Brie Larson stars in this origin story of Marvel superhero Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, a warrior on Kree planet Hala who has flashbacks of a past life as she battles enemies in her present.
Captain Marvel is the long-awaited first tale from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to feature a female superhero as its lead.
Brie Larson stars as Vers, a tough warrior eager to prove herself, who has been recruited into the ranks of the Kree, an alien-fighting force previously seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy films.
The Kree are engaged in a vicious war with the Skrulls, a nation of extraterrestrial shapeshifters, led by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn).
While working with Kree official Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) to rescue an undercover Kree agent, Vers is abducted and subjected to a memory probe by a group of Skrulls.
She escapes in the Skrulls' ship, crash landing in a Blockbuster video store on Earth in 1995, which is described by her comrade Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan) in less than flattering terms.
Leader Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) tells her to stay put, but after coming under attack from Skrulls, she sets off to track them down to end the threat to Earthlings, with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in hot pursuit.
This leads to some classic 'fish out of water' scenarios, as we see her grapple with the less than advanced earthling tech such as dial-up Internet and super-slow web searches.
Amid the intergalactic warfare, Vers is plagued by memory flashes, fragments of what appears to be a lost identity.
We see glimpses of an unhappy earthbound childhood, her unsupportive father, Top Gun-style military training in the US air force, and flashbacks to her friendship with pal and fellow pilot Maria (Lashana Lynch).
Annette Bening also appears in both the flashbacks and as the Kree's Supreme Intelligence. Fury, a digitally de-aged Jackson, quickly becomes an able sidekick to the intergalactic interloper.
As well as finding out more about Vers, we also get his back story in the MCU, and he and Brie have a great onscreen chemistry, particularly in the scene when they're locked in an office at a secret location.
And watch out for Goose, a lovable cat who steals quite a few scenes from Fury.
Captain Marvel does lack some of the bells and whistles of the main MCU films.
It feels like you have to wait quite some time for the action to start, and it heavily references Star Wars in its flight sequences, which although thrilling, leave you with a nagging sense of deja vu.
But when all the parts of the origin story eventually come together to reveal Vers' superhero destiny it's ultimately very satisfying.
Larson is well suited to the role - she's tough, funny, and portrays a realistic mix of strength and vulnerability, and she acquits herself well in the fight scenes, some dodgy stunt people aside.
Directors and co-writers, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, seasoned the film with just the right amount of female empowerment messages, including a powerful montage towards the climax of the film that will have ladies ready to cheer.
Avoiding obvious comparisons to Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel promised much and delivered plenty.
A superhero for a modern age, and one I'm looking forward to seeing more of.
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