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Captain Marvel

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By Joanna Langfield

Not exactly marvelous, this origins story eventually warms up, takes flight and wins us over.

An appealing Brie Larson brings an actually interesting element to this Captain with a mysterious past. Her Carol Danvers is strong and sweet, a woman who can be a true friend to men and women, and still have the assuredness to remind a former mentor “I have nothing to prove to you”. Larson is not the knockout Gal Gadot is in Wonder Woman. She makes her Captain more of a “real”, as much as any superhero can be, woman of wonder.

Much of this, I’m sure, is thanks to the actress herself, but also the screenwriting and directing team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Newcomers to the mega budget super-genre, Boden and Fleck seen overwhelmed with the initial set up here. Early scenes don’t feel immersive, we’re watching good actors run around obvious sets, doing and saying what so many have done before. But soon, Sam Jackson and an absolutely wonderful Ben Mendelsohn show up and the fun these movies can deliver begins.

As one who found herself in tears, big, hot juicy ones at that, not once but three times during Wonder Woman, I was curious how moved I would be, seeing this Marvel heroine take to the screen. At first, the only emotional moment that got me, along with the rest of the audience, was seeing Stan Lee, in a somewhat longer than usual cameo. But then, almost quietly, messages made their way into a lump in my throat. The heart of this story is a female friendship and, I mean, how refreshing is that? And one scene, involving flashbacks of human fortitude, really did hit my heart. And leave me thinking if Captain Marvel’s around, things just might turn out ok.

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