Brie Larson defies critics in ‘Captain Marvel’

A warm welcome for the newest heroine in the MCU

Written By Amanda Myers, Co-Features Editor

For all the kerfuffle caused by critics and incessant social media commentators in the weeks before its release, “Captain Marvel” was set up to be the downfall of an entertainment empire. Instead, the first female led Marvel movie gives rise to a pertinent new hero fit to helm the next wave of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Before we get to the emotional pit of despair coming to cinemas with “Avengers: Endgame” in April, we meet Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel). She predates the knowledge/existence of all our favorite heroes. Danvers is discovered by a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who wears a new CGI complexion. Their relationship is one of the strongest points of the film, and establishes grounds for how Fury reacts with future heroes (i.e. Iron Man).

Like any superhero origin story, there is the questioning of one’s powers and identity, but in Danvers’ case, it comes as a more immediate element. She has spent most of her life with a foggy memory of her past under the assumed name of Vers. She’s an alien of sorts, living on the planet Hala with a burgeoning mentor (played by Jude Law), waiting to realize her true potential.

The first act of the film features sequences that shift back and forth from Danvers former life as an air force pilot to her current plight as a member of the galactic army Starforce. These foggy moments are a reminder that Danvers has yet to discover who she really is, or who she wants to be.

When she’s not contemplating her life’s trajectory, the world around Danvers serves as a cultural escape through a whole lot of 90s nostalgia. Our hero crashes into a Blockbuster upon her arrival on Earth, dons a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt for most of the movie and has some killer action sequences to songs like “I’m Just A Girl” and “Come As You Are.”

If there was any doubt that Larson couldn’t deliver as the strongest superhero in the MCU, you may want to check her out in “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” for reference.

She plays a jilted lover with a penchant for electro pop. Now, swap out lover with fighter and electro pop for alt rock and you’ve got a new brand of hero.

Larson brings a charm to Danvers and relishes in her abilities. She has fun defying expectations, like embracing help from Fury and turning on those that she thought she could place her trust in.

She forms an unlikely alliance with Talos, a Skrull who have a rivalry with her supposed race of people: the Krees. Ben Mendelsohn plays the unsupposing extraterrestrial who gives the movie a jilt of “Guardians of the Galaxy” type humor. He has some of the best one-liners in the film (watch for that subtle “Pulp Fiction” reference).

And lets not forget another scene stealer: Goose the cat. Who thought the MCU needed a furry companion to save the planet?

“Captain Marvel” gives Larson all the tools she needs to establish herself in a universe where she is the first Marvel hero. There is no link to the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” save for a particular post credits scene, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for her in the post-apocalyptic world.

It should be fun to see her interchange banter with the likes of Captain America. The jokes write themselves, with Danvers – and Larson – set up well for upcoming changes in the galaxy.