When Captain Marvel came out earlier this year, people applauded Marvel for finally giving a female superhero her own movie, while pointing out that it shouldn’t have taken nearly two-dozen films. So it’s a little odd that the home versions of Captain Marvel — a Blu-ray/Digital combo pack, and 4K/Blu-ray/Digital combo pack, and DVD — would themselves be unfair towards people who don’t have HD TVs, and even then for people who’d rather buy this movie digitally.
For those who missed it in theaters,
Captain Marvel is the origin story of that blonde lady who got Thor’s seal of approval in Avengers: Endgame. Set more than twenty years before that, in 1995, the movie follows an alien warrior named Vers [Room‘s Brie Larson] as she hunts down some shape-shifting alien terrorists while trying to figure out why she can’t remember her past. Both of which ultimately lead her to Earth, where she teams up with a young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Nicholas Joseph Fury [Glass‘ Samuel L. Jackson].
Like the best origin stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — by which I mean Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger — Captain Marvel has a deft mix of action, situational comedy, and twists that make sense but are still unexpected. All of which is driven by a first-rate cast. Larson, for instance, perfectly embodies the strength, smirk, and snark that Captain Marvel has shown in the comics, especially in recent years. Then there’s Jackson, who plays Nick Fury as well as he did in, well, every other Marvel movie he’s been in for more than five minutes.
Other standouts in the cast of Captain Marvel include Ben Mendelsohn, who has the same steely conviction as when he played the bad guys in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Ready Player One; Annett Bening (Mars Attacks), who has emerged as a figure of senior status on par with Michael Douglas; and Kashana Lynch (the next Bond movie) and Akira Akbar (Criminal Minds), who play a woman and her young daughter who are important in Captain Marvel’s life for reasons I won’t spoil.
But it’s the script of Captain Marvel that’s the real star of the movie. Like the best Marvel movies, origin or otherwise, the film boasts snappy dialog full of genuine humor — read: not jokey — and interpersonal interactions that make these characters we actually give a crap about.
Sadly, not everything in Captain Marvel works as advertised. Setting one fight to No Doubt’s “Just A Girl” is a little too on the nose; a certain familiar character’s de-aging CGI looks a little ropey (no, not Jackson’s); while a joke with the cat falls flatter than he does in that moment. It’s also odd that they changed said cat’s name from Chewie to Goose, especially since Captain America: Civil War established that Star Wars exists in the Marvel universe. But these are minor complaints, and not as movie ruining as, say, the silly jokes in Ant-Man or the bad use of music in Guardian Of The Galaxy Volume 2.
most people who buy Captain Marvel on Blu-ray, 4K, or DVD aren’t doing it just for the movie. They’re doing it for the extras as well. And it’s here that things go horribly awry for people who buy the DVD (since it just has the movie, no extras) and slightly less awry for Blu-ray and 4K owners (since it just has a lot of extras, but not all of them, and not all the ones you’d want.).
First up on the Captain Marvel Blu-ray and 4K is a running commentary by co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck [Mississippi Grind], who also co-wrote the screenplay with Geneva Robertson-Dworet [Tomb Raider]. As always, it’s a fairly informative look at the making of the movie, though it can, at times, be a little film school-ish, which is always the case when commentaries are done without the cast.
The Captain Marvel Blu-ray and 4K also have half a dozen deleted scenes that clock in at nine minutes total. As is so often the case, most of these are interesting but wouldn’t have added much to the movie, save for one that explains how a certain someone knew where to go. Unfortunately, they come with no explanation as to where in the movie they were cut from, or why.
Next, the Captain Marvel Blu-ray and 4K have a gag reel, during which the cast screw up, and around, and do some dancing — always dancing — in a way that’s fun to see once, even though we’ve seen similar gag reels before.
The Captain Marvel Blu-ray and 4K also have six making-of featurettes. In “Becoming A Superhero,” they talk about the casting of Larson, her perspective on the character, and the training she did for the role. Next, “Big Hero Moment” explains how Captain Marvel fits in with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both story-wise and cinematically. This is followed by the self-explanatory “The Origin Of Nick Fury,” though it’s just about the movie character, not the comic book one. Then, in “The Dream Team,” we meet Boden and Ryan. Next, “The Skrulls And The Kree” talks about the titular aliens and their roles in the film (though, again, just the film, not the comic books). Finally, “Hiss-sterical Cat-titude” is all about Goose, but is cleverly done in the style of something you would’ve seen on a VHS tape from the ’80s.
As is always the case with making-of featurettes,
be they for a Marvel movie or someone else’s, the ones on the Captain Marvel Blu-ray and 4K are equal parts entertaining and educating, though also designed to safely promote the movie (save for “Hiss-sterical Cat-titude,” which is full of spoilers). There’s nothing, for instance, about how the movie pissed off misogynists. But let’s be honest, that was never going to happen.
What could’ve happened, but sadly doesn’t, is a proper exploration of the character’s comic book history. There’s little about the character’s history in the comics, and even less about her fictional life story as it’s played out in said comics.
Similarly, there’s also nothing in the featurettes about Kelly Sue DeConnick, who served as a consultant on the film because her excellent run on Captain Marvel — collected in such books as Captain Marvel: In Pursuit Of Flight and Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More — largely inspired this movie.
The Captain Marvel Blu-ray and 4K also don’t have any of the trailers for the movie — always a red flag in my book — though it does have Cap-centric ones for the games Marvel Strike Force, Marvel Future Fight, Marvel Puzzle Quest, and Marvel Conquest Of Champions, as well as one for the animated series Marvel Rising.
But the most glaring omissions on the Captain Marvel Blu-ray and 4K are the two featurettes (“Journey Into Visual Effects With Victoria Alonso,” and “What Makes A Memory: Inside The ‘Mind Frack”) and the galleries of concept art and production photos you get if you buy the movie digitally. Yes, I get that Disney / Marvel makes more money digitally, and this move pushes that agenda, but as someone who believes a movie’s Blu-ray, 4K, and yes DVD should present the complete picture of a movie, their absence — and that of the trailers — is a sore spot.
Even incomplete, though,
the Captain Marvel Blu-ray, 4K, and DVD is still a good way to watch this exciting first adventure for one of comic’s current coolest superheroes. The good Captain has, for the last couple years, been one of Marvel Comic’s more interesting characters, and this origin story and Larson’s performance in it do her justice. It’s just too bad the home edition didn’t do it more.