Captain Marvel ★★★★★

2019 Ranked
MCU Ranked

Simultaneously Marvel at its rawest/most human and Marvel at its weirdest/wildest. The blend between co-writers/directors Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck’s character-focused, humanist style and co-writer Geneva Robertson-Dworet’s campier, more absurd/bonkers style is a blend that really shouldn’t work (especially given the constraints of the Marvel system), and yet it works seamlessly, which is a testament to not only Brie Larson’s phenomenal talents as an actress, but her ability to perfectly act as the film’s connecting thread, as well as the exemplary talent that filmmaking duo Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck possess in their fields (HALF NELSON, SUGAR and MISSISSIPPI GRIND are all so underseen that it’s criminal), especially in their ability to naturally play with genre here without ever once creating tonal whiplash. The amount of care and love that Larson, Boden, Fleck, and Robertson-Dworet all have for Carol Danvers is *astounding*, and it shows in every frame (with Boden & Fleck’s signature use of closeups, combined with Larson’s flawless facial acting, only adding more depth to Carol). As a result, Carol’s internal conflict here feels far more realized than anyone else’s in the entire MCU.

Coming from someone who has soured on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that this film works so well for me to the point where I’ve watched it several times since its release in March 2019 is very telling of how special it is when compared to the rest of the franchise, in my opinion. To get a film that is so ambitious, so creative, so wholesome (without question one of the only comic book films I’ve seen to have a legitimate beating heart at its center. The film’s emotional crux is incredibly sincere and never once feels manufactured), and so wonderfully weird in a franchise that is mostly safe and risk-averse makes it feel like one helluva anomaly. I am honestly worried about what’ll happen with the sequel (especially in regards to how Larson’s talents will be utilized) without Boden & Fleck returning (though if they end up helming a Disney+ series as rumored, I have nearly no doubts that it’ll be great), but that said, given how many films in this franchise I feel are lacking in genuine creativity and personality, I’m both amazed and incredibly overjoyed that we got this film. It makes me feel so fucking happy, and I adore it so damn much (which is very telling given that this is a Marvel production).

Tidbit: To quote Stan Lee, “That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed, without a doubt, a real superhero.” I honestly think that both CAPTAIN MARVEL and SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE have captured this quote far more than any other modern comic book films have.

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