Review: Captain Marvel

Fresh out of the theatre! I got my coffee and a warm spot at our local supermarket with a full view of the downtown hum-drum, ready to discuss the newest Marvel Superhero, Captain Marvel. So let’s get this mother-Flerken thing started.
First off, a brief overview of who exactly Captain Marvel is, based on the movie as well as a little research I’m doing right now, because this is one comic book character that I knew hardly anything about before watching the movie. Her name is Carol Danvers, and in the comics she was an Air Force pilot and intelligence officer who had a run in with an undercover Kree, the original Captain Marvel. Carol was a pretty insignificant character for a while as she tailed along for some adventures, but then her powers were unlocked by an alien machine and she became known as Ms. Marvel. When the Kree hero died, writers had Carol take up the mantle. Since that time, she has led the Avengers and worked alongside the X-Men, and is arguably one of the most powerful superheroines who isn’t a god. Her character, Ms. Marvel, began in the 1970’s during the feminist movement, but was reborn less than 10 years ago by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick into the hero, Captain Marvel, that we get to watch on screen today. So much of the story that is told in the movie is thanks to Ms. DeConnick. And that is about all I want to share from backstory so that I don’t give anything in the movie away.
This movie has a lot of weight on it’s shoulders: Introducing a hero, linking into Avengers: Endgame, connecting with past movies, and arguably carrying us forward into the next Phase of Marvel films. I think that because of this weight, the character of Captain Marvel gets a little murky within the plot and history of the alien races, Kree and Skrull, and their war. It doesn’t quite pull me in to the story from the get-go. Along with this, as the audience, we know where this movie is going and we know who she is eventually going to become (if only seeing it in the trailer as she’s flying through space), but we are forced to wait for her memory to return so that the plot can advance, and so the movie did feel a little long in between the action sequences. I wouldn’t say that this took away much for me as a viewer, but I can understand why people might not rank this movie at the top of their Marvel favorites.
It’s a story of finding your power within. There is still a lot of feminism attached to this movie, but it came across more scattered than say Wonder Woman (DC’s first solo superheroine film). However, Marvel acted marvelously in giving their first female-led superhero role to Brie Larson. Her character is strong even before her appearance as Captain Marvel. She fights with heart and isn’t afraid of a challenge, and Brie helps to bring that to life. She gives Carol the same strength and resiliency that was given in a very similar way to her character in Room. But she is also lacking in pathos for much of the film, as she is repeatedly told to curb her emotions and control her powers, which makes it somewhat difficult to relate to her. Another great performance was Samuel L. Jackson, reprising his role as Nick Fury, except without the eye patch. They de-aged him with their Disney technology, and then they gave him a buddy-cop role as he and Carol run around looking for information, but surprisingly his connection with the Flerken cat, Goose, had way more going for it! I did like where in time we got to be with Fury and Coulson (Clark Gregg, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and could genuinely see them pulling off a 90’s movie like Bad Boys. (Sadly, I don’t think this is in the cards…)
Some other characters get very much lost in the shuffle of the story. Ben Mendelsohn (Talos) and Annette Bening (Dr. Lawson) are two of those characters, who I think both gave great performances, but ultimately their characters didn’t have enough screen time. Jude Law (Yon-Rogg) was another character who I think had something really good going with Carol, but I just didn’t think it was explored as much as it could have been. And that was my main qualm with the film, because there were so many parts that were great, but they just didn’t feel as well pieced together as some other Marvel movies. I needed more character-character development for certain payoffs to hit home, and I really hope that they don’t just decide to insert Captain Marvel into Avengers: Endgame as an easy way out of the Thanos problem.
I am still recommending this movie, and especially to you Marvel fans who have followed this franchise from the beginning and are gearing up for Endgame, but I didn’t come out clapping. I didn’t have that feeling that I recently got in Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok. So it’s a bit of a letdown given recent successes, but I’ll take it in stride as we gear up for the finale, which is less than 7 weeks away! And I’ll wrap up this post with the same gratitude that the movie opens with: Thank you Stan. Cheers!

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