‘Captain Marvel’ is a marvel to behold, somewhat

Image from IMDb
Image from IMDb

Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers for Captain Marvel.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going strong for almost eleven  years now. We’ve seen a man suit up in high-tech armor. We’ve seen a  man become not only a super soldier but the symbol of America. We’ve  seen a high-powered god channel lightning through his comically large  hammer. Heck, we’ve even seen a talking tree and raccoon travel across  the universe, kicking butt and taking names. Needless to say, audiences  have seen a lot of varied–and straight up Strange–characters as time  went on.

Even after all these years, the MCU shows no signs of stopping. Last year alone, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp have  raked in a total of $4 billion at the box office. Not only that, but  these three films have introduced audiences to a plethora of new  characters and locales, with Wakanda as a notable example. Now, from the  looks of it, this year will be no exception.

That leads me to the newest installment of the MCU: Captain Marvel.  Set in 1995, the film introduces the world to Carol Danvers, a woman  who finds herself in the center of an intergalactic war between two  alien races: the Kree and the Skrulls. The film was originally announced  in October 2014 as part of the MCU’s Phase Three lineup, with Brie  Larson cast as the titular character two years later.

A lot’s riding on this film, as Captain Marvel is the MCU’s  first female-led film, along with the fact that Kevin Feige, the  president of Marvel Studios, says that the character will be at the  forefront of the franchise in the future.

A game of ‘Twister’

Image from IMDb

When asked about the film before its release, Kevin Feige had stated  that the film will not be “your conventional origin story.” He was  completely right and this aspect of the film worked entirely in its  benefit. At the beginning of the film, we find Carol Danvers as a member  of the Kree special forces unit known as the Starforce. However, while  this has been happening, Carol has been experiencing these violent, yet  surprisingly incoherent flashbacks that illustrated pivotal moments from  her past. These flashbacks rear their head at several points during the  film, and they were quite effective in detailing who Carol was before  she found herself as a member of the Starforce.

Despite the wealth of visual storytelling from these flashbacks, they  do not detail as much as I would’ve liked about Carol’s past. For  instance, certain parts of them depict her as a child, but they were too  brief to get me interested in her childhood. Since I’m on that topic, I  would’ve liked to see more from her childhood to get an idea on why she  made the choices that she did that would lead her into the woman she  became.

These flashbacks also reveal certain twists and turns that I will not  spoil here. Unfortunately, these twists were quite predictable,  particularly one involving the villain, who was marketed as the fearsome  Skrull known as Talos (played by Ben Mendelsohn). This twist revealed  that Talos wasn’t actually the villain as previously believed. That role  belonged to the person responsible for making Carol a member of the  Starforce, Yon-Rogg (played by Jude Law). I found Yon-Rogg to very  uncompelling as a character as he was quite boring in terms of writing  and performance. On the other hand, Talos was far better, as the writing  for him made his character far more sympathetic, and Mendelsohn’s  performance was fun and nuanced.

Earth to Captain Marvel, come in Captain Marvel

Image from IMDb

The weakest aspect of the film was Carol  Danvers/Captain Marvel herself, in both writing and performance. I found  Carol’s character woefully uninteresting. While the flashbacks in the  film helped to show Carol’s past and current struggles, she responds to  these events in oddly nonchalant ways, which I thought was very strange  since such problems should’ve had a profound impact on her character.  Not only that, but Carol’s character arc isn’t as effective as it  could’ve been. This is due to Carol as a character being mainly used as a  boring pawn used by other people, and not as a unique individual who  just happened to be taken advantage of but slowly grew aware of this as  the movie progressed.

Sadly, Brie Larson’s performance didn’t help matters. Throughout the  entire film, Larson’s acting primarily consisted of acting bored,  slightly irritated, and slightly amused. Such a wide range of emotions  didn’t bode well, as scenes where Carol was supposed to show intense  emotions—such as when she found herself reunited with an old friend—came  off as weak and uninspired. To make matters even worse, the moments in  which Carol gives “witty quips” to her enemies are very awkward and  unfunny due to the uninterested delivery of them.

The Fast and the Fury-ous

Image from IMDb

Not all is sour in the film, for the friendship depicted between  Carol and a young Nick Fury (played by an impressively de-aged Samuel L.  Jackson) is arguably the highlight of the film. Seeing Carol, a stoic  member of the Starforce, and Fury, who was a more lighthearted agent of  SHIELD at the time, play off each other is very entertaining to watch.  This dynamic is made all the more interesting due to the impact that it  had on the two characters themselves, particularly in their actions,  which massively affect the MCU as a whole.

“I understood that reference”

Since ‘Captain Marvel’ is a part of the MCU, there was bound to be  plenty of Easter eggs and references to the wider universe. I’m happy to  report that this film delivered plenty and then some. I kid you not,  there were a lot of easter eggs present in the film, with one at the  very end that’ll put a large, childlike smile on your face. Speaking of  which, there is an easter egg involving the late Stan Lee that will make  fans of the film being referenced quite happy. 

Images: IMDb

Featured Image: IMDb

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