by Zach Smith-Michaels
I think that we want Marvel to fail. I believe that there’s some form of rebellion in all of us, because we want to see “the big guy” fail, and Marvel has been said “big guy” for almost a decade. The quality of each Marvel film ranges from “pretty good” to “kind of awesome” in my personal opinion. The film nerd in me doesn’t want to enjoy these superhero films as much as I do, but I have to be honest with myself and admit that I really like most of these films. I’ve been on this film watching journey with Marvel for years, and I enjoy seeing how all of these films run together. For some reason though, people seemed ready to hate Captain Marvel. They didn’t like the trailer, they disliked Brie Larson’s stance on women in film, and…that was really it. I certainly didn’t feel this way. I love Brie Larson and I think that a female led superhero film has been long overdue for Marvel. The trailer was as good as I expect from Marvel and so I went into Captain Marvel with my popcorn and large drink (giving up soda in 2019) ready to have a good time, and unfortunately this film fell short for me.
Often times, the biggest compliment that these Marvel films receive is “It doesn’t feel like a Marvel movie.” I would say that’s true of Captain Marvel. The film actually feels like a 90’s movie in a cool. Captain Marvel plays with tropes of the 90’s genre (No Spoilers) and I quite enjoyed that element of the film. Unfortunately, this movie hits the ground running, and never takes time to smell the roses. Seriously, this is one of the clunkiest plots I’ve ever seen in a Marvel movie. For the first act, I felt like this movie was running a million miles an hour and dragging me along due to my inability to keep up. I don’t mean to say that the plot is overly complex, but it’s delivery is messy.
Now, that’s not to say that I hate the movie. There’s plenty to enjoy! I think that Larson is trying to give the best performance possible, Sam Jackson’s de-aging CGI is incredible, Jackson and Larson have good chemistry, there are some cool action scenes, the message of the movie was beautiful, but my favorite part? The Skrulls! I thought that The Skrulls were handled very well! No spoilers, but their characterization was so dynamic. As a fan of comics, I’ve been waiting to see Skrulls in a movie for years. I will say that this was not what I was expecting, but I was satisfied. Finally, I am very excited to see (Spoilers if you haven’t seen Infinity War) Captain Marvel interact with the rest of the Avengers…but this also leads me to the films greatest flaw: The character development.
Woof! The character development in this film is not good. I guess I can understand why: You’re introducing a character who is about to join a crew of very well-known characters who all have big personalities, and Captain Marvel needs to fit in…but this was her film! We are frequently told throughout the film that Carol Danvers is too emotional, but we never see that! We just see her as a stoic woman for most of the movie. We never see her emotions get the better of her, we just hear about it. This movie really needed a course in show don’t tell. Lashana Lynch plays Maria Rambeau, and while she gives a good performance, she has not one interesting character trait. I wanted to like her character, and I loved her chemistry with Carol Danvers, but the movie gave her no character development.
Look, this movie isn’t awful…in fact I don’t even feel comfortable calling this movie bad. I love what this movie is doing. If this movie empowers women, I think that’s beautiful and great. At the end of the day, I think that there’s plenty to like about Captain Marvel, but all in all this movie is not very good from a film making stand point. Let’s be honest though, you already know if you’re going to see this movie. Please, don’t choose to skip this movie because it has a female as the lead character and for some reason that scares you. That is such backwards thinking. Judge the movie based on its craftsmanship. Do I think that Captain Marvel is going to go down as one of Marvel’s better entries? No, but I think that you should judge for yourself.