seems to mix fire and electricity (forgive me, I never read the original comic books. I watched Captain Marvel completely blindly). She ends up landing on Earth, in the year 1995, and who better than a 24-year-younger Nick Fury, aka the one and only S. L. Jackson, to begin investigating the particular woman and unlocking Vers’ real past.
Let me get one thing out of the way right now: I think Wonder Woman stole a bit of Captain Marvel’s thunder, especially with that movie unorthodoxically taking place in the Great War whereas this feels like it takes place in the same universe as Guardians of the Galaxy (which it probably does.) I’m not saying every female-led superhero movie from now on is going to be a Wonder Woman knock-off. I’m saying you need more than a female protagonist to make a terrific superhero movie. Wonder Woman marvelously took place in The Great War and showed the importance of simply being a caring and selfless person, with some additional crazy laughs and nail-biting action and drama.
Another thing about Wonder Woman I liked quite a lot was Diana’s first day in early 20th-century London, applauding ice cream vendors and unsure why certain clothes aren’t designed to fight and kick. Captain Marvel has a little bit of this too at the beginning, and the misunderstandings that come with Vers and the rest of the inhabitants was actually more than just amusing, but pretty riotous. Lashana Lynch plays the sturdy Maria Rambeau, and the interracial bond she has with Vers is always believable and sweet. What ends up being sweeter is the movie’s choice of transcendence in its decisions. Let’s start at the beginning for this. Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot more inclusive films that...Wait, wrong beginning. Ahem. I mean, the Skrulls are menacing at first, and then the whole movie ends up being an outright fun guessing game of when someone’s not who they really are. My favourite scene is definitely a fight that witnesses see and try to break off because of a giant misunderstanding. But then there’s a twist that’s gentler than general superhero fare. I could even smell some commentary in there about expectations and fears and discrimination over looks. And even if there aren’t plenty of fun throwbacks to 1995, the ones we do get are nice to look back on.
There are clearly derivative signs of Guardians of the Galaxy and Wonder Woman, but Captain Marvel gives us a steady appetizer before Endgame with some amusing fake-outs from the Scrawl and a proper devotion to our beloved Stan Lee.