Captain Marvel

"Higher, further, faster, baby."

If you're looking for something groundbreaking or game changing, then this film will likely leave you disappointed. If, however, you're just looking for a pretty fun superhero adventure then Captain Marvel has got you covered.

It shows just how confident Marvel has become in its universe building that they can start this movie by plunging us right into Carol's life on the Kree homeworld and her work as a member of Starforce fighting the Kree-Skrull War with almost no setup. There's not even a clunky prologue to tell us who these two races are or why they are fighting. There's a bit of exposition here and there to explain the Skrull's shapeshifting ability, but for the most part this film operates on the assumption that everyone watching has some basic understanding of the cosmic side of the MCU. As much as I love that side of the MCU, these scenes are by far the film's weakest thanks largely to the script's failure to give any of the Starforce members, save for Carol, their own distinct personalities and because of how rushed they all feel. The film is in such a hurry to get Carol back to Earth we never get a real sense of what her life is like on Hala or her relationship with these people.

Ironically, the film doesn't really take off until it comes crashing back down to Earth. Refreshingly, the film doesn't rely too heavily on fish out of water humour. Carol takes being in this unfamiliar world mostly in her stride. The film also wisely keeps its 90s nostalgia from getting out of control. The period setting is mostly used for the odd joke about how slow computers were back then and as an excuse to have some killer tunes on the soundtrack. Some of the song choices are ridiculously on the nose, but that just makes me love them all the more.

But it isn't until Carol teams up with a familiar looking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that the film really starts to come together. Marvel's greatest strength has always been its characters. They are why this universe works so well. It's not the effects or the action scenes or even the hunt for the bleedin' Infinity Stones. It's the people. We watch these movies because we like these characters and we love seeing them interact. If we didn't this entire shared universe would've floundered like all the others. Some of Captain Marvel's best scenes are just of Carol and Fury hanging out and bantering with each other. By the end of the film they'd become one of my favourite Marvel double-acts.

As the MCU's latest brightly coloured hero, Brie Larson is, if you'll excuse the lazy and obvious pun, simply marvellous. It only took me a few scenes to fall head over heels in love with Carol Danvers. She has the snark of Iron Man, the street smarts of Black Widow, the heart of Captain America, and the hair of Thor, all the while retaining her own distinct identity. And she has amazing chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson, who is clearly having a great time as the younger, less grizzled, cat loving Fury. Lashana Lynch is also great as Carol best friend, Maria, despite less screentime. And Ben Mendelsohn is just a hoot as Skrull leader Talos. I honestly did not expect him to be as funny as he was.


Sadly, the film never finds anything interesting for any of its Kree characters to do. Jude Law's Yon-Rogg is not so much a character, but a machine for knocking out the same cliched advice tough love movie mentors always give. Meanwhile, Djimon Hounsou and Lee Pace are just as wasted here as they were in Guardians of the Galaxy and the same goes for Gemma Chan. The entire Starforce team is nothing more than a bunch of glorified extras. They should've just saved themselves some money and hired a stunt team to play them.

I'd love to say those are the only negatives, but I'm afraid there's more. The film has some nice unexpected twists, but far too many I saw coming after the first trailer. The action scenes and special effects also fail to impress. They're not terrible, just unremarkable.  There's nothing as bad as those Rhinos from Black Panther, but there's nothing as amazing as Captain America: Civil War's airport brawl either. Overall, Captain Marvel is on par with Thor and Ant-Man. It's a good film, elevated by a strong cast, but never quite soars as high as you'd hoped it would.

Notes and Quotes 

--The films starts with a very moving tribute to Stan Lee. Not gonna lie, I cried.

--Goose the cat repeatedly steals the show.

--There wasn't as much young Coulson as I thought there would be, but that was probably a good thing because the de-aging effects were a lot more noticeable on Clark Gregg than on Jackson.

Carol: "What is this?"
Nick: "It's a shield logo."
Carol: "Does announcing your identity help with the covert part of the job?"
Fury: "Said the space soldier who was wearing a rubber suit."

Three out of four killer 90s tunes.

(Please note that the comments below include spoilers!)

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig

10 comments:

434444334 said...

I loved that cat also I felt like the reveal of how Nick got that eye patch was just a slap in the face

I did like that the direction they gave the Skrull and how in reality they hate this war and want it to end but the Kree are so stubborn that they won't stop till every Skrull is dead EVEN THE CHILDREN WTF

I personally give it an 8 outta 10 maybe an 8.5 just for the main character alone

CoramDeo said...

I found the movie to be disappointing. The script was heavily flawed, especially the dialogue, and a lot of the story's elements almost worked, but not quite. The main character failed to resonate with me, I think mostly because of the way she was written. Her snarky humor always felt out-of-place to me, and she used the same emotion the whole film. She interacted with literally everybody like she was their best friend, even when she didn't know them. I would have connected with her final triumph and her 'I don't need to prove anything to you' if she'd spent the whole film unsure of herself and wanting to prove herself to everyone else, but she spent the whole film confident and with no emotional need to prove herself. I like Brie Larson's acting a lot, but I don't know that she could have done anything for the character. I was disappointed that the Skrulls were sympathetic characters, but especially that they were relegated the whole time to comic relief. I liked Fury and Coulson, but I can't for the life of me figure out what Ben Mendelsohn was going for in his performance. Great review, though, Mark. I completely agree about the Kree characters, and I thought Ronan looked dumb here. At least in Guardians he looked cool.

CoramDeo said...

Great review though, Mark.

Aaron Studer said...

Nice review - I actually thought Ben Mendelsohn was the scene-stealer in this movie, I love his performances in general as villains (Rogue One certainly comes to mind). I don’t know exactly how I’m supposed to feel about Carol yet, but I do love the character’s snark; she’s not quite yet at the level of Tony Stark or Stephen Strange as far as having a comeback for everything, and that shows in her attempts to try to come off like she knows what she’s doing against her opponents - I think that’s part of her charm for me. Thought it was a little bit of a waste though to bring back Clark Gregg, Djimon Hounsou, and Lee Pace as their respective characters only to get five minutes of combined screentime total; at that rate, they could have been interchanged with any other character and the plot would have progressed roughly the same.

lisa menaster said...

Why does Captain Marvel need to be groundbreaking or "soar high"? What's wrong with a solidly good superhero movie?

Lei said...

Agreed. I had a lot of fun. After the gut punch of Infinity War, this was a fun ride. Once she joins up, I am sure it will take a darker turn. Gotta say MCU does it again

An Honest Fangirl said...

I unabashedly loved this movie. I think I had a giant grin on my face from the moment Carol fully powered up until the end. I loved her relationship with Fury, and Goose was a precious, little not-cat thing. I was admittedly a little disappointed with the direction that they took the Skrulls, if only because Secret Invasion could have been so cool and we could have seen all of our actors do something different, but that's a relatively minor thing.

Patrick said...

I definitely didn't think Captain Marvel was the suckfest some reviewers made it out to be, but I don't think it was all that good either. I think some of the humor felt out of place, similar to what I thought about Thor: Ragnarok. I didn't find the character of Carol Danvers all that compelling, she felt exactly the same at the beginning of the movie as she felt at the end. I still wish we'd gotten Katee Sackhoff instead of Brie Larson. I think the people who should've been freaked out about what was happening weren't freaked out NEARLY enough. I think the attempt to wedge her story into the existing Avengers/Infinity Stone arc was a bit too on-the-nose. And the thing with Nick Fury's eye? Really, that's how it happened? smh...

I will say that I LOVED the new Marvel title logo, with all of the Stan Lee cameos, I got a little choked up when the dedication appeared. And Stan Lee's cameo in this one was by far my favorite. :)

sunbunny said...

I wanted to love it as much as I loved Wonder Woman, but some things just didn't click for me. Like Lee Pace? WHY WAS HE THERE? Totally pointless distraction. I thought when Jude Law got cast it was to play the villain but then he was her boss and I was like oh ok I guess I was wrong but then he WAS the bad guy and I love how he was like hahaha beat me without your powers tho and she was like "fuck that."

I saw the movie with my mom and I promised her it wasn't as deep into the MCU as Infinity War but gosh she ended up confused. I could feel it coming off of her in waves. And I'm still confused about why Yon-Rogg was a Kree but wasn't blue. Mar-Vell too actually. And it bugged me they never said the words "Captain Marvel." And I thought the score was meh. When Carol powered all the way up I wanted a FUCK YEAH moment from the score and it did not deliver. Also I really wish I hadn't been spoiled about how Fury lost his eye. I wonder if Coulson believed him. He sounded a little too awed. Or maybe that's just younger!Coulson and I'm too used to his older, snarkier self.

Where is Goose now? How long do Flerken live? Can Goose swallow Thanos? Who did Monica grow up to be? What's Carol been doing for the past 25 years? How did Mar-Vell get the Tesseract from Howard Stark? How psyched am I for Endgame? HOW HAPPY WAS I TO SEE STEVE'S BEARD AGAIN?

Carol and Maria should have been in a romantic relationship that would have made everything a lot more compelling just saying.

Billie Doux said...

I loved it. I loved Nick Fury in it. And I loved the cat.