In terms of 2019 superhero releases, Captain Marvel is perhaps one of the most culturally relevant films this year. It also happens to be one of the most divisive. This isn’t a fault of the movie itself, but it just happens to be from the circumstances surrounding it. Aside from this non-controversy, Captain Marvel remains a solid entry in the MCU. It’s not perfect by any means, but the film remains notable for a variety of reasons. In addition to being Marvel’s first female-led film, it’s also their least formulaic origin story to date. The so-called “marvel formula” is not necessarily shattered, but rather re-configured. This re-configuration makes the film feel fresh amongst its counterparts – even if it’s ultimately recycling many of the same elements.
Even after multiple viewings, Captain Marvel still holds up well. Co-Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck come from an indie background, where they made their mark with great character dramas like Mississippi Grind. As a result, the best elements of the film manifest themselves within the thematic & character moments of the story. While Brie Larson’s performance holds the film together, it’s the supporting players that make the most significant impact. In particular, Lashana Lynch and Ben Mendelsohn both steal the show.
Thematically, Captain Marvel should be arguably Marvel Studios most dense film. Despite this promise, the film is often more powerful for what it symbolizes than what it is on the surface. Captain Marvel tends to be in your face about its message of female empowerment. However, this doesn’t mean that this important message should be discounted simply because it’s on the nose at times. You can read more about my thoughts on the film in my original theatrical review here and our audio review here. Even with all its drawbacks – Captain Marvel is a welcome addition to the MCU.
In the grand scheme of the MCU, Captain Marvel is one of the least visually dynamic films. Regardless, this disc is an excellent visual representation of the film’s theatrical run. Retaining the native 2.39:1 aspect ratio, the film was encoded using an MPEG-4 AVC codec. For a 1080p-encode, this Blu-ray transfer is impressive. Image detail is excellent, and textures are pronounced throughout. Color representation is easily the best aspect of this transfer, offering a vibrant experience throughout.
For the most part, contrast is acceptable. Whereas the studio/stage work features healthy contrast, the location work suffers the most in this department. There’s a lack of deep highlights and shadows in most of the exterior scenes that make them feel flat. Maybe there should have been a bit more crushing in post-production, but the black levels can sometimes feel washed out. Additionally, skin tones are a tad bit warmer than they should be. However, this could also be a result of heavy tungsten lighting utilized. Regardless of these minor nitpicks; the video transfer of Captain Marvel on Blu-Ray is reliable.
Presented on Blu-ray in a DTS-HD Master 7.1 track, this audio mix for Captain Marvel is worthy of this release. Overall, the surround activity is impressive in the sound mix. In particular, the environmental ambience is a highlight throughout the runtime. Clarity and positioning are also excellent, offering delightful immersion all around. Most of the sound effects in particular play through the front channels. Nevertheless, the dialogue is crisp, and levels are always consistent. The low end of the mix is also prominent, packing a decent punch while never overpowering everything else.
Unfortunately, Pinar Toprak’s score gets muddled throughout the mix in favor of the soundtrack, which is ultimately a shame, mostly because Toprak’s work is an exciting homage to 90’s movie scores. This disc might require slight volume calibration, considering that this mix better off a few decibels higher than usual. Since this isn’t a particularly healthy 7.1 mix, a Dolby Atmos track would have been preferable on this disc. However, there’s not much that could be improved – notwithstanding the small gripes above.
The Special Features
Audio Commentary: with co-writers/directors Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck. This commentary is easily the most exciting and informative supplemental feature on this disc. Boden and Fleck provide plenty of information on the production of the film, casting, writing, and more. Overall, this is a fun and lively track that is essential if you want to learn more about Captain Marvel.
Gag Reel (2:02; 1080p): Features behind the scenes shenanigans with the cast between takes.
Featurettes (23:25; 1080p): A collection of your typical, BTS fluff. While the usual mix of interviews and B-roll make up the majority of these featurettes, there are some interesting tidbits. However, if you’re already familiar with the characters or the story, there’s nothing of true substance here.
- Becoming a Super Hero (6:40)
- Big Hero Moment (3:31)
- The Origin of Nick Fury( 3:33)
- The Dream Team (2:44)
- The Skrulls and the Kree (3:31)
- Hiss-Sterical Cat-Titude (3:23)
Deleted Scenes (8:47; 1080p): A collection of excised scenes from the movie. For the most part, it’s easy to see why these few clips never left the cutting room floor. Most of the edits seem to clarify plot points or to speed up pacing. However, there are some interesting character moments with Jude Law that might have helped the final film.
- “Who Do You Admire Above All Others?” (1:51)
- Starforce Recruits (2:01)
- Heading to Torfa (1:18)
- “What, No Smile?” (1:15)
- Black Box (1:00)
- Rookie Mistake (1:19)
Additional Digital Exclusives (1080p): Two Featurettes that should be included in the physical release. Either way, the second featurette focusing on Veteran Marvel Studios VFX producer Victoria Alonso is easily the most in-depth of the entire lot.
- What Makes a Memory: Inside the “Mind Frack” (4:37)
- Journey Into Visual Effects With Victoria Alonso (7:20)
As a whole, this Blu-ray release of Captain Marvel is a worthy one. The film itself is worth owning this disc alone. However, it’s also a fresh take on the classic character that remains an essential entry in the MCU canon.
While the 4K version’s Dolby Vision and HDR capabilities are undoubtedly an improvement, the video transfer is not far behind. The excellent audio mix is easily the highlight of the technical aspects. The supplemental features are a bit disappointing, but the filmmaker commentary and digital content almost make up for this. As a result, this Captain Marvel Blu-ray comes recommended, especially if you are a fan of the character.
Overall Rating: 4/5
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