Oscar winner Brie Larson delivers a stellar performance as Vers aka Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, expertly balancing the superheroine’s spectacular powers with her humanity. In a recent interview, Larson spoke about the nine months of preparation for the role. In addition to learning judo, boxing, and wrestling, Larson also met with active duty airmen.
Surrounded by male fighters, Vers gives as good as she gets and then some. But more importantly, she demonstrates resilience: repeatedly falling and then rising again. A role model for women of all ages!
When the film opens, we learn that Vers struggles to remember her past. For six years, she has lived on the planet Hala as a Kree warrior, fighting green aliens called Skrulls across the universe. Flashes of memories reveal a young child berated by her father, a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and camaraderie with other women.
One woman dominates many of her nightmares: Supreme Intelligence aka Mar-Vell aka Dr. Wendy Lawson. Annette Bening elevates this supporting role, delighting us with her voice and superb acting skills.
Jude Law delivers an excellent performance as Yon-Rogg, the Kree leader who acts as Vers’ mentor. Concerned about the memory flashes, he belittles their importance and accuses Vers of being too emotional. His advice stings: “Think with your head, not your heart.” “Your feelings will betray you.”
The narrative escalates when Vers crash-lands through the roof of a Blockbuster Video store in Los Angeles and meets with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson (Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg). An unlikely friendship develops between Vers and Fury as they attempt to track down remnants of Carol Danvers’ life on Earth.
In the second half of the film, Vers appears less wooden as her sense of humor emerges. When she reconnects with old friend and fellow Air Force pilot Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), she relaxes and reminisces about their shared past.
Akira Akbar delivers an inspiring performance as Monica (Maria’s pre-teen daughter). I also enjoyed the antics of Goose, the scene-stealing cat who pops up in the most unexpected places and displays a unique talent.
A must-see film that will delight both old and new fans of the Marvel series.