Captain Marvel

This image released by Disney-Marvel Studios shows Brie Larson in a scene from “Captain Marvel.”

"Captain Marvel”

Marvel Studios

Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Starring Brie Larson, Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, ben Mendelsohn and Clark Gregg

Rated PG-13

3 Stars

The new “Captain Marvel” movie comes close to living up to its name, although, as my niece pointed out as we left the theater, it’s not as good as last year’s “Avengers: Infinity War” or “Black Panther.”

That might be a bit unfair as very few films can hit those high standards. I suspect that most audiences will be very happy simply meeting this long-awaited addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Our first introduction to our titular heroine comes as she’s in training as part of the Kree Starforce, a band of blue-skinned “noble warrior heroes” who are dispatched in a clandestine mission against the Skrull, the shape-shifting alien species that are presented as being deadly terrorists.

I’m guessing that those who aren’t well versed in comic book history might be rolling your eyes at this set up. “Captain Marvel” starts off by throwing a lot of characters and species at you without any explanation as to what’s happening. It’s a bit confusing, but things become clearer when Captain Marvel, known here as Vers (Brie Larson) finally crashes through the roof of a Blockbuster Video store in 1995.

This is how our heroine meets a digitally youthened Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his amazing cat, Goose. She will learn about her forgotten past on planet C-53, otherwise known as Earth, and that her friends and enemies are all hiding plenty of secrets. Most importantly, she will learn to access her amazing, god-like superpowers.

This is a tricky situation because a hero is measured by the villains she must defeat. When she is an all-powerful intergalactic being, it’s hard to get too worked up over her adventure. There’s never any doubt that she will triumph, and while it’s still a lot of fun to cheer on this girl power story, it’s far removed from being the stuff of great drama.

This film does have some very nice elements that push it closer to marvelous territory. Brie Larson is very good in the title role and the cat comes pretty close to stealing the show here. The final fight sequences are very exciting, and as is true to form with most Marvel movies, the film is filled with a lot of very funny moments. I also enjoyed getting Nicky Fury’s backstory, and the stand-alone tribute to Stan Lee that plays before the movie is almost worth the price of admission alone.

All of which makes “Captain Marvel” into a better than average superhero adventure, but one that’s not quite on the same level as some of Marvel Studios’ latest movies. Then again, I am guessing that many audiences will be looking at this film as a warm up for next month’s “Avenger: Endgame” finale, and if the audience reaction to the first credit cut scene is any indication, they will be very happy getting to know “Captain Marvel.”

The film may not be quite marvelous, but it comes pretty close at times.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are each week in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@sbgtv.com.