MOVIE REVIEW: Marvellous new hero worth the wait
CAROL Danvers may be' just a girl', but that's more than enough to headline her own superhero origin story.
Fans have waited more than a decade for a woman to helm a solo film in Marvel's Cinematic Universe, so anticipation is, understandably, high.
Captain Marvel tells the story of how fighter pilot Danvers (Brie Larson), presumed dead in a test flight accident, gains her powers and ends up as a recruit of the intergalactic military team Starforce under the mentorship of Yon-Rogg (Jude Law).
With only fleeting memories of her life on earth, Danvers has been groomed for her spot on Yon-Rogg's elite team of Kree operatives. She's urged to control her powers and keep her sassy sense of humour, largely lost on the Krees, to herself.
Even in her training, Danvers' resilience and determination are evident. Every time she's knocked down, she gets up and a punch in the face won't stop her from delivering her next punchline.
When she finally gets the blessing of the planet's AI leader The Supreme Intelligence, which takes human form as Annette Bening, Danvers is chomping at the bit to see some action.
The Krees are engaged in an interplanetary war with the Skrulls, a race of shape shifters who can take on the form of anyone they see down to the DNA. It makes these so-called terrorists hard to flush out of hiding.
When Danvers is captured by the enemy during a mission, she gets a glimpse of their technology before escaping in a pod which crashes on earth - at a Blockbuster to be precise.
The video store is the first visual clue it's the 1990s, a time before mobile phones and wi-fi.
Dressed like a futuristic power ranger, she's like a stranger on her home planet when she encounters a young Nick Fury (a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson) and his new S.H.I.E.L.D. cadet Coulson (Clarke Gregg).
They soon find themselves together in a cat-and-house game with Kree leader Talos (an almost unrecognisable Ben Mendelsohn), uncovering clues about Danvers' former life along the way.
Larson and Jackson have great chemistry, with their fury sidekick Goose the cat stealing many of his scenes.
Captain Marvel is set to a fantastic '90s soundtrack, with the musical highlight being a fight scene in which Danvers kicks some serious butt to No Doubt's new-wave anthem Just a Girl. It's a moment that will have girls pumping their fists in the belief that 'hey, we too can save the day'.
Once she discovers who she is and unleashes her full powers, it's clear why Fury chose to send Danvers an SOS at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
If anyone can defeat Thanos, then it's this super-powered woman.
The film also helps to explain why Danvers has been missing from all the Avengers action so far, and, refreshingly, there's no romantic subplot like Marvel has done in the past with the Black Widow/Bruce Banner and the Scarlet Witch/Vision.
Make sure you stay through the credits to see the teaser for her return in Avengers: Endgame.
As the Avengers series continues down a darker path, Captain Marvel is the shining beacon of fun the MCU needed.
Captain Marvel opens in cinemas tomorrow.
Stars: Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Mckenna Grace, Gemma Chan.
Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Verdict: 4/5 stars