Captain Marvel Review: Anything but Marvelous!
Updated: Sep 24, 2021
At this point heralding the accomplishments of Marvel Studios would just be unnecessary. With the movie studio finding success with the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and a perefula of other heroes, the implications that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had in the movie world truly goes without saying. However the franchise is reaching an impasse as Avengers: Endgame looms on the horizon. To get to this conclusion the MCU has bridged off into two different movies with the first being Ant-Man and the Wasp (which came out last summer) and the other being the film in question: Captain Marvel. Directed by the team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel is not only the studio’s first superheroine film but the movie has also been marketed as a major point in the MCU as it serves as a prequel to many of the previous entries. Needless to say there is plenty riding on Captain Marvel and with the franchise’s track record one cannot help but wonder: what could possibly go wrong? Well after seeing the film I would have to say plenty because this superheroine film was anything but marvelous.
Taking place in the 90’s the story centers on Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a human turned kree soldier, who seeks out the mystery of her past and how it affects the conflict between the Kree Empire and their enemies the Skrull. Origin stories are a dime a dozen but they are beneficial for the likes of superhero movies. So it made sense that Captain Marvel would center on the origins of Carol Danvers and how she became a cosmic hero; but unfortunately this origin is not one I would call heroic. While I commend the movie for trying to present its story differently, the execution left much to be desired. This hero’s journey was one filled with implications oppose to substance, and the plot twists raised more questions than it does answers. It did not help matter that this story added very little lore to the MCU. Whether it was new elements like the Kree or established ones like SHIELD, these aspects were hardly explored and did very little to enrich the overall plot. Yet despite all of that I may have been more forgiving to this heroic tale if was not for the fact the story’s adventure was boring. Rather than being investing or raising stakes the adventure of Captain Marvel remained in autopilot as it seem to care more about girl power and 90’s nostalgia then it did being a thrilling experience.
Before seeing the film I was skeptic about Brie Larson playing Captain Marvel. The previews did not paint a great picture of the actress’ performance as it came off as bland. After seeing the movie though I can say Larson’s performance was not a problem as she did the best she could for what was given to her. The real issue was the character of Carol Danvers. From her attitude to her conflict Carol Danvers was not believable to me because when it came down to it she lacked definition for where her traits could feel consistent. This issue did not just affect the titled hero but the rest of the cast as well. When it came to performances the cast was fine but the characters themselves had very little to them. The only character that I found investing was the skrull Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) but even that was not much saying much. Then there was Nick Fury (Samuel L.Jackson). Seeing that this movie depicted a younger Fury it made sense that this characterization would be different, but this movie did the director of SHIELD no favors. Rather than adding to his character this movie detracted Fury as he lacked motivation and felt as though he just there to bridge the film with the rest of the MCU-which is fine but that is not an excuse for a character lacking direction. This superhero cast was a lacking one to the point where even Jude Law and the great one himself, Goose the Cat, could not save this ensemble for me.
When it came to attributes such as the action and effects Captain Marvel was alright. The effects were good in places but the overall spectacle was nothing to be dazzled towards. The action was decent to say the least. The sequences themselves were not bad but the action was rather mundane as nothing stood out to me. The music by Pinar Toprak was not much of a highlight for the film either. While certain elements in the score felt fitting for the movie, the compositions themselves added little to the experience as came off as just another superhero soundtrack. Last and certainly not least was the film’s humor. The comedy was not terrible but it was nothing special either because its effectiveness (or lack thereof) was hampered by the film’s inconsistent tone.
What started off as a promising venture ended up being a movie powered by disappointment. While Captain Marvel had some merit to it, such as the performances and the decent technical elements, it could escape the gaping flaws that surround it like its weak story, bland characters and lacking spectacle. In many ways Captain Marvel showcases the worst tendency in the Marvel Cinematic Universe making it one of the weakest entries in the shared franchise and also one of the most weakest superhero films I have seen in quite some time.