Soaring in like an overly expensive firework your Dad got out the back of a lorry, Brie Larson has taken on the role of one of Marvel Comics’ most revered heroes and word is she’s done a bloody good job of it. Set long before even Tony Stark added more iron to his diet, Captain Marvel sees Carol Danvers on a journey across the stars and back again in an adventure that will set her on a path to becoming one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Aided by Nick Fury and others, she’ll have her own enemies to face, before she joins forces with heroes in the years to come to face an even greater threat – one with some damaged but ultimately destructive accessories at hand.
After you’ve passed your own verdict, you may want to check out some of the back catalogue of films this excellent Captain Marvel cast have to offer. Add them to your list, or share some of your own as you flick through The Best Films From The Captain Marvel Cast.
Brie Larson – Short Term 12
An obvious choice would’ve been Larson’s Oscar-winning role in Room, but it could be argued that the role that displayed just what she was capable of was Short Term 12. Destin Daniel Cretton’s drama about a foster care facility (besides being an exceptional film) happens to be one bursting with a talented cast at the cusp of their careers exploding, and none more so than Larson.
Showing the physical scars of history she’d rather forget is easy, she conveys a weight of a past that’s as raw and solid as those she cares for. Seeing her empathise with the latest resident, and losing her head when the system betrays them is like watching a volcano bubble and blow with the smash. With every chance she’s got, Larson conjures the potential she so clearly possessed, proving she’s an actress on the road to greater things, and it’s her time at Short Term 12 that gets her there.
Jude Law – The Talented Mr Ripley
Matt Damon may take the spotlight as the conniving, fiendishly Talented Mr Ripley, but it’s only from his obsession with wanting to be Jude Law’s smug man about town that allows it to manifest. He’s Ripley’s drive, his focus and the catalyst that sends him down a more treacherous path than the one he’s already walking, just because he’s so devilishly alluring you can see why Tom is hooked.
His Lawness is at the peak of his powers as the globe-trotting playboy who’s living off his father’s dime. Women want him and men want to be him, with the latter being the worst-case scenario. Law plays Dickie Greenleaf with bravado and coolness only few can hope to achieve, which creates a genuine upset when he tries to sever ties with the obsessed Mr Ripley. Though his presence is brief in Anthony Minghella’s unsettling thriller, he leaves enough of a mark on the film and the characters connected to him to make the fallen Greenleaf one that’s sorely missed.
Samuel L. Jackson – The Long Kiss Goodnight
Even to the great Mr Jackson himself, it’s one of his favourite movies and understandably so. Besides his Bible-quoting hitman from Pulp Fiction, The Long Kiss Goodnight‘s Mitch Hennessy is prime Sam Jackson and is frustratingly one of his most overlooked films. Geena Davis undoubtedly handles the hero gig with ease as the housewife with memories of life as a cold-cut super-assassin, but the highlight is seeing Jackson’s private investigator discover it all alongside her.
Not too dissimilar from Captain Marvel in terms of a hero trying to recall her past life, Shane Black’s script is already dynamite on paper, but Jackson helps light it every time he opens his mouth. Gelling so well with his co-star, he elevates The Long Kiss Goodnight to be one of the best buddy movies so many have never seen, and even changed the course of the film’s storyline, as a result. Originally the plan was to kill Mitch in the third act, but test audiences were so sour over the issue he was written back in to get the justice he deserved. Good job, as well. The screen illuminates every time Sam wanders into it, pouring on that charm and engrossing presence we’ve come to adore ever since.
Ben Mendelsohn – Starred Up
Much like Mark Strong, Frances McDormand or Richard Ayoade (stick with me here), Ben Mendelsohn improves a film by a bucketload anytime he’s signed up for one. Starred Up is another overlooked gem of the Australian’s back catalogue as the British inmate, forced to share a block with his own son (played by Jack O’Connell), after his estranged offspring is given an early transfer from a young offenders institution to a big boy prison.
Sharing a damaged father-son relationship is bad enough but doing it at the request of Her Majesty’s Pleasure increases the tension which both the film’s leads handle effortlessly. Mendelsohn is the worn dog who’s adjusted to the system (and manipulated parts of it) hoping that his son will do the same. Of course, that doesn’t happen and tension rises as both collide with each other and themselves.
O’Connell puts on a clear demonstration as to why he was a talent so quick to cross the pond and end up working with the likes of Angelina Jolie and George Clooney. Mendelsohn on the other hand, proved himself to handle the ravaged individual; broken and bruised (see Netflix’s Bloodline ASAP) but in no way a good man. If you loved everything you’ve seen him in, then this would be no exception.
Gemma Chan – Crazy Rich Asians
It may not have kicked up as much of a storm in the UK, as the US there’s no question that there were some impressive elements to the adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s best-selling book, and one was the perfect casting as Chan as the effortlessly elegant cousin, Astrid. Almost stealing the focus (which will inevitably be on her when the sequel comes around) from Constance Wu and Henry Golding, Chan portrays the perfect cousin with an imperfect life with absolute, well perfection, in Crazy Rich Asians.
She’s like a Disney princess brought to life; pure of heart and unaffected by the family traditions and circles that politely sneer at one another. As a result, it makes it all the more heartbreaking when a hard truth comes crashing down on her that she has no choice but to take on the observation of the entire Young family. Though Crazy Rich Asians may have its issues, Chan certainly isn’t one of them.
Djimon Hounsou – Blood Diamond
A talent on this list that is in nowhere enough as he should be (with good roles at least), Djimon Honsou’s Oscar-nominated turn in Blood Diamond is probably most compelling of the films trifecta. In between DiCaprio’s iffy accent and Connolly’s snap-happy journalist is Hounsou’s enraged and emotionally broken father, Solomon Vandy, separated from his family and forced into a scenario that could take his life.
In the 13 years since Hounsou has been the stoic presence either lingering in the background or a mild antagonist and its infuriating given what he provides here. Acting rings around DiCaprio whenever he shares a scene with him, he’s the real drive the film secretly stores away and carries throughout. Though it may not have aged brilliantly, Hounsou’s Vandy is without question, the diamond in the rough and is still as flawless as ever.
Clark Gregg – The Avengers
They needed something to fight for, and his name was Phil. The walking, talking easter egg of the MCU’s Phase 1, Gregg’s S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is the dry, effectively established character that wanders in and out of this universe that was beginning to be built around him. It made it all the more emotional then, when Coulson took the hit in The Avengers, after finally doing the unthinkable and gathered Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Standing among giants and staring down gods, Coulson was one of the few non-enhanced individuals that weren’t in the fight but helped it nonetheless. Though he returned in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on television, this was without a doubt Gregg’s best turn as everyone’s favourite hero that didn’t make the Battle of New York. Though we know he makes an appearance in Captain Marvel, there’s every chance he could make a comeback in Endgame, and that’s a return that would be most welcome.