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Captain Marvel Movie Review

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‘Captain Marvel’ does not have the epic narrative structure of the other Marvel comic adaptations

CAST Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Lashana Lynch | DIRECTOR Anna Bowden, Ryan Fleck

This story of Captain Marvel is set in 1995 and explains her persona. Apparently, six years previously, in 1989, she was a US Airforce test pilot called Carol Danvers. Her mentor was an older woman called Dr. Wendy Lawson, and while testing a new aircraft engine designed by her, she vanished from the face of the earth.

Carol (Brie Larson) has no memory of the past, only blurry dreamlike images of conversations with her superior, and with her pilot bestie, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch). With no identity of her own, she serves robotically as a Starforce Member of the Kree Empire. Her name in the new universe is Vers. She has trouble forming relationships and developing bonds because of this absolute erasure of memory. One day, as luck would have it, she is involved in a fracas with the Skrulls, and while fleeing from them, lands up on C-53, a code for our dear blue planet, Earth.

She lands on the roof of a ‘Blockbuster’ video store in Los Angeles. There, she scans the titles of the films on display. As it happens,1995 was the year DVDs were developed. But films were still on VHS cassettes, and so Vers picks up a copy of ‘The Right Stuff’ and appears intrigued by the title. This is the best part of ‘Captain Marvel’; her discovery of vintage Earth, including its films, music and lifestyle. She also meets Nick Fury, then a lowly agent in the S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy. He is played by Samuel L. Jackson, digitally made to look younger. We trust that all his digits were made youthful too.

With the help of Agent Fury, Carol is able to trace her earlier life, and contact her fellow pilot from the US Airforce, Maria Rambeau. With a rekindled affection for her friend, old memories and emotions are recollected in tranquility - of the woman she was six years previously. Gradually, she reconstructs her persona, and comes out of an amnesia of the self.

‘Captain Marvel’ is a low key superhero movie. Yes, of course, it has enough dramatic space voyages and intergalactic battles to justify all the high technology it uses to provide a good 3D and IMAX viewing. But the film’s plot is deliberately designed to provide more body and substance to the character of Carol Danvers/ Vers, and to trace her evolution into Captain Marvel, rather than to just create fireworks.

As a result, ‘Captain Marvel’ does not have the epic narrative structure of the other Marvel comic adaptations. It is not an ambitious film and focuses on a single objective - telling us the story of how Carol Danvers got her superhero powers.