‘Captain Marvel’: A spoiler-free character guide

For casual moviegoers, we can’t blame you if you have little or no idea on what’s going on with Captain Marvel. After all, this first female-led Marvel film initially caught buzz during the post credits scene of Infinity War, where everyone just assumed that the said heroine is the solution to beating Thanos. Anyway, it never hurts to have a little background. Here’s a spoiler-free breakdown of the characters appearing in Captain Marvel.


THE KREE


The Kree are a scientifically and technologically advanced race of mostly blue-skinned “noble warrior heroes” from the planet Hala.


CAROL DANVERS / CAPTAIN MARVEL

Portrayed by Brie Larson

A Kree-human hybrid, Carol is a member of an elite military unit called ‘Starforce’ and her abilities include superhuman strength, energy projection, and flight. In the film, she returns to Earth to rediscover her ordinary human past of being an ex-U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. According to Marvel chief executive Kevin Feige, she is “the most powerful superhero in MCU.”


RONAN THE ACCUSER

Portrayed by Lee Pace

Last seen as the main villain in Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan is a ferocious and radical member of the Kree who attempted to obliterate planet Xandar by forging an alliance with Thanos. The Guardians may have successfully defeated and killed him, but since the events of Captain Marvel occur before the aforementioned timeline, we can expect the character crossing paths with Starforce.


YON-ROGG

Portrayed by Jude Law

Yon-Rogg is Kree’s Starforce lead commander who trained Carol to use her powers. According to Law, his character is “almost a devout warrior — unquestioning, conservative, but inspirational.”


KORATH THE PURSUER

Portrayed by Djimon Hounsou

Another familiar face from GOTG, Korath is last seen as Ronan’s cybernatically enhanced warrior who gets slain by Drax the Destroyer during the Battle of Xandar. Before that happens, Korath here is the second-in-command of Starforce.


MINN-ERVA

Portrayed by Gemma Chan

Minn-Erva is Starforce’s efficient and standout sniper who feels slightly threatened by the talented Danvers joining the team.


SUPREME INTELLIGENCE

Portrayed by Annette Bening

The Supreme Intelligence is a god-like entity/artificial intelligence that consists the greatest intellects of the Kree people for the last million years. Each member of the Starforce has a particular relationship with the Supreme Intelligence.


THE HUMANS



NICK FURY

Portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson

Set in 1990s, the ‘would-be’ director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and founder of Avengers Initiative, is a younger, greener and less jaded low-level bureaucrat. Jackson describes his character as a “desk jockey” whose first encounter with a super-powered being (Carol Danvers) transforms his cynical perspective towards bureaucracy. This marks the first time where Marvel digitally de-ages a character by 25 years, for the entire film’s run time.


PHIL COULSON

Portrayed by Clark Gregg

Before he’s killed by Loki in The Avengers, and subsequently brought back to life in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson is a rookie agent who works closely with Fury. Likewise Jackson, Gregg is digitally de-aged by 25 years throughout the film.


MARIA RAMBEAU

Portrayed by Lashana Lynch

As Danvers’ best friend in her past human life, Captain Maria Rambeau is a resilient single mother/U.S. Air Force pilot who plays a huge role in helping Carol to regain her past. Larson describes Danvers and Rambeau’s friendship as equal, with “a playful competitiveness and a mutual respect.”


MISCELLANEOUS



TALOS

Portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn

As the film’s main antagonist, Talos is a shape-shifting Skrull commander who leads his race’s invasion to Earth by posing as a S.H.I.E.L.D. director. In the comics, the Skrulls have been at war with the Krees for centuries. Mendelsohn described Talos’s human persona as “buttoned up” compared to his “more laid back” Skrull persona.


GOOSE

Portrayed by Reggie, Archie, Gonzo and Rizzo

Named after a Top Gun character, Goose is Carol Danvers’s pet and travel companion. In the comics, he’s originally named as Chewie (after Star Wars‘ Chewbacca) and if the film will be faithful to its source material, there’s a strong reason to believe that the house cat is actually an alien of the Flerken race with hidden special powers.


Captain Marvel opens in Philippine cinemas on March 6, 2018.

‘Isn’t It Romantic’ review: Half-hearted satirical romcom

Isn’t It Romantic embraces too much of its satirical elements that it becomes the very thing that it’s trying to avoid.

Presented as a satirical take to romcoms, Isn’t It Romantic is supposed to mock the conventions of its genre as meta as it can. In its center is a cynical architect Natalie (Rebel Wilson) who accidentally slams her head against a subway pillar, thereby causing her consciousness to drift into an alternate ‘romcom-functioning’ New York. The said dream sequence is almost worth the whole film’s length so needless to say, boundless tropes will be ticked off. Magazine spread locations? Check. An absurd meet cute? Check. A “CW hot” leading man who uses the word “beguiling” as an endearing description? An omnipresent gay sidekick who gives sound love advices? And finally, a modest and sweet officemate who’s on the verge of being friendzoned? Triple check to those.

And before we forget, like most romcoms, this film needs to be wholesome at a PG-13 level. Hence, expletives are continuously bleeped by the sound of a passing truck and all sexual acts are given the ‘fade-out’ treatment. Cue in the opening intro to Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles,” our protagonist Natalie is perfectly strapped to her journey to ‘happily ever after.’

L-R: Liam Hemsworth (Blake), Rebel Wilson (Natalie) and Adam DeVine (Josh) in ‘Isn’t It Romantic’

This won’t be the first time where director Straus-Schulson skewers the tired tropes of a certain genre – he first did it in horror back in 2015’s The Final Girls. Isn’t It Romantic, however, is busy on pointing out everything that it’s not trying to be, that it consequently falls into the trap of becoming a standard romcom itself. The plot sags with reinforced cliches and the emotional depth feels like it’s stuck on a surface-level. Hence, comes the disappointment that it’s clearly not as clever as it thinks it is. To be fair, I’m not expecting for a groundbreaking work after seeing the trailer – the film, yet could have sustained its gimmick by opting for a more subversive path, say in a Deadpool kind of way.

As the film commits the crime of becoming the exact thing that it’s supposed to make fun of, the rest of the proceedings becomes painfully predictable. By now, it should not be a surprise if it all boils down to a last-minute dash to the altar and an unabashed yet exuberant musical number. It’s a shame because the script does not shape up to the potential of its protagonist – romcoms rarely have a plus-sized woman for its lead. Wilson charges on the role with reliable comic presence particularly when it comes to her deadpan irony and her penchant for physical comedy. She also has an amazing rapport with fellow Pitch Perfect alum Adam DeVine who’s at his most charming self. Elsewhere, it never hurts to see Liam Hemsworth and Priyanka Chopra taking a jab at improv comedy.

L-R: DeVine, Wilson and Priyanka Chopra (Isabella) in ‘Isn’t It Romantic’

As a romcom deconstruction piece, Isn’t It Romantic mostly parodies the obvious tropes that viewers are already accustomed to decades ago. To its credit, the film does not completely stop at self-awareness. It challenges the regressive thinking and toxic fantasies associated with traditional romcoms by dishing out messages on self-worth, regardless how lacking the film’s buildup is.

As a full-fledged romcom – which is actually what it is – the film is quite harmless yet forgettable. It tries to be above several classics by overtly referencing them throughout (Pretty Woman, Notting Hill, 13 Going on 30), but in reality, the margin is not really wide enough.

2.5 out of 5 stars
Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and written by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox and Katie Silberman, ‘Isn’t It Romantic‘ stars Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam DeVine, Priyanka Chopra, Betty Gilpin and Brandon Scott Jones. Run time: 89 minutes.