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Captain Marvel (2019) - 4K UHD Bluray Review

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Captain Marvel

So here we are, staring down the tail end of the MCU’s Phase 3, with only Avengers: End Game remaining. Marvel had already triumphantly pumped us for the inevitable finale, but in an interesting move, they have made the penultimate film in Phase 3 a somewhat new element. It both introduces a new character, interestingly with the connective tissue of 20 films tied to it, and it speaks to what will come next and beyond. No easy feat.

The temptation is to go into a little of the history of this character from the comics, but I’m not going to. Sufficed to say, the Carol Danvers of the comics has a long and storied history. At the heart of the film’s Carol Danvers is her search of self, so to spill any further detail of her history would be a disservice.

"to sum it up in a couple of words, is enjoyably competent. It’s far from perfect this one, but it deftly handles its responsibilities to the larger universe"


 

This, the 21st feature of the MCU, sees a human amnesiac female, imbued with mysterious and powerful abilities. Vers, as she is known by her adopted alien guardians, the Kree, is trying hard to prove herself within the ranks of the Starforce. On her very first mission, Vers is captured by the Kree’s mortal enemy, the Skrulls—shape-shifting creatures—and tortured for information. Her torture and escape from this enemy awakens segmented memories that start to reveal who she really is.

Turns out her name is Carol Danvers, and her assumed role, and that of all the players in her off world life, may not be what she believes them to be. When Danvers crosses paths with 1990s era Nick Fury and Agent Coulson, the mysteries of her actual life and current one begin to merge, and she must figure out what to do.

First off, casting an Academy Award winner in the lead was the right choice. A character like Captain Marvel could easily have drifted into the realm of un-relatable in the hands of the lesser performer. Like Superman, there is always a danger of losing humanity in the shadow of such unrelenting power. Yet, Brie Larson’s performance shows weakness and doubt and anxiety, she conveys a smart mouth with a tinge of isolation and sadness beautifully, without overdoing it. She immediately watchable and following her on the path of self discovery is easy.

Larson is supported by a stellar cast, including Annette Benning, Ben Mendelson, Jude Law, and Sam Jackson just to name a few. Her interplay with Jackson’s Fury is especially enjoyable. As is the cat--the cat steals many a scene for this reviewer.

Story is where the film ratchets down the dial a little. It’s a layered story that combines a mystery, MCU history, some comedy, some drama, and space battles to boot. It’s a lot to be frank. And while any one of the aforementioned elements (on their own) is good, the combination of them sometimes drowns their efficacy out from each other. It is a testament to the skills of everyone involved that this doesn’t fail, but if I’m to be absolutely honest, my mind started to wander a bit throughout the unending action. There are also a few moments of female empowerment that are on the nose and are going to incite the butt-hurt anti-feminists of the world even further. These were overdone moments that are completely unnecessary. Larson is the lead and all the example of woman’s equality one needs; she is spectacular and belongs in that role. She shows with the talent in her little finger that female led movies are every bit the equal of the boy’s club (as did Wonder Woman) and doesn’t need over the top, contrived moments to hammer home that studios are finally starting to give woman their rightful place as equals. Don’t pander, Disney. It’s insulting to your lead and your audience.Captain Marvel

The score by Pinar Toprak, the first female composer to do one of these, also effectively draws some emotional and heroic moments throughout, but again is just not quite there. The intercutting of many 90s songs tend, again, to drown out some of the score’s effect. It isn’t to say the songs aren’t welcome, but I found some the transitions from score to song a tad jarring and counterintuitive to what was happening on screen.

My last, spoiled First World, gripe is some of the effects. Disney had deep pockets and access to the best effects wizards in the business. But some of the effects, especially toward the tail end of the film, seemed unpolished. I got a bit of a Roger Rabbit vibe (a 90s movie ironically) in a few shots that took me out of the spectacle. It’s a minor thing, really. The film, as a whole, looks terrific.

Captain Marvel, if I am to sum it up in a couple of words, is enjoyably competent. It’s far from perfect this one, but it deftly handles its responsibilities to the larger universe it now belongs to. Its lead, Larson lands a solid first strike for the next era in Marvel films, and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with.

3 stars

Captain Marvel

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Cinematic Universe Edition / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Disney / Buena Vista
Available on Blu-ray
- June 11, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Cantonese, Dutch, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Swedish
Audio:
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; German: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; Italian: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; Japanese: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; Digital copy; Movies Anywhere; 4K Ultra HD
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

So, let's just cut right to the chase. Marvel/Disney's 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital Code release of Captain Marvel, though not perfect, is a true thing of beauty. The film, well-received by both critics and fans, grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office so it's no wonder the studio has poured so much love into this release. Whether its the 2160p Ultra High Definition 2.39:1 transfer on the 4K UHD disc or the 1080p 2.39:1 on the included blu-ray disc, the film looks and sounds absolutely spectacular, and comes with numerous featurettes, some deleted scenes, and even a feature-length commentary track (only on the blu-ray disc). Even the packaging is top-notch with an embossed metallic printed slipcover. This is definitely a release you'll want to add to your collection.

Marvel/Disney have put out several different editions of the release on blu-ray and/or 4K UHD, but we snagged a copy of the 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital Code Cinematic Universe Edition which we will discuss below.

Video

"A feast for the eyes" comes to mind once the Captain Marvel-themed navigation menu pops up with options for Play Movie, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Audio Commentary, Set-up, and Sneak Peeks. Even the menu becomes part of the party with Captain Marvel-themed buttons and navigation elements.

This is a very colorful movie with a high degree of difficulty to get just right, but a quick scan though the movie's scenes via the chapters button reveals consistent color levels, and deep, rich blacks throughout. Almost never waivers. As expected, the special effects of battle sequences and deep space bits are the main attraction here and are handled perfectly as bright starships swoosh across the room. Even the film's darker scenes hold up for the most part(though some are a bit too dark) while the highlights in the brightly lit open sky scenes are never blown out. Particularly interesting is the way the flashback sequences are handled with a golden-hued vintage look that hold sharpness and clarity while providing great visual distinction between past and present.

Audio
The 4k UHD version differs in that it includes Dolby Atmos track while the blu-ray version comes with an English 7.1 DTS-HDMA track, both of which are the biggest bullies in the room as the aforementioned deep space sequences play out to great effect. Laser fire shoots across the room while a constant barrage of spaceship engines, ambient sounds, and mechanical noises keep the rear speaker array active. With this release, we have a new play toy to show off to family and friends as this release is exactly what home theater is all about.

Supplements:

The most noticeably underwhelming part of the release is the Extras section with a mere 20+ minutes of bonus materials that is mostly fluff and EPK-type pieces. The commentary track however is a much-welcomed addition.

Interestingly, there are a couple of bonus extra features you'll only get with the Digital Movie Code: What Makes a Memory: Inside the "Mind Frack"; and Journey Into Visual Effects with Victoria Alonso.

Commentary:

  • On the blu-ray disc only is a feature-length audio commentary by co-writers/co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck who have an admirable chemistry, provide great insight into the film, and feel as if they actually wanted to do the commentary. Lots of little tips and tricks too for aspiring filmmakers. Finally, a worthy commentary.

Special Features:

Featurettes

  • Becoming a Superhero (06:40) - Larson discusses the personal significance of becoming a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck talk about their choice and the significance of including a woman in the story. There is also a bit of Comic-Con footage that highlights Larson's introduction to the event's roundtable discussion
  • Big Hero Moment (03:31) - A companion piece to the previous featurette that continues the discussion of having a female in the lead. Feels as if it may have been pulled out and given its own space to pad the numbers.
  • The Origin of Nick Fury (03:33) - Actors and crew discuss how Captain Marvel and Nick Fury characters are given original stories with producers talking about the importance of the Nick Fury character. Contains many Nick Fury scenes from other Marvel movies.
  • The Dream Team (02:44) - Features co-writers/co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck who take us through some of the film's green screen work and what it meant for them to get the chance to work on this film.
  • The Skulls and the Kree (03:31) - Looks at the overarching narrative of the Kree/Skrull war and gets into a short discussion of villains in Marvel movies.
  • Hiss-terical Cat-titude (03:23) - a humorous look at the cats used in the film particularly a cat name Reggie (who was Flerkin perfect) that got most of the work. It's a wonder they didn't have their eyes scratched out during filming.
  • What Makes a Memory: Inside the "Mind Frack" Via digital code only.
  • Journey Into Visual Effects with Victoria Alonso. Via digital code only.

Deleted Scenes: Who Do You Admire Above All Others?; Starforce Recruit; Heading to Torfa; What, No Smile?; Black Box; Rookie Mistake

Gag Reel (02:02) A fun, well-produced continuous reel of gaffs, outtakes, miscues and flubbed lines.

Sneak Peeks - Trailers

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3.5/5 stars

Captain Marvel - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language.
Runtime:
124 mins
Director
: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writer:
Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Cast:
Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn
Genre
: Action | Adventure
Tagline:
Higher. Further. Faster.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I know a renegade soldier when I see one. Never occurred to me that one might come from above"
Theatrical Distributor:
Disney/Marvel
Official Site: https://movies.disney.com/captain-marvel
Release Date:
March 8, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races..

Captain Marvel - Movie Review

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