- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Marvel Comic’s cosmic super heroine’s $1 billion blockbuster debut flies to ultra-high definition infused home theaters in Captain Marvel: Cinematic Universe Edition (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, 124 minutes, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $39.99).

Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who also co-wrote the screenplay, take viewers on an emotional and action-packed ride as they reveal the origins of two key characters in the Marvel universe and deliver a story tied to Marvel Studio’s producer Kevin Feige’s grander opus of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Viewers first find Vers, aka Carol Danvers and aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), as an amnesiac Kree warrior of mysterious origins working with her brethren and mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) on a mission to rescue a spy that has infiltrated their mortal enemies, the shape-shifting Skrulls.

Events lead her to a 1990s Los Angeles where she meets a young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Nicholas Joseph Fury (Samuel L Jackson perfectly de-aged 25 years). They work together to find scientist Wendy Lawson (Annette Benning), who could be the key to light speed technology as well as reveal the true intentions of the Kree and Skrull races.

Spaceship battles, period humor (the Blockbuster scene will immediately capture nostalgia hounds), poignant plot twists and performances from Miss Larson, Mr. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn (as a Skrull named Talos) will keep viewers invested throughout Carol Danvers saga.

Comic book fans will also find plenty to love including meeting the Kree military unit Starforce (Gemma Chan, Att-Lass, Korath the Pursuer and Bron-Char), Ronin the Accuser and Captain Marvel’s unusual cat; getting a glimpse at the original green Captain Marvel uniform; encountering the original Captain Mar-Vell; seeing another appearance by Stan Lee; and watching the flaming comic book warrior in deep space (with a fiery Mohawk no less).

For the record, despite trolls trying to submarine Miss Larson’s acting for being too wooden (not smiling enough), she handles the role flawlessly.

Although not as impactful as “Captain America: Civil War” or as joyous as “Thor: Ragnarok” or “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Captain Marvel” still delivers what the late Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics has been about for the last roughly seven decades: a super-powered saga with flawed main characters that manage their self-doubt and new powers to rise up and become ultimate heroes.

Note: (small spoiler alert) My question after watching Captain Marvel unleash her glowing Thor-like destructive cosmic superpowers is how does she not show up in “Avengers: Infinity War” and just squash Thanos before he ever gets near the Infinity Stones?

4K in action: With plenty of bytes to spare due to the film being shot on high-end digital cameras (up to 8K no less) resolution, the ultimate UHD, high dynamic range presentation still looks a bit muted and not the punch in the eye I would have expected.

Still, watching an energy core explosion that bathes Carol in blue plasma waves or Captain Marvel riding outside of a ship as she burns through the earth’s atmosphere will have digital cinemaphiles take notice.

Further clarity and color shine while appreciating a Skrull autopsy; a space battle within a purple nebula; and watching the flawless computerized special effects that de-aged not only Mr. Jackson but Clark Gregg (as rookie S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson).

Best extras: The bundled Blu-ray offers only a smattering of goodies for fans including six featurettes, deleted scenes, a gag reel and an optional commentary track.

Most important is the entire film commentary by the director offering a targeted discussion when inspired.

They direct plenty of praise on the cast and crew and touch on topics such as the Stan Lee tribute, the close-quarters combat rehearsals between Mr. Law and Miss Larson, character motivations, locations, key story points, the “mind frack” sequence (learning about Carol and her past), creating a 1990s street mall and de-aging actors.

Also worth watching are the roughly 23 minutes of production featurettes covering a too-serious explanation about bringing Miss Larson on as a super-powered female hero into the Marvel Cinematic universe, the origins of Nick Fury, Captain Marvel’s character complexities, the Kree and Skrulls and a feisty alien cat named Goose.

Also, take a look at the six deleted scenes (9 minutes in total) that include revealing Yon-Roggs’ Supreme Intelligence virtual form, his work with Kree school kids and Captain Marvel’s extended meeting with a sexist biker.

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