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Captain Marvel (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Marvel continues to soar to billion dollar heights with every fresh turn it takes. Boasted by them as their first female led film (Though, I mean, let’s not forget The Wasp), it was a nice box office set before Avengers: Endgame’s major spike a few months later. In fact, Captain Marvel continued to do solid business alongside Endgame, improving its business. It arrives here on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray on June 11th (Already on digital), yet was still playing at my local AMC last weekend when I was at the theater. Our theatrical to home video window has become a very quick and literal 90 days now. So, either go see it again, or order yourself a copy for your home. You currently have that option for one of the biggest movies of the year. 

Film 

Set in the 1990s, “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that introduces the MCU’s first stand-alone, female-franchise title character—Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. When we first meet Danvers, she already possesses her superhero powers, having left her earthly life behind and become a member of an intergalactic elite Kree military team called Starforce, led by their enigmatic commander, Yon-Rogg. But after Danvers has trained and worked with the Starforce team, and become a valued member­, she finds herself back on Earth with new questions about her past. While on Earth she quickly lands on the radar of Nick Fury, and they must work together against a formidable enemy in the form of the Skrulls—the notorious Marvel bad guys made even more dangerous by their shape-shifting abilities—and their leader, Talos, who is spearheading a Skrull invasion of Earth.

As was with the preceding entry before the first Avengers event film, Marvel takes us well back in time to give us the origin of a hero that start much before Tony Stark was paid a visit from Nick Fury after announcing that he was Iron Man. Captain Marvel opts for the 1990s setting and origin to show us just as to why she’s nowhere around to be found when the events of last year’s Infinity War came to a head, or snap. With high expectations as the first female-led superhero film in the Marvel Avenger canon on their (*ahem*) 20th outing.

Overall, Captain Marvel is a perfectly fine and fun throwback superhero film. By throwback, I don’t mean the setting, I’m referring to the type of movie it is. Calling more back to the superhero films of the 90s kind of style than fitting in with its contemporary brethren. Its refreshing in many ways, honestly, as it the story focuses on a more intimate and personal story with its conflict implications more destined for two separate people on a further side of the galaxy. It is interesting where Marvel is at now that they would opt for this Earth-bound, stripped down approach, but luckily we have the likes of Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn to enhance the territory with their performances instead of the usual effects stuff.

On paper and through many good moments and examples of interchanges, Captain Marvel does what it set out and hoped to do in providing some outstanding girl-power combined with moving moments of feminism in both subtle and heavy handed ways. I noticed it the first time a bit, but on this second viewing it hit much harder, even in just more casual instances of showing the kind of things that look normal that shouldn’t be which Carol and others are faced with. And to have her coldly throw it back or overcome it works in many fist pumping ways. In short, that’s all the movie needed to succeed on its mission statement, and it did so and then some.

Where my qualms come with the film are mostly in technical areas where many Marvel fans seem to care not much for when it comes to their movies. The film has some cool visuals in terms of effects and set design. But, I felt Captain Marvel lacked a visual identity or true personality in terms of the “way” in which it was told. Many needle drops felt forced, irrelevant or there because “Well, this is cool” (The “Just A Girl” fight felt like the song was just randomly on in the background instead of infusing the fight going on to it). The action scenes felt very static for the most part or at times trying to ape what the Russo’s do. While I find it superior to Aquaman (Or DC for that matter), Captain Marvel could have used some of that film’s bonkers personality and action scenes that are both brilliantly choreographed, but take you for a ride. I can’t tell you any memorable action sequences in this film that really stick out. Whereas something like Wonder Woman, we don’t shut up about the No Man’s Land sequence. A lot of Marvel’s films try to stay uniform in look, but their stronger entries (Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor Ragnarok) benefit from the person behind the camera’s personal touches breaking that barrier. I know who Captain Marvel is easily, the paper translates to the screen, but I really couldn’t tell you much about who the people who made it are.

Captain Marvel proves that when Marvel is just sort of average, its still fun and still can deliver in some special and enriching ways. Its a solid adventure and Brie Larson is just a complete joy to see wandering around as a stone cold badass. I feel like we could be in for a very special sequel next time, as this movie kind of was pigeon-holed into being a little safer because of the overall Avenger narrative going on around it. But, the right things are in place and I think we could be in for some more fun space craziness next time around.

Video 

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD disc. 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Captain Marvel debuts on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with 4K upscale. Though shot using both 8K and 6.5K, it was finished with a 2K digital intermediate. Which, bummer, but it is what it is and it turns out to have a very satisfactory and impressive picture. Much of the colorful visual effects look wonderful here and burst quite well of the screen. It carries a sharp, crisp picture with great details all about. For my eyes it was a pretty nice step up from the Blu-ray edition included with this release.

Depth:  The film features plenty of sequences to give it a nice floaty, three dimensional appeal. Depth of field is pretty strong throughout. Rapid motions feature no issues at all with bluring or jittering.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural, at times having a hair of a cloudy look to them. Details remain strong on surfaces, fabrics and hair follicles. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: The color palette on display in this film is some nice vivid, visual eye candy and saturates well in this transfer. HDR comes into good effect with the powers glowing, blasts and overall science fiction out rim landscapes. Natural colors and costumes features a nice firm look to them as well.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Facial features and textures come through clear as day. De-Aged characters resonate pretty impressively, while Captain Marvel’s coweled CGI face looks a bit more obvious in comparison.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Japan 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, German 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Italian 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus; French (Canada) 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French Canadian, Latin Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, Thai, Norwegian, French Parisian

Dynamics: I’m likely spoiled by the Batman experience I had last week, but the Captain Marvel Dolby Atmos track was a little underwhelming in comparison. As per usual with Disney, you’ll need to crank this one up a bit more than you usual setting. Once there, its pretty rock solid experience that hits the basics pretty well and delivers a clean performance. Vocals and more Earthbound foley effects are lower in the mix in comparison to much of the space related action which hits impressively.

Height: Top speakers provide you with relevant and accurate ceiling sounds like debris falling, ships or Captain Marvel flying over, gunshot/blaster ricochet and more.

Low Frequency Extension: Ship rumble by, explosions pound, blasters give a good bump and crumbling debris hits pretty nicely. Surprisingly some of the songs from the soundtrack don’t get as deep with their beats as you’d anticipate.

Surround Sound Presentation: Captain Marvel really gets in all the channels with terrific rolling movement. Sound travel is impressive and flaunts when a ship goes bay the screen or a henchman is tossed across the room. Ambient sounds aren’t overdone, but provide some nice liveliness to a quiet room or static sequence.

Dialogue Reproduction: As mentioned, vocals feel lower in this mix and it may be the decision to tightly restrict them to the center channel. You don’t need to crank up a hearing aid to hear them, but dialogue is noticeable less present than much of the music and action.

Extras 

Captain Marvel comes with the Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. Bonus material is found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • By directors/screenwriters Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck

Movie With Intro (HD, 1:51) – An introduction by directors/screenwriters Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.

Featurettes (HD, 23:25) – When viewed together under “Play All” this plays as the fluffier “Making of” for the movie that is pretty swfit and brief, just over 20 minutes. It explores the origin and desire to put Captain Marvel on the big screen, casting choices, specific segments and of course gushing over Goose the cat.

  • Becoming A Superhero
  • Big Hero Moment
  • The Origin of Nick Furey
  • The Dream Team
  • The Skrulls and The Kree
  • Hiss-sterical Cat-titude

Deleted Scenes (HD, 8:47) – Ridiculous how much “controversy” and tears one of these scenes is causing insecure people. But, check it out and have a laugh anyway.

Gag Reel (HD, 2:02) 

Digital Exclusive

Journey Into Visual Effects With Victoria Alonso (HD, 7:20) – Experience how filmmakers’ visions of the MCU come to life on-screen through the skill of the Visual Effects team.

What Makes A Memory: Inside The Mind “Frack” (HD, 4:37) – What does it take to craft an action-packed sequence for a Marvel Studios film? Nothing short of an epic team effort!

Concept Art

Still Images

Summary 

Captain Marvel isn’t the most marvelous of the bunch, but it still winds up a solid piece of superhero entertainment, driven by strong turns by its lead players. Disney turns in a pretty rock solid 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray performance through audio and video. It doesn’t have the At-Mouse problem, but you do need to crank it up a bit and there is still obvious room for improvement. The extras are all fluff, but a swift enjoyable bit of added material for the film. Another solid addition to your Marvel pile from Disney.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

2 Responses to “Captain Marvel (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gregg

    Great review, Brandon! As of right now, this is my favorite film of the year. Why only a ‘3’ on the Extras? It seems like there’s a number of good featurettes here. I’m happy to see a solid video and audio score when I bring this disc home later this month.

  2. Brandon Peters

    Hey Gregg! Disc-wise there’s not really much there. Those featurettes combine together and total 20-ish minutes which really is typical PR fluff in nature. Gag Reels are worthless and the deleted scenes are nice. If you add in the 2 digital exclusives which aren’t a part of the disc, its roughly only 40 minutes of content (Not including the commentary). Which is pretty fine, but leaves room open for more on a future release.