Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and Jude Law, Captain Marvel is the first female-led superhero film produced by Marvel Studios. Politics and social agenda aside, Captain Marvel is an entertaining, though not fully satisfying, chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Kickstarted by Captain America: Civil War and to be concluded by Avengers: Endgame coming next month, Phase 3 of the MCU contains some of the best films produced by Marvel Studios, including the hilarious Thor: Ragnarok, the ruminative Black Panther, and of course the ultimate blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War. Standing among these critical and commercial giants, Captain Marvel, a Phase 1-type superhero origin film through and through, manages to stand on its own as a thoroughly enjoyable Marvel flick.

The story of the film is relatively generic and straightforward, bar a few surprises and told in a rather strangely convoluted way. There is also not a huge amount of conflict or tension - all in all; it is not vastly different from most other MCU origin films. However, Marvel Studios understands that its strength lies in its characters. Despite flimsy plotting, with 120 minutes, this film has made me grow attached to the new hero, and I am more than happy to see her join the other MCU flagship heroes such as Iron Man and Captain America.

Brie Larson’s depiction of Carol Danvers was hard to put into words. It is not necessarily emotionless or flat, rather, I think I would use the word “determined”. Without putting a whole range of facial movements on her face, she successfully conveyed the charisma and strength that radiates from within. Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as Director Fury. His absolutely fun and enthusiastic performance, with truly compelling de-aging CGI, allows him to dominate every scene he is in. The chemistry between the main cast, including Goose the “cat”, carries the blander moments in the screenplay.

Unexpectedly, contrary to many MCU origin films, Captain Marvel does not suffer from an unenergetic and fatigued second act – the time between gaining powers, and facing the final villain. As a matter of fact, I find Captain Marvel ‘s second act the most compelling part of the story. Captain Marvel’s discovery of her own past and family is the most emotional and poignant part of the film. And when the third act arrives, along with the cacophony of explosions and punches, the film actually becomes rather dull.

Overall, with lovable characters, dedicated performances and a killer post-credit sneak peek, Captain Marvel is a mid-tier MCU film that serves as a sufficient, but familiar, origin story for a brand new hero.

-3.5 stars