A HOST of billion-dollar franchises are set to crank out fresh instalments this year – mostly from the House of Mouse.
We have a new Spider-Man coming, Star Wars IX, Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, Toy Story 4 and Avengers: Endgame.
But before all that comes this — what can legitimately be classed as a prequel to the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the mid-Nineties we meet Veers (Brie Larson), who has been adopted into a race of aliens called the Kree and mentored by a character played by Jude Law (names would be spoilers). She has an incredible, untamed superpower.
The Kree are at war with the Skrulls, a shape-shifting alien race who are seemingly intent on all things bad.
Veers suffers from amnesia and is unable to remember her origins.
Flashbacks offer snapshots of an “event” that gave Veers her alien powers and got her entangled in this galactic war.
The war spills over to Earth and while Veers hunts down the enemy, she begins to piece together her history.
She learns she was once Carol Danvers, a pilot.
Along this journey she bumps into a young Nick Fury. (This is the first time I have seen “de-ageing” done properly. Samuel L Jackson looks younger than I have ever seen him.)
Fury is a budding agent with a new department called SHIELD. And so begins this fun, nostalgic buddy movie.
To elaborate further on the plot would spoil it for you but there are surprises, twists and some answers.
We see everything starting to fall into place in preparation for the climactic Avengers movie, with a greater understanding of how it got to that stage in the first place.
Interestingly, there is zero love interest in this film. It is devoid of sexuality. No doe-eyed looks, irrational designs based on matters of the loins or lingering shots of bums in Spandex.
It is kitsch, Star-Trekky and I love the period it is set in too. (My time!)
For timeline reasons, it could only be set when it is. (This is pre-Tony Stark and Captain America’s reawakening.) But that setting really gives it some vim.
The music . . . OMG! Elastica! Garbage! No Doubt! Nirvana! Utter heaven.
The cast are all good and Larson is a great role model.
But the film belongs to Ben Mendelsohn as the lead Skrull, Talos, taking the same withering humour of Taika Waititi in Thor: Ragnarok and turning it up to 11.
Mendelsohn steals every scene.
For all the criticisms Marvel and superhero films have had over the years — dumbing down, ultra-violent, destructive — we are now in an era when they are driving forward progressive cinema.
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They understand their audience contains a lot of young, impressionable kids and have created role models accordingly.
Not just all-round good-guy Captain America — with Black Panther and Captain Marvel, we have two of the biggest films of the past decade serving sections of the population that have been utterly starved.
All with the added bonuses of being thrilling, gripping and spectacular.