With more than a decade of movies under their belt, Marvel finally welcomes their first female-led film with the highly anticipated Captain Marvel. It’s a major milestone that has a lot riding on it. Not only will all eyes be on Marvel’s first major heroine but it’s also a key building block in their next phase of superheroes. With just a couple month before Avengers: Endgame is released, Captain Marvel gives the audience a taste of a messy yet satisfying entry that will give Thanos a run for his money.

The plot of Captain Marvel can’t really be described without giving away some major spoilers. There will be no spoilers here, but in a nutshell, Carol Danvers (or Vers, depending who on you ask) is a crazy powerful being part of the Kree species. The Kree are in an intergalactic war with some dangerous shapeshifters called the Skrulls. After a mission goes haywire, some of the Skrulls and Carol crash land on Earth (or planet C-53 according to our heroes) during the mid-’90s. From here Carol is on a mission to destroy the Skrulls and return home. Along the way she meets a young Nick Fury who helps her defeating the Skrulls as well as discovering who she really is.

Captain Marvel is an odd hybrid of a buddy cop action movie and a heady sci-fi alien flick. It’s a bit of a mess ping-ponging from genre and tone not sure how to cram so much mythology in two hours without sounding ridiculous. The first two acts spend most of the time having Carol discovering her true self. This is mostly made up of trippy sequences with Annette Bening’s mysterious Dr. Wendy Lawson guiding Carol’s visions. This is interjected with frequent Kroll attacks led by the always villainous Ben Mendelsohn playing the lead Kroll Talos. It’s all set in a 90s backdrop that never feels as natural as say the ’80s did in Guardians of the Galaxy. The 90’s nostalgia feels forced as it tries to fit as many songs and references as possible. But since our hero has no connection with these ’90s items why should we care?

The movie takes a while to really come together. It’s a hodgepodge of action and alien jibber jabber that it can be hard to follow exactly what the movie is trying to do. But once the glorious third act kicks into gear, the movie finally feels formed with action-packed sequences that will get you up and cheering. The story offers a great female perspective while never losing sight of its superhero origin. Not giving her a love interest is kind of refreshing and not missed. Given the absurd source material, it’s a miracle the movie landed (mostly).

Oscar winner Brie Larson is great, front and center. It’s a bit premature to fully grasp what her character is about. She is kind of sassy yet determined but the character still has to evolve to do. It took Thor three movies to really get him right so give her some time but it’s a promising start. She works very well with Samuel L. Jackson- they have great chemistry where he gets to flex his comedy muscles. Jackson is playing Nick Fury as we’ve never seen before. Instead of the know-it-all leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., he is young blood, untested of any superhero activity. And boy, that de-aging CG special effect has never looked better!

The biggest scene-stealer will be Goose the cat. Mostly used as a prop, Goose has the most memorable moments going from cute and cuddly to downright dangerous. Captain Marvel is directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck first blockbuster film. They mostly succeed even if its sloppy, but it proves that the Marvel formula still has some oomph to prepare for its next phase.