Captain Marvel: Way Higher, Way Faster, Way Stronger

Due to a funny turn of events the world misses 1990ies. Look, recently all cinematic genres tune to a nostalgic trend: within a year we have seen Ready Player One, Mid90s and now Captain Marvel. However putting those not quite faraway times on screen the way they`d look themselves is an art multiplied by responsibility and vision of a cameraman, plus close attention to details and, which is most important, personal involvement and colorful memories. In fact I have to admit that as the post-production campaign started I had no intention to see the film, with all due respect to Marvel Studios and comic book universe. It seemed too shoal even for its type, but it is funny that later my mind was changed polarly, not by the warm Copenhagen night and even not by the Empire Cinema, but mainly by the brilliant screenplay and PR decision of making a ginger cat one of the key characters. Cats, aren`t they the clue to global supremacy?

Other stars tried to keep the highest level set by the cat. By the way, Goose the cat was portrayed by four puss actresses, and in some scenes with Brie Larson she was replaced by digital graphics or even good old puppet, since Brie suffered from allergy. What else to say, the ginger cat turned into a real star, she had its own press-zone at Marvel Studios, equipped with some food, a pad and a private scratching post. Yet the cat appeared to be a tricky colleague to Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn: the first is not quite a cat person in real life, his character adores Goose, while the latter loves cats opposing to his mysterious character Talos who is afraid of them.

The major thing expected from the very beginning unfortunately came true: Brie Larson, the lead hero and the face of the movie, looks like she is too focused on her super-hero swag and being ‘too cool for school’. Standard pathetic comic book phrases sound flat and cheesy in her dialogues. At the production stage they used to say that the lead female character in Marvel Universe should be reckless, bold, decisive and a badass, like a schoolyard tomboy. But on screen it turned into a robotic imitation of teenage protest. The same unflattering words are to be said about Jude Law, though in his excuse his bombastic cardboard image was dictated by the role itself. The more interesting it was to see other actors portraying their a bit off-the-wall characters with individual charm and such an uncommon thing to action movies like warm-hearted affection.

Like any other action or sci-fi Captain Marvel is 80% logical and predictable, the thing is how to manage the other 20% of the plot and screen time. There could be many ways and tools, like a many-layer intrigue or stunning visual effects, or Easter eggs, or absurd humor (fairly used by Taika Waititi in Thor: Ragnarok). But Captain Marvel`s directors went an extra mile and put their stakes on a nostalgic and lifelike detailed picture and won the game.

Those characters who could have become nothing but motto-speaking comic book dummies have acquired emotions, temper and signature features. Young and hothead Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), still able to be surprised, is faithfully playing with the cat. Good old Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is also here. Blue-painted Lee Pace made an episode and renewed himself as Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy, contributing to his fantasy and sci-fi portfolio. Alien guy Ben Mendelsohn, all covered with prosthetic makeup, makes himself shine in his unrecognizable role due to his own drive and talent (and possibly could do even more if he had a full carte blanche for improvisation). By the way, Mendelsohn was not casted off the street: directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have already worked with him on Mississippi Grind (2014) and learned that this lad can do everything on set. Any transformation, any bold idea is fine – in Captain Marvel he actually plays two parts in a row, and it won`t be good seeing such a handsome actor hidden under the green makeup for the whole film.

The film is more entertaining than it could seem before going to cinema. It is surely not genius or innovative, visual effects are also quite familiar, there was no Age of Discovery in it. But it has style, atmosphere, spirit and sound of 1990ies (soundtrack includes NirvanaGarbage and Hole), it is a high-class entertaining film with all chances to be re-watched (for me it is a so-called quality mark). Besides it is suitable not only for 80level Marvel fans, but for lamer geeks too, since it does not require deep knowledge of any prequels and seems easy for understanding, like a beginners` Marvel guide. And surely it could not have worked without Stan Lee`s cameo, the film was a commemoration of Marvel universe`s creator.


P.S. And do not even think about leaving the theater before the final titles are over: they have Avengers: Endgame teaser inside, it is to be released on April 26, 2019.


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