Captain Marvel (2019)

B- SDG Original source: National Catholic Register

The best scene in Captain Marvel is not an action set piece or a dramatic character moment. It’s the scene in which Brie Larson’s heroine comes face-to-face with a quasi-reptilian alien antagonist played by Ben Mendelsohn under daunting layers of prosthetics and makeup that do surprisingly little to mute the force of his personality.

It’s an engaging scene not just because of the relish with which the scene-stealing Mendelsohn delivers his lines, but because the challenge to the heroine is not what it seems, and what is called for is something very different from the straightforward course she’s been following until now.

Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Lashana Lynch, Annette Bening, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg. Disney/Marvel.

Artistic/Entertainment Value

Moral/Spiritual Value

+1

Age Appropriateness

Kids & Up*

MPAA Rating

PG-13

Caveat Spectator

Much action and sci-fi violence; some crude language and cursing.

The scene is complicated by the presence of an old friend (Lashana Lynch) and her young daughter, as well as a crowd-pleasing orange cat. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is also on hand, but this is not a complication at this moment, except insofar as the cat is involved.

I saw Captain Marvel with my 15-year-old daughter, and we enjoyed it. I don’t believe it left a lasting impression on either of us, except of course the one impression that counts above all with most Marvel movies, which is to remind you of the urgency of seeing the next one (in this case Avengers: Endgame).

I’ve gotten to the point in my Marvel movie viewing where I will stay in the theater for the mid-credits teaser, but I usually wait till home video to catch up with the post-credits teaser. Leaving the theater, I guessed aloud to my daughter that the post-credits sequence was probably about the cat. (I just Googled it. I was right.)

Set in 1995, over a dozen years before Iron Man’s debut, Captain Marvel is impressively integrated into the whole sweep of the MCU to date. In particular, it’s tied to the unifying presence of Nick Fury, from the moment he approaches Tony Stark in the post-credits scene in Iron Man until the last instant of his corporal existence in the post-credits scene in Avengers: Infinity War.

At this stage in Marvel Cinematic Universe history you almost need a Tolkieneque set of appendices and diagrams to make complete sense of everything.

For example, perhaps you thought Captain Marvel was a big guy in a red suit who says “Shazam!” and has a movie of his own opening in a few weeks. That character, the first Captain Marvel, is associated with DC Comics, but his precedence didn’t stop Marvel from blithely introducing a half dozen or so characters over the years with the same name.

A few years ago the name effectively passed from the DC hero to the Marvel heroine of this movie. First, DC rebranded the original Captain Marvel as “Shazam.” (When I was a boy half the kids thought that was his name anyway.)

Action, Antisocial Aliens, Make Mine Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Superheroes & Comic Book Movies