Captain Marvel is the latest film from Marvel and Disney, after an 8-month break. Captain Marvel continues to develop the astonishing 20 film universe known as the MCU. Unlike any other Marvel film (except for Captain America: The First Avenger), Captain Marvel takes place before the events of the first Iron Man. Set in 1995, Captain Marvel follows Carol Danvers and Nick Fury as they struggle to find out more about who Carol is while trying to prevent a Skrull invasion on Earth. How did Marvel’s first female adventure out pan out? How does she fit into this already established world? Let’s find out.
I have to say after years of watching Kevin Feige and his incredible team at Marvel break new ground for superhero movies and what they can be, Captain Marvel, in my opinion, was a step backward and was very disappointing. Ever since Captain America: The Winter Soldier and on, every MCU film has had a distinct style, while still feeling like a cohesive story that blends seamlessly with the rest of the overarching story of the MCU. Captain Marvel fails at accomplishing both. Not only do I not sense any kind of personality in the filmmaking behind the movie, I feel no sense of character for Carol Danvers or who she is as a person, but we will come back to that point. As for the filmmaking, it feels lifeless. I found the film to be dull and in most parts of the movie, boring and uncompelling. Each film, post The Winter Soldier, has a distinct style to it. The Winter Soldier, 70’s style political thriller. Guardians of the Galaxy, a sarcastic space romp. Antman, a heist film. Spider-Man: Homecoming, John Hughes high school film. You get the point. Captain Marvel, I guess is a 90’s style action movie, but if that’s the case the film doesn’t have really any memorable action scenes. In fact, I found the action scenes in this movie to be some of the worst in the franchise. Certain parts of the movie I couldn’t tell what was going on. A surprising amount of shaky cam work, and not really any distinct colours to separate who was who in the fight.
I hate to say this, Brie Larson, Captain Marvel herself, I felt really didn’t fit this role. Her choices, or maybe it was direction, for this character and the quirks she has really didn’t work. A lot of the time they were annoying and I found myself rolling my eyes when it should’ve been a serious character moment. They never show any kind of vulnerability or emotion for her. Captain Marvel is portrayed as stoic and unemotional. I have no understanding of who Carol Danvers is. The character I’m talking about that we never learn about here is not where is she from, where does she get her powers from. It’s the type that tells us what drives her and fuels her to carry on. It’s the type of character that if she didn’t have these incredible abilities, would she still make the right choice. It’s what makes this universe filled with heroes stand out and attract us to keep coming out every time a movie is released. It’s why we love these characters. I don’t think there’s a better example of who a character is better than the moment Captain America jumps head first onto that grenade in the first Captain America movie before he even had his powers and was just the small, weak kid from Brooklyn. Captain Marvel doesn’t have any character-defining scenes. Her character goes through essentially no struggles the entire movie. Even when the story takes a turn midway through, the choice she is presented with is an easy one. We learn nothing about her, she’s super powerful at the beginning and just becomes even more powerful by the end. There’s no arc for the character. Captain Marvel is a static character who we learn nothing about. If this turns out to be character Kevin Feige has been hinting at, the new leader of the MCU after End Game, I would be very concerned. I hope they find a new group of filmmakers to who can flesh her character out and fulfill the potential Captain Marvel has.
Now, I didn’t hate this film (as much as it sounds like I did). I honestly believe the de-aging effect used on Clark Gregg and in particular Samuel L. Jackson is the best de-aging effects we have ever seen in film. Groundbreaking stuff. The best character in this movie is Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull leader, Talos. At first, he seems just like every other character Ben Mendelsohn has been playing in big films. Krennic in Rogue One and Sorrento in Ready Player One. These are pretty one-dimensional characters, so I’m so glad he got a chance to really sink his teeth into a role like this. There are so many levels to discover about Talos and Ben Mendelsohn plays the role amazingly well. Sam Jackson reprising his role as Nick Fury is always great. This time with a fun twist of Nick Fury as a younger man and not as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. that we know and love. There is an absolutely incredible and beautiful tribute to Stan Lee, that I believe is worth the price of admission alone. Along with some fun 90’s references that I really quite enjoyed being a big fan of 90’s pop culture myself. That’s about it that I can say for the things that worked for me.
Captain Marvel is the first time I’ve noticed big continuity issues within the MCU. I won’t go into them, as most of them are spoilers. One thing that is not necessarily a continuity issue, but more of a throwaway thing that could have been great character development that I took big issue with. Some may call it a spoiler, I don’t think it is, but if you don’t want to know anything detail wise, skip this paragraph. We learn how Nick Fury loses his eye and it’s awful. I’ll go as far as to say that I hate it. That incredible line he gives in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, “Last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye,” is now a completely pointless and throw away line that means nothing. A lot of the continuity issues I have revolve around his character actually.
You may find enjoyment in Captain Marvel, I know lots of people who do really love this movie. For me, however, Captain Marvel is a flat, dull movie with no character development for our lead. With one really strong character in Talos and a few fun moments, Captain Marvel is a big disappointment. Marvel has progressed so much and has been setting the gold standard in what a superhero film can be, and now after an incredible streak of consistent great movies, we have Marvel’s first weak film in a few years. There’s a lot of controversy around this film and a lot of it is ridiculous. I think it’s so awesome we are getting more inclusive films and with that, different stories we can tell. It’s just unfortunate that Marvel’s first female-led movie is just not all that compelling. I really wanted to love this one, I really did.