smread’s review published on Letterboxd:
The elephant in the room discussing Captain Marvel is that it is the 21st movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first with a woman as the solo lead. Despite having the glass ceiling of woman lead superhero being shattered by the Distinguished Competition across the aisle, there was still significant pressure on Captain Marvel beyond a traditional MCU vehicle.
For me Captain Marvel delivers a vital freshness to the MCU. Despite having strong characters in Black Widow, The Wasp, and the various supporting roles in Black Panther - Captain Marvel is unique in not only being a title character but being imbued with the physical gifts that exceed any other character in the MCU.
The challenge faced by this movie was to integrate Captain Marvel into a shared universe that has existed for 20 previous movies. It does this by setting Captain Marvel in the 90s and in more ways than one establishing itself as a stealth prequel. This has the added benefit of letting the viewer spend time with a young Nick Fury who does perhaps the most work he's done so far in the MCU.
However going from a room to a galaxy it is Brie Larson to whom this movie owes most. The amnesia play is a well worn trope but works effectively in Captain Marvel. Almost too effectively as I lament for a terrestrial Brie Larson fighter pilot movie.
Captain Marvel is at its weakest in the beginning of the movie as Larson muscles the movie along with her charisma. The final act is where Captain Marvel distinguishes itself in the genre. While I maintain Man of Steel has the best superhero fight choreography, the power behind Captain Marvel is kinetic and great.
Avengers: Infinity War was one of my least favorite movies of 2018 and Endgame felt like a looming inevitability. Captain Marvel has made me excited to see Endgame which is perhaps the best praise I can give it.