Howdy Folks! It’s The Kendog with a look at “Greta” and “Captain Marvel!”
Female empowerment is all the rage in the movies right now and this week we have a couple of films that take a look at that phenomenon from very different angles. One is a superhero film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the other is a thriller from acclaimed director Neil Jordan.
Let’s start with “Greta,” a film about a young lady named Frances (Chloe Grace Moritz) who has recently lost her mother and ends up befriending an older woman who has lost her purse on the subway. Greta (Isabelle Huppert in a rare American appearance) has troubles of her own with a daughter she rarely sees, so the two of them form an instant connection, but before you can say “Fatal Attraction” it becomes apparent all is not well with Greta and here would-be friendship with Frances quickly becomes obsessive.
Solid direction and very good performances from Moritz and Huppert carry this film. Also a hoot is Maika Monroe as the Frances’ best friend who’s quicker to catch on that Greta is more than just a bubble off. The storyline is a tad predictable but Jordan has a few nice little twists up his sleeve, including the finale, so fans of this particular sub-genre of thriller films should enjoy this. Other than perfunctory appearances by Stephen Rea as a detective and Colm Feore as Frances’ father, this film is all about the ladies and they more than carry the movie! A decent little thriller that does it’s job well. 3 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!
Next we have Captain Marvel, the first female-led superhero film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The excellent Brie Larson plays Carole Danvers, a woman who was once a test pilot on Earth, but now a warrior working with the alien race known as the Kree. (Fans of this stuff will recognize the Kree from the first Guardians Of The Galaxy film.) Danvers, known as Vers to the Kree, works with a group called the Starforce to prevent a shapeshifting race of aliens known as the Skrulls from taking over the galaxy. On a particularly brutal mission, she finds herself betrayed and crashes on Earth in the year 1995 where she meets a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). The two team up to stop the Skrulls from taking over the Earth. Along the way, Danvers discovers who she is and why she acquired these amazing powers.
As origin films go, “Captain Marvel” is pretty damned good. Setting the film in 1995 gives writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck a chance to do their own thing while staying true to the Marvel formula. The script is crisp and easy to understand despite a lot of flashbacks in the first half of the film and the action in the second half (when Captain Marvel really cuts loose) is really impressive. The cast is first rate, with Larson doing a fabulous job as a woman whose lack of memory doesn’t stop her from being a kickass hero. Jackson (with very convincing de-aging software) is a perfect foil and the film gets great supporting work from Jude Law, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, and Clark Gregg as a young Coulson. Ben Mendelsohn nearly steals the show as Talos, the leader of the Skrulls with a wicked sense of humor and a hidden agenda.
Although one can make the case for the film’s MVP being Goose the Cat, who is so much more than a cat. His presence is a welcome source of both comic relief and pure nightmare fuel. (Just trust me on this!) Overall, “Captain Marvel” is a wonderful addition to the world of the MCU and superhero movies in general. Oh yeah, and the Stan Lee tribute at the beginning is a real nice touch as well. 4 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!