This weekend, it is the long-awaited release of Marvel Studios’ 21st film in their cinematic universe. The MCU has seen long, sustainable success and more than enough duds in their path (Thor: The Dark World, Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp), but coming off of a 3-time Academy Award winner for Black Panther, it’s safe to say the stakes have been raised. Careful what you wish for.
Still, the folks down at Marvel studios know what they’re doing, and that is likely to go rewarded. The latest entry, Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as the title hero, alongside Samuel L. Jackson reprising his role as shield agent, Nick Fury. We also see Ben Mendolsohn steal a little bit of the spotlight as Talos, the leader of the shape-shifting Skrulls. Clark Gregg also gets a reprise as Agent Phil Coulson. And new standout Lashana Lynch plays the best friend and has her own bit of ‘Will-Smith-ala-Independence-Day’ moment. Veteran actors Jude Law and Annette Bening close out the well-rounded cast.
The film, according to pre-sale tickets, is likely to fall only behind the Panther himself in terms of opening weekend success. Which will not be a surprise to the legion of fans that Marvel has. Although there was some vitriol towards Larson landing the role as she was not seen by some as the first choice to play the fabled comic-book captain, still her performance shines under a somewhat over-saturated script to the point where you at least believe she wants to wear the suit. The other complaint came mainly from troll bots looking to stifle the films success. So much so that Rotten Tomatoes had to remove over 50,000 obvious fake reviews either calling the movie the greatest film ever or a man-hating SJW dumpster fire. Both claims are vastly incorrect.
First off, Captain Marvel had a monumental task in front of it that I don’t think it realized when it first set off, and that was: how the heck do we pack all this stuff in here?
Seriously, it was no joke. It was introducing a new planet, new race, new powers, new hero, new villains, regaling us with the nostalgia of the time, multiple flashbacks of her human life, her hero origin story, tying it all into the greater MCU, and then finally, bridging the gap for her relevance to the events of Infinity War. That’s a lot to cover. And the film only sits at 2 hours and 5 minutes.
I’d like to tell you Marvel nailed it, but not quite. It truly was a lot to cover, so much of the film feels muddled and rushed, while other moments seem to drag endlessly. Brie Larson gives an almost flat performance for the first hour of the film. It isn’t until she’s confronted with the reality of her past life that she begins to actually drive some nuance into her character. Humor is subjective, but the humor in this film felt like it was intentionally there for you not to laugh. A lot of stale jokes and thinly veiled references that feels about 20 films too old, which I guess may have been the writer’s point since the film takes place in the 90’s.
The humor and acting are only minor complaints. The bigger one is: why is there so much talking? The timing between action and dialogue is so vast that when action happens in the film, it feels like it was put there by the director because they forgot they were making an superhero movie. And this is really the result of Captain Marvel being so powerful. Who wants to watch a fight that she’s so easily going to win? There was literally no one who could lift a finger towards her. Not even the so-called “Supreme Intelligence”.
So even when fists were flying, they weren’t to be taken too seriously as Captain Marvel is easily one of the strongest people in the galaxy.
Still, through it’s highs and lows, it was a decent film. Far better than anyone expected, especially if you listen to those crazy people on the internet. But also not nearly as good as some of the hits Marvel has given us over the past 11 years. But the mid-credit scene is worth sticking around for, as it is hard not to be pumped for the final chapter in the Avengers saga.
And we’ll see how high Captain Marvel will fly then.