Captain Marvel Review
The road to the silver screen for Marvel’s first solo movie with a female lead character wasn’t an easy one to walk by any means. But Captain Marvel finally arrived in the movie theaters at the start of this month. And after the backlash it received following Brie Larson’s comments and pretty much everything else that Marvel did, I have to say that it was a mixed bag of a movie for me.
Brie Larson is Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. A Kree Starforce member who remembers almost nothing about her life. She’s trained by her mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) to fight the shape-shifting Skrulls in an intergalactic war, but after a mission goes sideways, she’ll land on Earth. Pieces of her past will slowly add up, and with the help of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and her friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) will go searching for Dr. Wendy Lawson’s (Annette Bening) powerful invention.
Captain Marvel is enjoyable at best and a hot mess of a movie at its worst. As an origin movie it’s not very explanatory, and as pretty much everything else… well it’s exactly that. Everything else. The biggest fault of this movie is that it loves to play different fields and lacks consistency in all of them. It starts off as a great SF/action movie, then it becomes a buddy cop movie, then it’s a full on drama and in the last 30 minutes picks up the pace again but fails to deliver one coherent product. And nobody, besides Carol (and to some extent Nick) are properly introduced. We see so many characters with barely introduction or back story that just fill the movie mainly with dialogue or exposition. But I loved that Carol discovers the extent of her powers gradually, and the audience does that with her.
The dynamic between Carol and Fury is engaging enough, but the only thing that’s standing in being the perfect buddy-cop pairing (in Marvel’s new approach of a super-hero movie) is the lack of charisma on Brie’s part. Yes, I’m not denying that she’s talented, and she’s got an Oscar to prove it, but not only being miscast in this role, but she’s also the equivalent of a stiff board standing next to Samuel L. Jackson.
Have I mentioned how amazing Samuel L. Jackson in this movie? The dude is lit here and I loved every second of his de-aged presence. He was charming, cocky, and funny all around bad-ass, and his friendship with Gus- the orange cat was adorable. Oh, and you know what else is amazing in Captain Marvel?
The presence of Ben Mendelsohn of course. The Aussie actor excels in the role of Talos, the leader of the Skrulls. And if there’s one thing the man really knows how to do, is to portray devilish, mischievous characters that sit on both sides of the good/bad spectrum. And he’s done it again. Besides Samuel, he’s probably the second shining light in this otherwise mediocre movie.
Jude Law is wasted here in a lackluster role, despite having decent screen time, and Lashana Lynch shines for a moment in the third act. But despite having some feminist undertones (the introduction of a young Monica Rambeau was a nice touch) and a female character in the titular role, Captain Marvel is just a driving vehicle for promoting other ideas. You know, when looking at the bigger picture of this movie. Like protecting an intergalactic nation of immigrants who were left scattered all around the universe. Like setting up the Avenger’s time-frame etc…
But the point is, the movie is not judgmental and condescending towards the male audience, as many fans feared that it would be. Yes, it has a soundtrack that’s exclusively out of 90’s divas. Yes, it points out to the fact that women are sometimes looked down upon, manipulated and harassed by the male colleagues. Yes, it’s nothing new. Hey, even the screenwriters wanted to make a whip-smart and wisecracking version of Tony Stark in Carol. They haven’t fully succeeded but it’s a start.
All, in all… Captain Marvel is a watchable movie. The third part drags on forever and the cinematography is terrible, but it’s a decent start for plenty more female characters out there. Marvel needs to step up the game and improve them, but for the most part, Captain Marvel is mediocre.