My review of Captain Marvel

Capt Marvel movie

I saw CAPTAIN MARVEL recently, and here are my brief NO SPOILERS thoughts on it.

All the Marvel movies have been entertaining, and this one is no exception. It has a fast-moving plot, multiple space aliens, and a character trying to find her way.

But is it good? Well, it’s okay. It’s definitely a mid or lower-tier Marvel movie. The friend I saw it with ranked it around the tier of Ant Man and the Wasp, and I would have to agree with that. The difference that makes AMatW superior, in my opinion, is that they nailed the character of Ant Man in that movie.

They didn’t do so well with Captain Marvel, the character. Marvel (the studio) has always been very good at building their heroes, often to the detriment of their villains, but it works, and it’s created some very memorable franchises (or sub-franchises?). Perhaps a different actress could have elevated the material and really brought Captain Marvel to life in a big way, but Brie Larson, while fine, just doesn’t have that ability. And the writing does her no favors.

The other big problem with her development is Sam Jackson. He’s just too good. He’s so effortlessly charismatic that he steals every scene, but if you’re going to have a star of that caliber serve as a supporting lead (and much of this film is a buddy movie, so he gets a lot of screentime) you need to have your lead be equally as engaging. John Travolta could do it. Brie Larson can’t. And unfortunately Sam Jackson has more chemistry with the cat than with her.

But, again, I don’t want to blame Brie too much. Her political preaching may be annoying, but if I waited for actors that I agreed with to come along I would never see a movie. So I can let that go. Her performance is pretty meh, but the writing that informs it is even worse. This is the one time I can think of that the Marvel creative team really let a main character down, and it’s a shame.

What about the rest of the movie? Well, it’s fast and zippy until a certain plot twist halfway in, and that plot twist felt more like a comment on modern day politics than an attempt at good storytelling (hint: it has something to do with immigration). After that point the plot mechanics become somewhat clunky, and the last act is muddled because of it. Ronan the Accuser is totally wasted, and in fact he’s made into a joke to build up Capt. Marvel’s character more — not a great move on the part of the writers.

Also, there’s some continuity problems this movie creates, since it’s set before most of the other movies.

And don’t get me started on how Nick Fury loses his eye. Sigh.

Anyway, I could go on, but I don’t dislike the movie enough to savage it, and I don’t like it enough to really recommend it. If you’re a Marvel completist, you’ll see this movie, and you won’t have a bad time at the theater. Sam Jackson and the cat are great, and there’s some cool alien stuff. There are some politics, and I do feel that they somewhat derail the movie, and the whole thing feels kind of messy, but with a different writer and director I would be interested to see the further adventures of Carol Danvers in a future movie, hopefully in space.

If you want a pro-female action movie to go see this weekend, I would highly recommend the far, far better ALITA BATTLE ANGEL.

Have you seen Captain Marvel? What did you think?