Parents need to know that "Captain Marvel" is the first female-led superhero movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's an "Avengers" prequel, telling the story of how Air Force pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) becomes Captain Marvel, one of the most powerful superheroes ever. While there's plenty of action violence (including guns/weapons), most of it is of a sci-fi/fantasy nature, with just a couple of curse words ("s--t" being the strongest). The film offers several positive messages related to perseverance, integrity, and more, but the greatest takeaway is watching a fearless, confident, mighty woman become a superhero. Carol Danvers is a fantastic role model: She always sees herself as capable, she's not objectified, male counterparts recognize her intelligence and strength, and she has a strong sense of integrity. Women support women, the characters are diverse, ageism is non-existent, and romance doesn't figure into things at all.
WHAT'S THE STORY?
"Captain Marvel's" origin story begins as Kree warrior Vers (Brie Larson) visits Earth on a mission to stop a shape-shifting alien infiltration. She teams up with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to save the planet from a war between two alien races. As she regains lost memories, she realizes the extent of her own powers and develops into the universe's most powerful superhero.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
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"Captain Marvel" is a fairly paint-by-the-numbers superhero flick, but that doesn't lessen its powerful impact. The story is basic but still engrossing, enthralling, and rewarding on many levels, just one of which is seeing Marvel's first female superhero get her own movie. It's an "Avengers" origin story as well as that of Captain Marvel herself, which doubles the glee, especially the introduction of a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). While each "Avengers" movie is funnier than the last, "Captain Marvel" returns to "Captain America"-level humor, while keeping the themes simple and the action frequent. One of the "Avengers" franchise's strongest story elements has been encouraging audiences to look at a situation from both perspectives – this film continues in that tradition by embracing a perspective shift.
Carol Danvers is an ideal female heroine: She's Katniss Everdeen without the self-doubt, Wonder Woman without the sexualization, and Black Widow without the moral complexity. With an Everywoman charm, Larson quickly convinces viewers that she's the right woman to be Marvel's most powerful superhero: Girls everywhere can see themselves in her. And, by the way, there's no reason boys can't as well. The most amazing feat of the film is that Larson's character is somewhat gender neutral – the viewers won't necessarily think, "wow, that's a WOMAN landing those punches"– instead, they're likely to think, "wow, what a great superhero."
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 10 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Positive messages: 4 out of 5
Positive role models: 5 out of 5
Violence: 3 out of 5
Sex: 0 out of 5
Language: 3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5
Consumerism: 2 out of 5
In theaters: March 8, 2019
Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Run time: 124 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13
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