Wonder Woman may have beaten Marvel to the punch for a female-led superhero movie, but Marvel certainly was going to get their own out eventually.
And hey, that time is now as Captain Marvel is here to the absolute delight to…well, Jenny for one. Others, too, but Jenny for certain.
On the Kree homeworld of Hala, Starforce member Vers (Brie Larson) is having weird dreams involving a woman (Annette Bening) that she doesn’t remember. What do they mean? She doesn’t know, and her commanding officer/mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) wants her to focus and stay calm as they have an upcoming mission against the Kree’s ancient enemy, the Skrulls. During the mission, things go wrong and Vers is captured. The Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) does something that causes Vers to have some doubts. But then she finds herself on Earth, working with a younger-than-usual Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, digitally de-aged rather effectively) to figure out where she came from and how to stop a war between ancient enemies from hitting the planet she just happened to land on.
Captain Marvel is, like most Marvel movies, a lot of fun. It does a lot of cool things involving the Skrulls , the Supreme Intelligence, and the identity of Mar-Vell. Much of the movie deals with Vers discovering who she is and not allowing any (mostly male) authority figures to tell her what she can and can’t do. She has some powers that she is slowly coming to control, and it probably isn’t too much of a surprise that she was lied to rather extensively. And while it may not be a 90s-style movie (think about the differences in style between Stranger Things and Ready Player One as one is in a distinct 80s style and the other just heavily references the time period), it does feature a number of 90s references and jokes that will probably work with most of the target audience, plus a soundtrack full of popular songs at the time. And when Captain Marvel does cut loose, the special effects work pretty well as she uses her powers in more and more creative ways as the movie progresses.
That said, it’s not a perfect movie. There are what I felt were some pacing issues in the beginning of the movie, jamming too much exposition into the Hala scenes in a way that doesn’t pace very well, and after a number of more impressive, nuanced antagonists like Ghost, Thanos, Vulture, or Killmonger, or even just the bat-spit insanity of Hela, the villains here are arguably more obligatory and as a result are rather forgettable. Still, it’s a Marvel movie, and they certainly know how to make for a fun time at the movies. 8.5 out of 10 90s pop songs inserted into the narrative in case you forgot what decade it’s set in.