REVIEW — Captain Marvel (2019)

For over a decade now, Marvel Studios has been creating groundbreaking and enjoyable films, with names like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth leading the franchise. However, after twenty-one movies, a female has never been the lead of a Marvel film, until “Captain Marvel” (2019). “Captain Marvel” (2019) was directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and produced by Marvel mastermind Kevin Feige.

Set in 1995, “Captain Marvel” (2019) explores the life of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a former U.S. Air Force pilot, who, after gaining incredible abilities in a flight accident, joins Starforce, an elite military team led by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). Starforce serves under the Kree, a technologically advanced alien empire. Lacking her memories of life on Earth and being separated from Starforce, Carol mysteriously finds her way back home where she rediscovers her identity with the aid of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and must attempt to end a war between the Kree and the Skrulls, a shapeshifting rival empire of the Kree who seeks to invade Earth.

When it comes down to the actual quality of “Captain Marvel” (2019), the film shines brightest when it comes to special effects and performances. The visual effects are flawless and blend right into the film, specifically the de-aging technology used to make Samuel L. Jackson (who plays Nick Fury) and Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson) look 24 years younger. Beyond the special effects applied to him, Samuel L. Jackson delivers a fantastic, comedic, and entertaining performance. Another outstanding performance comes from Golden Globe-nominee Ben Mendelsohn, who plays Talos, a Skrull. Mendelsohn, almost unrecognizable under an immense amount of makeup, manages to be both charming and menacing to the audience. Academy Award-nominee Jude Law is well cast and a great addition to the film, even if his character’s decisions are extremely clichéd and predictable. A major surprise and positive for “Captain Marvel” (2019) comes in the form of Goose, a cat. Yes, you heard me right, a cat. Without spoiling, this little cat is a hilarious part of a film that needs something to help it stand out from other superhero blockbusters.

Unfortunately, “Captain Marvel” (2019) has numerous flaws. To my utter shock, I found Academy Award-winner Brie Larson to be one of the worst parts of “Captain Marvel” (2019). Her performance felt bland, emotionless, and uninteresting; all traits not expected, nor wanted, from the lead of a Marvel film. Larson does occasionally shine and show off her undeniable talents, but for most of the film, she is unenjoyable. Also, the writing and story for “Captain Marvel” (2019) is far from perfect. The script is extremely predictable, with me constantly being able to guess what would happen. “Captain Marvel” (2019) just feels like filler in the grander scheme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie fills in some plot holes established in other films, but only plot holes about which few have really cared. Marvel has typically been one of the few studios that has tried to make each film in its superhero canon stand strongly on its own while also connecting to the brand’s larger universe; concern about the need for sequels and spinoffs were secondary to each film’s quality. This time, it seems that the studio was overly concerned with future installments and forgot to make sure this film worked on its own. My biggest problem with the film, though, is how completely forgettable and irrelevant it is. “Captain Marvel” (2019) doesn’t really have any mind-blowing or breathtaking scenes. The only one that is remotely memorable is the opening battle. That scene is packed with intensity, fantastic fight choreography, and suspense. The scenes that follow are comprised of out-of-place humor and an Academy Award-winning lead that is consistently being outshined by her co-stars.

Since it’s release on March 8, “Captain Marvel” (2019) has been subject to mixed reviews, including debate about the larger societal importance about this new female superhero. To quote the New York Post, “the movie desperately wants to be a feminist rallying cry but does little to earn it outside of having a female main character and playing No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” during a fight scene.” On the other hand, New York Times writer Gabe Cohn said “Disney’s “Captain Marvel” rides a wave of enthusiasm for more diverse superheroes, a hunger for blockbusters at a quiet time of year and a large helping of ’90s nostalgia to sell $153 million in tickets in U.S. theaters over the weekend.” Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes’ critics score got a 79% while the audience score boiled down to 63%. Metacritic rated the film a 64% and Google has confirmed that 75% of Google Users liked “Captain Marvel” (2019). Luckily, the box office is far from negative. In its opening weekend, the movie made an astonishing $455 million worldwide (33.6% domestic and 66.4% foreign). This makes “Captain Marvel” (2019) the current holder of the 3rd biggest March opening ever; the 6th largest global opening of all time; and the biggest global opening for a female-led film.

After making over twenty comic book films in just over a decade, one would expect Marvel Studios to have nailed down every aspect of making the perfect superhero film. Unfortunately, “Captain Marvel” (2019) is far from perfect. However, thanks to the fantastic performances from Ben Mendelsohn and Samuel L. Jackson, “Captain Marvel” (2019) is still a somewhat enjoyable film. Much to my disappointment, I rate “Captain Marvel” (2019) at 60%. The film definitely serves a purpose in building the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, but on its own, it is forgettable and an overall disappointment.

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