It’s strange to think it took Marvel Studios twenty films to release a film with the lead character that isn’t a white male. Granted – Black Panther was the first to feature a person of color as the lead but we finally get a woman led Marvel film. If one thing is absolutely certain Warner and DC beat Marvel to the punch. They beat Marvel in just about every aspect with their first women led superhero film Wonder Woman released two years prior. But, regardless, Marvel finally is the one playing catch up.
Captain Marvel is also the final film before the cumulative crescendo that is Avengers: Endgame. What we get with Captain Marvel is a bit of what we are used to as fans of this franchise: an origin story that follows the same basic structure as the ones that have come before. This time along with their female lead character is a woman (co)-director. At least they’re finally branching out, right? At this point Marvel must have an assembly line for these productions at the rate they crank them out. With releasing two to sometimes three films a year the quality remains high given the increased quantity.
At some point does enough feel like enough. Is there such a thing as Marvel fatigue? The most diehard fans will say no, of course there is no fatigue but the casual fan who isn’t as invested like us nerds might feel a bit differently. Not every Marvel film is going to appeal to every single person. Captain Marvel is made to empower women of every age to stand up, be unique, don’t let someone who isn’t you speak on your behalf or try to control you. That’s one of this film’s major themes. Carol Danvers or Vers (Brie Larson) has been kidnapped by the Kree, a strong, proud race bent on protecting the galaxy from the Skrulls. The Skrulls are a race of shapeshifters who can mimic anyone down to recent memories and DNA, making it nearly impossible to tell them apart from the actual being they are shifted into.
“Excuse me, Miss. Do you know anything about a lady blowing a hole through the roof of that Blockbuster over there? Witness says she looks dressed for laser tag.”
On Hala, the home planet of the Kree, Vers (it’s a stupid nickname and how they came up with the name is even worse) is under the tutelage of Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) who trains her to “control her emotions” (I know, it’s cringe-worthy dialogue) and therefore control her powers. There is a few other cringy lines like when Vers is told she would be prettier if she smiled. She’s treated by her peers as if she’s worth less than they are which can be infuriating. The only one who treats Vers like an actual equal is Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) with not one but two eyes.
That’s right people, two eyes. Captain Marvel is the infamous origin story of Fury’s missing eye. If you’ve never seen Captain Marvel before but know the quote from Winter Solder when Fury tells Captain America about trusting someone, you’d expect Fury to lose his eye in grander fashion. But no, he loses it the way he does, and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth from the anticlimactic scene.
Captain Marvel gains its footing with the characters especially all the scenes with Fury and Carol. Marvel does well with blending different genre’s together and we’ve seen that succeed in the past. This time, we get a buddy cop type flick with Fury & Vers. They get to discuss personal details about each other that isn’t in character for most spies. The film works when these two banter, it’s a more relaxed and fun environment for the audience’s sake. More importantly Vers can be herself around Fury.
“Name a detail so bizarre, a Skrull can never fabricate it?”
Everything else feels basic. This is the first time the Marvel origin assembly line fails to deliver a compelling story. This introduction is more of a show of power as Vers is the one who can truly stop Thanos. Just like previous origin’s the weakest part about the film is the villain. Is there even a villain? Is it supposed to be Yon-Rogg or the supreme intelligence (Annette Bening), it’s difficult to tell exactly since there is zero character development outside of Vers, Fury, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) or Maria (Lashana Lynch).
The character Talos is actually a pleasant surprise. He’s teased as the villain, but he isn’t, and his story and motivations are heartwarming and unexpected. Of course Mendelsohn is incredible in every role he takes, but he’s especially incredible and brings a sincerity to this role. The spin on the Skrulls works for this film since they are notoriously known as the villains in the comics.
Given the amount of films Marvel Studios has released over the past 11 years Captain Marvel feels a bit derivative. Several shots and sequences can be identified as coming from a prior film. Over the past several films Marvel has also upgraded their color palette and visuals and this film thrives from that upgrade.
Captain Marvel, taking place in the 90’s can feel pretty overstuffed with nostalgia and references. Everywhere Vers goes there’s a reference. She has to fall through a blockbuster and get her equipment from a radio shack. Remember those places? I do, it doesn’t need to be shoved down our throats for two hours.
Overall, Captain Marvel is a good not great origin story of the promised strongest Avenger (sorry Thor). There is fantastic character development and interactions between Carol, Talos and Fury. The de-aging technology works for the most part but the one thing that tech cannot do is de-age the persons body. Sam Jackson looked like he was a little rusty getting up off that one knee. Captain Marvel also answers the question of why Fury didn’t call her in the battle of New York but when she’s called, she will come. If I were to rate Captain Marvel, I’d rate it a 3 out of 5. Don’t ever promise an awesome eye gouging and deliver what was actually given.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Captain Marvel and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Captain Marvel is directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck is Rated PG-13 and has an 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. Captain Marvel was released on March 8th, 2019 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 5 minutes. Captain Marvel can be streamed on Disney Plus.
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Captain Marvel will return