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Brie Larson's 'Captain Marvel' training included how to make a cool face

07 March 2019

When a rescue mission goes sideways Vers is abducted by the Skrulls who attempt to search her memory for information they desperately seek, but their efforts also begin to jostle her amnesia in the process. With a soundtrack packed full of vintage '90s earworms and a delightfully unselfconscious sense of humor, Captain Marvel pulls off a satisfying introduction to the hero who may be our Avengers: Endgame trump card.

And while she may not be able to mutate into a certain green monster *cough* Hulk *cough*, why would she need to when she already has superhuman strength?

Does Captain Marvel have an end-credits scene? Those instincts serve them well in "Captain Marvel", which is less bombastic, more humane and easier to relate to than the other Marvel movies. "There is precious little texture or detail, ups and downs, or emotions of any kind in her performance".

Eschewing what could have been a cliché dynamic of having them bicker only to bond in the finale, Carol and Nick pretty quickly form a trust and an easy rapport, and you can see how and why Larson and Jackson have seemingly formed an off-screen bond as well after this, their third film together. There's no denying that Larson is a talented actor, but she's tasked with breathing life into a character who seems to change in name only.

In a review headed with the words "It's no Black Panther", he accuses Captain Marvel of "unimaginative plotting, cut-rate villains [and] a bland visual style". That ends up being one of the movie's most fun moments.

The latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe now has a score of 67 (based on 37 assessments so far) on reviews aggregate site Metacritic, well below last year's series high of 87 achieved by Black Panther. With the exception of a mid-credits scene that takes place after the events of 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, the primary connection here is Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), largely pre-eye patch and sporting a full head of hair, who shows up when Larson's odd being crashes to Earth claiming to be a soldier engaged in a massive alien war, many galaxies away.

As we get ever deeper into the lore and films of the MCU, it's going to be harder and harder for these tropes to seem fresh, but on the whole Boden and Fleck do a great job shaking up what we've come to expect from a superhero debut.

Jackson Walk Carpet at L.A. Premiere
And Larson, a perceptive, low-key actor, carries the whole affair capably; she smiles just the right amount, which is not a lot . The film has been praised by critics for its 90s vibe and with it, we'll get a whole backstory of the character.

The wearing of flannel, the use of the Alta Vista search engine and much bopping to Garbage and Hole all place the story in the 1990s - 1995, to be exact - but confusion about identity is timeless.

"I'm grateful to everyone I met this evening", she added.

"We're telling a female story, but it's not good enough to just be like, 'You just hired a female lead and then we did it!'", Larson said. (She left Earth in 1989 so it's feasible one of the last things she saw was Bruce Willis' mug smirking it up in the Moonlighting finale.) To be clear, she's an entertaining presence, but the film's most powerful moments are steered by other characters.

Larson spoke with Total Film for its February 8 issue about her dual role of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel and what piqued her interest in tackling the part. (Hint: It has the highest concentration of pubs outside the Trappist system.) It's also where she happens to crash-land after a tussle with a race of shapeshifters called the Skrulls. The comments were aimed at Larson in part for telling Marie Claire magazine she had noticed the critics covering her films were "overwhelmingly white male".

Despite featuring the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first woman lead character, Captain Marvel sticks to the overarching franchise formula. Akira Akbar is instantly endearing as Maria's whip-smart daughter Monica.

Those not intimately acquainted with the comic books might find the film a bit slow to start - until Captain Marvel, sent to Earth to battle the Skrulls, crash-lands in a Blockbuster Video store.

Brie Larson's 'Captain Marvel' training included how to make a cool face