Film Review: CAPTAIN MARVEL (USA 2019) ***

Captain Marvel Poster
Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Directors:

Anna BodenRyan Fleck

Writers:

Anna Boden (screenplay by), Ryan Fleck (screenplay by)| 6 more credits »

CAPTAIN MARVEL turns out to be more a franchise moneymaker in the Marvel Comics Universe than a film.  At the end, the audience reads that CAPTAIN MARVEL will next be seen in the AVENGERS: ENDGAME film while a sequel is likely already in the process (the film ends with the Kree promising: we will return for the woman).  Exiting the theatre and immediate in sight are a row of empty ready to use buckets of popcorn with the Captain Marvel imprinted around its sides that tells it all.

The film opens with Carol Danvars, an ex-U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and member of an elite Kree military unit called Starforce.   Her DNA was fused with that of a Kree during an accident, imbuing her with superhuman strength, energy projection.   Danvers is a believer in truth and justice and a “bridge between Earth and space, who must balance her “unemotional” Kree side that is an “amazing fighter” with her “flawed” human half that is the thing that she ends up leading by.  This is tested by her mentor played by Judd Law, all buffed up and looking good for this role.

Danvars cannot remember her past but it is revealed later on in the film that everything she had believed in is a lie.  Even those she thought were the villains were not.  As such, the film suffers the lack of a true evil villain.

Though the film has a very weak storyline, the film puts emphasis on the relationship between Danvars and other characters – like her and her mentor and her and her best friend, Maria Ramveau  (Lashana Lynch) in the airforce.  Unfortunately, the result is still quite un-engaging.  

The film benefits from it its leading stars – Brie Lawson (from ROOM) and Samuel L. Jackson.  Larson took judo and wrestling classes before taking on the role.  Jackson lifts the spirit of the film with his comic and somewhat over-the-top portrayal of Nick Fury, the future leader of S.H.I.E.L.D.  He is seen here without his eye patch before he lost his eye.  Watch out for that part, which makes the film’s most hilarious moment.   This is where Jackson gets to utter his signature ‘motherf*****’ phrase.  (Jackson utters this phrase in almost every movie he is in.)
The big question then is whether the film is any good.  CAPTAIN MARVEL has a very thin plot and a story that really does not mean anything despite saving the earth and Universe in some form or other.  The special effects and CGI take over, and the film establishes the woman CAPTAIN MARVEL as yet another action super hero – and a strong one at that.  So, the film achieves its aim of establishing CAPTAIN MARVEL in the Marvel Universe while making lots of money, but the answer to whether it is really any good is debatable.  But the film should bring 2019’s box-office, currently in the doldrums up several notches after the film debuts the first two weeks.  And audiences will flock to see these action hero films, even when they are plain awful like BATMAN V. SUPERMAN or AQUAMAN.
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1BCujX3pw8

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Film Review: KONG: SKULL ISLAND (USA 2017) ***

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kong_skull_island.jpgDirector: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Writers: Dan Gilroy (screenplay), Max Borenstein (screenplay)
Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson

Review by Gilbert Seah

 There have been already too many films on King Kong. The first and most memorable one for me was the 1962 campy Japanese version entitled KONG KONG VS. GODZILLA where audiences were treated to the climatic fight between the two monsters executed by actors in monster suits. The KING KONG films have been improved in terms of special effects. Even Peter Jackson had a go at it in the horrid 2005 version with an overlong attack by Kong on NYC. This latest edition is a reboot with two writers Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and a new director Vogt-Roberts whose only other film is an indie called THE KINGS OF SUMMER. But this new version takes a bit from each of the previous King Kong films, in fact the best from them, resulting in a satisfactory adventure film filled with special effects, action and much more humour.

The film begins very oddly in the year 1944 when a Japanese and American pilot are both shot down on Skull Island in the South Pacific (hints of HELL IN THE PACIFIC), They fight each other, only to be interrupted by the appearance of the giant Kong. Flash forward to 1973

when former British Special Air Service Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) is hired by government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman) to guide an expedition to map out an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean known as “Skull Island”. Randa also recruits the Sky Devils helicopter squadron led by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) to escort them to the island, and the group is later joined by pacifist photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), who believes the scientific expedition to be a cover for an illegal military operation and plans to expose it. There, they find Kong as well as the American pilot, Marlow (John C. Reilly) now older, having lived there for 28 years.

The island is also the home of other giant creatures, the most fearsome being the Skullcrawlers, the biggest one of which battles Kong at the film’s climax, similar to the fight between King Kong and Godzilla. The other action segments involve the characters battling other monsters including a spider, ants and flying pterodactyl-like birds. The characters are trying to get to the north of the island in order to be rescued.

The Conrad and Mason characters form the boring romantic couple of the story. Fortunately, Vogt-Roberts treats their romance as slight. The more interesting characters are Packard portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, obsessed by his aim to kill Kong. There has hardly been a single film in which Jackson has not uttered the words mother f***er. So wait for this special scene. Reilly also steals the show as the comical Marlow who saves Kong.

The new take on the King Kong story actually works. At least the audience is spared from Kong being brought back to American to climb the Empire State building. But Kong still has the ‘hots’ for Brie Larson.

But most important is to stay till after the end credits. In the comical post-credits scene that primes the audience for a sequel, Conrad and Weaver are detained by Monarch and informed that Kong is not the only monster to roam the world. They are then shown archive footage of cave paintings depicting Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP0-9FBs2Rs

_________

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Happy Birthday: Brie Larson

brielarson.jpgBrie Larson

Born: October 1, 1989 in Sacramento, California, USA

It’s very scary to allow the world to see you.

It’s really hard to see yourself and to recognize that you are a human being like everybody else. You just think everybody’s judging you.

I’m so used to swimming with the piranhas. And they’re really not that bad.

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