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Captain Marvel Reminds Us Why We Go To The Movies

Memories of the cinema are something to be cherished. Some more than others, of course. And in different ways. Booms and bangs that have you euphorically jumping in your seat. A five-star masterpiece that stays in your heart for all time. A hilarious caper that had you snorting out your popcorn. Drifting off into those kinds of moments is a wonder in itself.

I remember a particularly drizzly, rainy morning. The local market was a huge disappointment. Everyone seemed to be at different stages of various minor illnesses. And off we headed, just walked, beyond the park, over the bridge – the day was in unknown territory. The rain eased off, I believe the sun even made a non-dramatic appearance.

Were we going to walk around the town? Jump on a train and go somewhere? When you hear “I’m taking command.” from the matriarch of the family, it’s quite exhilarating to go with the flow. I knew then it wasn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill day. Or maybe it was, and I was foolish to allow my childlike instincts to jump to the forefront.

By the time we got indoors, and into the elevator, I was privately guessing where we were going. To the coffee place? Where I could perhaps have something with caramel or shortbread or chocolate – or all three. That anticipation dispersed as the elevator kept on going, beyond my assumed destination, and to the very next floor. Leaving the elevator, we followed our leader, to the only other viable venue: the cinema.

“And there tends to be that excited hee-hee grin when you’re settled and ready for the movie.”

Yes, yes, yes. We were going to see a movie. Always a thrilling prospect. But which one? My mind was blank. Where is the board with the showtimes? Will I get to pick? Again, the rush of not-quite-knowing was blood-swirling. Sometimes, in the foyer, you kind of feel like you’re dancing in your headless chicken excitement. And on purchasing the tickets, I was super-psyched. I think I was like “Yeah!” to the first movie suggestion. Let’s do this.

And you know the comfort zone drill from here. Finding the row numbers/letters. Shuffling the family into suitable seating arrangements – you go there; you sit between her and him; he wants that seat; she wants to sit on the end. Subconsciously calibrating the big screen’s angle. Slipping your coat off while seated (feels like a Houdini-esque exercise sometimes, right?). And there tends to be that excited hee-hee grin when you’re settled and ready for the movie. Sometimes out loud, sometimes to yourself, sometimes you just think you’re doing it.

And to boot, I was soon handed a bag of – I guess they used to call them pick ‘n’ mix – candies. Too dark to see inside the paper back, but you’ve already stuck your hand in. Chocolate circles with itty-bitty bobbles on the surface. Yep, know what they are – get in! And soft cubes – please be fudge, please be fudge. Yes! And a bottle of fizzy, bitter lemonade. My God, I was being spoiled.

I know, I know, I’m far too specific with the wondrous details, especially as the movie has not even started yet. But this was all only two days ago.

Captain Marvel

And funny side story: we were told the wrong screen number. So when The Lego Movie 2 certificate filled the screen, the wife and I looked at each other, a little befuddled. The four of us gather our belongings, and dash out, across the way, to the correct screen. Just in time it seems.

“Captain Marvel is a palpable flourish of a movie.”

So, the four of us being: my extraordinary wife, our 6 year-old daughter, and 3-years-old-in-3-days son. In fact, this would be his first cinema experience that he was aware of. And yeah, Captain Marvel is certified 12a, so sue me. They both seemed captivated by the illuminating energy in front of them. And I guess you can include their marshmallow sticks/chew bars there.

As for Captain Marvel, my general impression is that this is why we go to the movies, isn’t it? Not so we can abide the trolls on Twitter, or let awards seasons grind us down, or dwell on the negative, the political, the whatnots of the film world. No, we embrace the big, bold entertainment coming at us in the dark. Uninhibited celluloid pleasure. For which, even with a few narrative hiccups, whatever your tastes, Captain Marvel ticks so many of the right boxes.

When I first heard that Brie Larson would become Captain Marvel for the film version, I was a little apprehensive. Only because I didn’t make a compelling connection between the actress and a comic book movie. Definitely my own blatant, very brief misjudgement – I have never doubted Larson’s ability and versatility.

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is a palpable flourish of a movie. The Kree and the Skrulls squabble, both having seemingly valid arguments for dispute. A physically CGI’d and toned-down in character Samuel L. Jackson, has compelling chemistry with Brie Larson’s Vers. There are feel-good moments of friendship, feel-almighty bouts of kick-ass, as well as some organic comic moments (checking out how endowed a Skrull might be down there).

“I also got goosebumps when I saw the cluster of posters for The Smashing Pumpkins monster album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.”

The real energetic double-punch here, would be the nostalgic 90s references, and Brie Larson herself. Both elements perfectly utilised when Vers flips a newspaper away from none other than the late, great Stan Lee – Larson’s wry smile right back is one of familiarity and respect. The film, and the universe, pretty much halts for a second.

When Vers plummets through the roof of a Blockbusters store, my mind went flashback-crazy. She wanders the aisles, not sure where exactly she is, only to stop at a video box of The Right Stuff – a reference to her aviation origin story, for sure.

Several lines, too, form a kind of whimsy back-track of our memories. The “dressed for laser tag” descriptive is finely-tuned to the sartorial distinction that might befall none-heroic folk. And Vers wondering why everyone is waiting for the grey box to disappear signifies those old internet speeds – “It’s loading”, Nick Fury states nonchalantly; even the bystander Skrull rolls his eyes impatiently.

I also got goosebumps when I saw the cluster of posters for The Smashing Pumpkins monster album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Man, was that 28-tracker a shoulder to cry on. Speaking of the soundtrack, so many of the songs jumped straight out of my youth. “Connection” by Elastica, “Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage, “Just a Girl” by No Doubt – and two in particular that urged me to rush home and crank up the speakers: Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” and Hole’s “Celebrity Skin”.

“Blowing hair from her fringe mid-chase, or making the grandest of entrances, Larson is infectiously wonderful.”

The film’s music score, by Turkish composer Pinar Toprak, is pretty riveting too. She contributes to the well-edited action sequences, as well as providing much of the euphoric impressions. You can listen to the full score here:

You should check out the official website too. You’ll love it.

And then there is Brie Larson. Having now seen Captain Marvel, there is simply no match for the recent Oscar-winner. Fitting the role of the identity-troubled super-heroine like a glove. And with those glowing pincers, that’d have to be some durable hand-wear. The joy she exudes when her hands are finally released, with a light-splashing clap of the hands, is just too good a buzz to behold.

Larson gives her avenger a true sense of humour with ease. Shrugging off the too-emotional-to-control-her-power reputation with a glint in the eye. And she’s got the sarcasm nailed down too – when was the last time Samuel L. Jackson was so mocked: “Want me to get you an oven mitt?”. Blowing hair from her fringe mid-chase, or making the grandest of entrances, Larson is infectiously wonderful.

Captain Marvel

Fair to say I was the most pumped throughout this whole adventure. At times wishing my daughter would stop fidgeting and my son would stop talking. Arguably so that I would not miss anything, rather than the courtesy of others in the auditorium.

And to my wife. Thank you for this cinema outting. A generous, scrumptious human being, I consider the best start to any day. I know I’m all Brie Larson this, Brie Larson that, but remember, I married you. A true marvel.


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