Captain Marvel ★★★★★

94

To begin, I sought out a showing of Captain Marvel primarily because I liked what meager glimpses I saw of Brie Larson's rendition in Avengers: Endgame, and I was yearning for detail beyond that lab-designed 'cheer ready' moment, which was one of countless. I had no prior knowledge of the character, but I loved her stoicism, her plucky confidence, her sly view of the room above everyone else (especially the men), always being five billion steps ahead. So, in preparation for disappointment, I staggered into Captain Marvel as if I'd just recovered from a devastating emotional fallout (in reality, it was simply the result of a shitty movie), prepping for a sorrowful aftermath, a confirmation of the desecrated, defeated battle between art and commerce.

To my surprise, and I'm sure to many of you, dear readers, my post-film response and reaction was one of triumph and honest-to-god happiness. I'm still smiling about this goddamn movie. And not merely because of moments, but because of the relationships and set-pieces and formal details and sound-effects and laughs and colors and the creative lackadaisical wonder. To quote the heavenly scrolls of Boogie Nights: "you made a real movie, Jack."

Captain Marvel flows with energy - pulsing, radiant star-galaxy geniality and sarcastic, fearless vitality. Carol Danvers is up there with Christopher Reeves and Gal Gadot as top-tier portraits of decent, courageous heroism. Brie Larson perfectly, and I mean *perfectly*, loses herself in the maze of long-remembered memory shards and impact trauma doses and a lifetime distant within the chaos of the cosmos. She is a fucking wonder and we should all bow to her. Every close-up reveals both the exteriority and interiority of her reality. The film is tightly structured (it's not even over two hours!), but more importantly, revitalized and undaunted by the traditional Marvel limitations. Captain Marvel utilizes its compositions and sequencing to relay information through active and inactive flashbacks, snippets of visual expositions, a progression of regaining memory, in addition to re-learning Danvers' identity. Writers Anna Boden and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and directors Boden and Ryan Fleck should be commended for their electric transmission of age-old ideas into the concept of an origin story, as well connecting the spatial bridges of the past and present so evocatively.

And within all this lovely, tender, spatially fraught internal tension also happens to be a smooth buddy-cop comedy *and* (as if this isn't already wanting to make you purchase tickets for another viewing) a scrappy science-fiction plotline right out of Enemy Mine or anything else found in the one dollar rental-bin at your local Family Video. It's not mimicry, it's genuinely inspired.

And in 2019, There's no reason in offering excuses for the MCU, as the studio has proven on multiple occasions they're capable of offering an episodic functional product that simultaneously operates as a slam-bang piece of blockbuster fantasy cinema. They can have it both ways! Piles upon piles of money and a substantive, exuberant work of art, hand in hand, and Captain Marvel has it in spades. Countless minuscule particles - a line or two, a shot, an edit - of information and emotion had me shocked it was a Marvel production, and anyone crying foul over the supposed lack of style probably, most likely, had their eyelids glued shut. That they don't do it more often, and will likely continue to stray away from movies about and with representation in favor of films featuring the bare-minimum for Woke Points, is a sad example of Captain Marvel winning the battle but not the war.

A tid-bit - I really, really, and I mean really, want a remake of Jerry Lewis' The Ladies Man, but instead of a lion named Baby, it's a cat named Goose.

"Goose is loose!"

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