Mario’s Movies: ‘Captain Marvel’

By Mario Ricciardi

Okay, so here’s a quick etymology lesson that you didn’t know you needed. Marvel in the name Captain Marvel is actually pronounced “Mar-vel.” Not like Marvel Comics who created her. Additionally, Marvel Comics “Captain Marvel” is not to be confused with the Captain Marvel owned by DC Comics. That Captain Marvel is a totally different superhero, and his name is pronounced like Marvel comics. His movie is coming out in April under the title “Shazam.”

Not as confusing anymore, right? Well if you found this lesson insightful, sign up today for Etymology Stone with Mario. In four small payments of $39.95, you can learn how to speak fluent nerd. Order within the next half hour and we’ll throw in our “Keepin Klingon Kwik” DVD.

For “Captain Marvel” to give its full effect, I would recommend that one simply lets go. Sit back, throw any preconceived notions of what a superhero movie should be out the window and relax. I’m not saying this because the superhero in question is female; if that’s something you’re still stuck on, consider getting over it.

The notions that need to be dismissed deal with the structure of the movie. “Captain Marvel” boldly infuses the origin story formula with dreams, fractured memories and plot twists on top of plot twists. The movie is a mixture of Marvel superhero blockbuster, any ’90s independent film shot in California and “Top Gun” meets 1950s sci-fi.

The movie has a lot going on, but if you embrace the cool visuals and charismatic actors when things get confusing, you can rest assured that everything will explain itself shortly. “Captain Marvel” is about the extraterrestrial Kree warrior Vers and her quest to save an entire civilization. Having fallen to earth, she must figure out not only who she can trust, but if she can trust herself.

With a narrative stringing together fractured and implanted memories along with a civilization of shape shifting-aliens, “Captain Marvel” is not too far from being neo-noir. But where most neo-noir is dark and gritty, “Captain Marvel” has the bright and beautiful locations and epic kaleidoscopic visuals to keep things fun — not to mention Brie Larson lights up the screen, literally and figuratively.

Serving as a symbol for both hope and inspiration, Brie Larson surpasses everything our 2013 Superman should have been. She’s just as powerful, has just as much at risk and radiates empowerment instead of keeping it to herself. The supporting cast puts in the work too, with just about everyone in the movie having one of those faces you just want to look at.

Also, special props to all the actors who played a Skrull alien. Not only were they effective in their performance, but they were so caked under layers of makeup.

Overall, “Captain Marvel” is a bright look for the MCU that takes risks to shake up the origin story formula. Despite the fact that the film suffers from a weak first act, can be difficult to follow and doesn’t completely rise to the epicness of Wonder Woman, “Captain Marvel” is still a pretty cool movie.

??? (3/5 Penguins)