'Captain Marvel' star Brie Larson pushes for off-screen inclusion

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Along the way, we get a bracing depiction of female friendship - pilot Maria Rambeau (newcomer Lashana Lynch), Carol's former Air Force colleague, proves herself to be this film's secret superhero - and some impressive deployment of Captain Marvel's photon-blasting hands.

Samuel L Jackson gets more screen time than usual as Nick Fury, a character he's played in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Avengers: Infinity War.

Brie Larson is receiving mixed reviews for her performance in Captain Marvel. Annette Bening does double duty as research scientist Dr. Wendy Lawson and the avatar that embodies Carol's most admired person whenever she's jacked into the Kree's Supreme Intelligence matrix.

'Captain Marvel' is an aimless superhero slog
'Captain Marvel' flies into Marvel's elevated expectations

The latest lightning-rod litmus test in our increasingly annoying culture wars is a comic book film whose lead character flies through space in a scuba suit and shoots plasma out of her palms. In that way, he's nearly more insidious a villain than any of Carol's overt enemies. There is a vibe resonating in almost every scene that the entire cast and crew were aware that they were making something they believed in, and believed would be enjoyable, and that energy is palpable in the final product. "Higher further faster baby!"

What you'll find is considerable amount of humour, a depiction of actual female friendship and mentorship (the emotional heart of the movie), Ben Mendelsohn's entertaining yet layered Skrull commander, serious 90s nostalgia value (with an awesome period soundtrack to boot) and a delightful bond between Samuel L. Jackson's de-aged Nick Fury and Goose the cat.

If you're interested in hearing our thoughts on the movie (good and spoiler-free), you can check out our full review of Brie Larsson's superhero debut.

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One supposes it's a double-edged sword, critically speaking, to make so many choices that don't feel gender specific in a story that outwardly remains an outlier in terms of the quantity (and quality) of superhero films that are not focused on white men. He doesn't quite fall in line with other recent villains like Zemo with his devious plot and tragic past or Vulture with his take-no-prisoners family loyalty, but he's cut from a very similar cloth with motivations that stem from complicated, surprisingly nuanced places and give him a real depth of character. Visual effects alone was a huge learning curve.

Now, having said all that, Captain Marvel is certainly another tweak in the formula. It's a story where she has two male mentors - one on Hala, the Kree homeworld, and one on Earth - but she is way more powerful than both Yon-Rogg and Fury, and though she learns from them, is never their subordinate. She found it amusing and odd, but she was too taken by the story to get overly distracted by those additions. The end result is fun and thrilling, even if it's not always the most surprising.

"It didn't have as numerous usual fight scenes..." McMillen added even more sparkle by topping off Larson's look with sequined star heels, custom made by Jimmy Choo. "I'm excited to share her with the world".

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Lukaku will probably be partnered by Marcus Rashford , who has recovered from an ankle problem picked up against Liverpool. Paul Pogba is arguably the most improved player at Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer .

That said, the Phase One nostalgia does seem a bit jarring at times.

I confess to being a bit lost during the first act's explanation of Carol's time on Earth, but ultimately it all came together in a completely satisfying conclusion.

But perhaps most important of all, this movie will serve to inspire women.

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Larson and Jackson have terrific buddy-movie chemistry, whether they're giving each other grief or covering each other's behinds. Her combination of arrogance but unapologetic and snarky self-awareness of the fact is hard to resist and Larson is helped tremendously by a smart story choice that all superhero movie producers should commit to memory. As Carol's knowledge of her own backstory grows, her strength and determination to be the hero she realizes is inside emerges.

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