Mild spoilers ahead!
The Endgame is nearly here, but before we get there, we’ve got one more Marvel adventure to enjoy (or not enjoy!) in Captain Marvel. I saw it the other day, and whilst it’s a perfectly fine movie, for me, it didn’t reach the high standard that I’ve become accustomed to from the MCU. (Ant-Man and The Wasp aside.)
Captain Marvel is the first proper origin story we’ve had in the MCU since 2016’s Doctor Strange, but unfortunately I think it is the weakest origin film we’ve had. The first act is extremely slow, with not a lot really happening apart from one small action set piece that was lit so poorly I could barely see what was going on, but things to improve once Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) arrives on 1990’s Earth and is introduced to a younger Nick Fury and together they have to deal with an unfortunate Skull situation (Samuel L Jackson).
My biggest gripe with the film is how low-stakes it feels throughout, it’s always difficult to deliver what is essentially a prequel in a franchise that has been going for 11 years, because not only are they trying to not compromise continuity with the script, but we know that the main players are safe from any danger, not that it matters, because there is very little danger in this film either…
The MCU finally has it’s own version of Superman, which I am not a fan of, simply put, Carol Danvers is too good, not because of her powers necessarily, as we already have immensely powerful heroes like Thor in the MCU, but because there isn’t a single perceivable threat to her in the entirety of this film. She gets past every single obstacle put in front her with such ease it was almost impossible for me to feel engaged by the action. The beauty of the MCU and it’s rich array of characters is that in some way, they are all flawed and we get to see them overcome these flaws as they develop, but Carol Danvers is starved of any chance to develop because she is written to be completely flawless, I feel sorry for Brie Larson, we know how talented she is, but it feels like this film didn’t give her the opportunity to showcase her acting talents, and the end result for me was a lead character that was, for the most part, quite unlikeable. I found her to be quite dull and I just didn’t feel that connection that I have felt to other characters, and it’s because she wasn’t relatable. You can’t expect an audience to connect with a character that they can’t relate to, I may not be a genius billionaire, but I feel a connection to Iron Man because he’s a flawed character that learns and evolves from his mistakes, it just felt to me like Carol Danvers doesn’t have any room to develop because she is flawless already, that doesn’t sit well with me at all.
This has a knock on effect, and I felt like we had gone back to the days where the MCU delivers weak, one dimensional villains that will be forgotten by the time you leave the cinema. This is partly because they were also underdeveloped, but also because as I said earlier, they’re not at any point a threat, although you expect the villains to be beaten eventually, as is the way of the world, I’ve never felt like a villain is no threat at all until I watched Captain Marvel, again, this is poor writing.
One final gripe, I thought the CGI in this film in places was shockingly bad, especially during the third act, at times it looked like I was watching a video game, and it really took me out of the action.
But, that’s not to say that there aren’t positives! Samuel L Jackson shines as Nick Fury and the effects used to de-age him are absolutely incredible and it’s a sign of good things to come in the world of filmmaking, Ben Mendelsohn also gives a great performance as the leader of the Skrulls. There are plenty of easter eggs for long-time Marvel fans and as usual, there is plenty of great humour. Although I have heavily criticised this film, I didn’t not enjoy it, I almost feel like Captain Marvel is a victim of MCU success, things are going so well at the moment, if anything isn’t at the top of it’s game, then it becomes more noticeable.
I didn’t really go in to Captain Marvel too hyped, and I’m saddened that a lot of the publicity around it has been negative, but I’ve ignored all of that and I watched it based on it’s own merits. Overall, I thought it was okay, it’s fun enough and you’ll no doubt be entertained, but it’s not a Marvel film I’m ever going to go back and watch again. I think Brie Larson has been let down by a poor screenplay that failed to make Carol Danvers relatable and I’m now impartial as to her inclusion in Endgame, I would much rather have seen character development over a showcase of how ridiculously powerful she is, I think whoever wrote this film need to realise that flaws are a good thing, and I really hope that Endgame gives Larson the chance to shine, because she could be absolutely huge for the franchise and I’d be happy to see that happen, as long as she’s not the MCU equivalent of Superman, for the love of God, anything but that!
I didn’t leave Captain Marvel disappointed, but I didn’t leave impressed either, I just left with a “that was bang average” mentality and I’m now ready to move on to next month for the grand finale. See you in April, Thanos, the Endgame is almost here.
I give Captain Marvel a 6.5/10.
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