Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel Review: Just a Girl, Outta This World

Captain Marvel

Movie Rating:

3.5

The ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe has a need to keep adding new characters to stay fresh and fun. Also, considering that Avengers: Infinity War killed off roughly half the cast, heroes and humans alike, it seems like a good time to add some fresh meat onto the grill. Captain Marvel is not just an origin story of the next ballyhooed hero in the MCU, it’s an origin story about origin stories.

The film opens with Vers (Brie Larson) having a very bad dream. She just can’t seem to shake images of older wars fought and people, whomever they are, needlessly dying. When she awakes in a cold sweat, she decides to engage her mentor, and fellow Kree team member, in some light sparring and wordplay. Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) has a good repartee with Vers, but is also teaching her to be a warrior and to deny her uncontrollable emotions.

When she’s unable to do so, even in late night friendly training, Yon-Rogg makes Vers visit the Supreme Intelligence. Everyone sees someone different, someone they admire. Vers happens to see someone played by Annette Bening, but she cannot remember who this woman is or what she admires about her. Might it have something to do with her unshakable dreams?

Soon after the visit with this mystery guru, Vers and the rest of her team are called up on a mission. It’s a dangerous one, as the Kree people are deep into a long and costly war with the Skrulls. These shapeshifting nemeses are the sworn enemy to the Kree, and they will stop at nothing to defeat them. By a quick turn of events Vers is captured by the Skrulls, forced to re-experience some of her long-forgotten memories, and yanked to planet C-53 (Earth) with the Skrulls hot on her heels.

Though much of Captain Marvel is a fish-out-of-water story, where Vers experiences 1995 in America for the first time, the film has enough to differentiate itself from other superhero movies that have already covered similar territory. The point gets across, gets a few laughs, and then it moves onward.

Most of the film is about Vers trying to save Earth, which just so happens to hinge on her own history here. Along the way, she meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and together they try to outrun and outsmart Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). The bits with Vers and Fury lean heavily into the buddy comedy they should one day star in together, and it’s a joy to watch them simultaneously poke fun at one another and develop a deep respect.

The fact that Captain Marvel is so bent on proving the validity of hero origins, in an origin story, slows down the action a little bit. Comic fans and cinema fans alike tend to gobble up the initial making of their next favorite hero, and this all feels like a battle that need not be fought. We’ve already accepted these types of stories as essential canon, and additional evidence isn’t needed.

Captain Marvel has plenty of fight scenes in space with blasting 90s music on the soundtrack. The use of No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” feels a little indulgent here, but it’s admittedly appropriate and punchy enough to keep the film’s mood light and tangy.

Like so many other contemporary superhero movies, the concept of “good” and “bad” gets appropriately messy. One of Black Panther‘s greatest strengths was a justified (albeit dramatic) villain. Captain Marvel never quite makes it to the level of that now Academy Award winning film, but it does make its own strides toward taking a straightforward plot and turning it just enough so that new truths emerge.

Captain Marvel is by no means the next best superhero movie. But it is a lot of fun, and a solid foundation for a character with plenty of potential in the MCU.

What Did You Think of Captain Marvel

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31 comments

    • njscorpio

      I hear she doesn’t have any flaws, so she is hard to relate to, and if you can’t relate to her it’s hard to empathize with what is going on.

  1. Ryan

    Saw last night. I thought the first half was a big miss. The dialog fell flat, and the acting was wooden.
    Things picked up a great deal once Talos became a larger part of the movie.
    Her character arc was pretty lame too. She was told to slow down while go-karting? She couldn’t do the ropes? Pretty mundane origin story. And then it just took those moments to copy Alfred’s words from Batman Begins.

    It was okay I guess. And yet another Marvel movie that completely misses the mark in terms of music. No memorable themes whatsoever (besides times when they used the Avengers’ theme)

  2. In every aspect, it felt like a TV movie more than a theatrical movie.

    The screenplay was week. The script was downright bad. The score was underwhelming. Its use of in-movie nostalgic ’90s hits worked, but when it turning into a No Doubt Guardians of the Galaxy fight montage (I call it montage because the editing was so bad that no two camera shots felt like you were fluidly watching the same fight sequence) it couldn’t have been more out-of-place. The directing and cinematography were amateur. The humor was on par with YouTube videos. The characters were either flat as a board or, if recurring, not at all consistent with the previous portrayals. I’ll use Nick Fury – who was turned into a comedic sidekick – for an example. I don’t buy for one minute that this Nick Fury is the same one who fought his way out and survived they convoy attack in Winter Soldier.

    I miss the days when the MCU’s popcorn movies were not only fun, but also made with quality and style. Captain Marvel is simply just another ho-hum cookie-cutter affair.

    • Al

      Luke, THANK YOU!!! I can’t even begin to describe how your remarks made me feel! It’s like you took the words right out of my mouth. It’s such a shame that the media is spinning the terrible audience reviews as bots/publicity stunt/anti-SJW trolls, because I wish people had the opportunity to understand that a lot of them are 100% genuine. This is not a good film, in any regard. I’ve put a lot of thought into it, and I’m almost certain that this one takes the title of worst MCU film of all time.

      • Whether the movie is actually any good or not is irrespective of the fact that Rotten Tomatoes was bombarded by over 50,000 totally fake reviews before the movie had even been publicly screened for anyone.

        • Al

          You’re just reiterating my point. This is a redundant comment. That’s exactly what I’m referring to. I’m saying it’s a shame that nobody will ever know or suspect that it’s a genuinely mediocre-to-bad movie, because of what happened.

          • It sounded like you were saying that most of the reviews RT purged were legitimate and not bots/trolls, which is an argument that’s been making the rounds a lot the last couple days.

          • Al

            Not at all. Just saying I wish that none of that stuff ever would have happened or hit the media cycle. If it wouldn’t have, people would be much more aware of, and understanding of the fact that this is not even a decent movie.

      • Avengers Infinity War has received a total of 53300 user ratings today. Captain Marvel got 54000 in a day. Are you saying that there’s no way this was a result of bots or organized smear campaigns, and that every single of those reviews are genuine by people that actually saw it in the theatres?

        Cinemascore is the only audience review that can absolutely guarantee that the everybody who reviews the movie actually saw it, and their score is ‘A’. Where does that difference come from? Are Cinemascore ‘losing’ the negative reviews? Are they deliberately seeking out audience members that are in a good mood? Or is it possible that some people that dislike the idea of the Captain Marvel movie has posted negative Tomato reviews without even seeing it?

        It is of course completely reasonable to dislike the movie. But, when there’s such an obvious and massive hate campaign going on, it’s really, really hard to separate the real reviews from the smears. I’m certainly not going to read through 500 negative reviews to find the 10 genuine ones. So, the hate campaign will have to take responsibility for the real reviews being lumped together with the fake ones.

        • Al

          You should probably read all comments before posting…

          You ask, “Are you saying that there’s no way this was a result of bots or organized smear campaigns, and that every single of those reviews are genuine by people that actually saw it in the theatres?”

          Read through the comments. Your question is directly answered. It’s quite clear that bots/trolls played a role in the whole fiasco. And like I said before, it’s a shame that such a thing happened. The fact that it did made it so that people were not given the chance to be aware of the fact that it’s a genuinely bad film.

        • Al

          Trond,

          All you need to do is read Luke’s comments. Everything he says about this film is utterly on point. He objectively states how and why it’s an abject failure, from an artistic standpoint. And it absolutely is. It doesn’t succeed in any way that it set out to.

          • Well, I think you’re both very harsh. You’re basically giving it a 0/10 score. I think it’s closer to 6/10 or 7/10. I’m not saying it was perfect, but I was entertained.

          • Al

            No. I wouldn’t say that at all. It has its moments, but there’s no denying that it doesn’t succeed in any aspect that it made an effort to. I can’t speak for Luke, but I don’t think his remarks indicate a 0/10. I’m betting he would say that it’s in the 4 range, and I do, as well.

          • Trond, I wouldn’t call it a 0/10 movie. I’d go with 3.5/10. For me, it was passable as a mindless popcorn movie – but nothing more. I’m not sure I ever want to watch it again. It was below par for the genre. Oddly, it didn’t even try to be ambitious. While definitely a mess, it’s not a complete trainwreck. It’s the type of thing that my kids are going to love (especially the repetitive and endless cat jokes).

      • Chaz Dumbaugh

        But it is a decent movie, it had some great messages, fun dialog between Carol and Fury and some fun fight sequences and actual better CG than Black Panther had. The Style of the film was pretty lacking and felt very one note, kind of bland but it didnt detract me from enjoying it at all. This is definitely middle of the road and doesnt come close to the likes of the original Thor or The Incredible Hulk

  3. Csm101

    Bots, trolls, smear campaigns, good reviews, bad reviews. This stuff is exhausting. This is all the more reason one has to see it it for oneself. Or not. That damn inter web.

  4. Pedram

    It had some fun parts, but what ruined it for me was the bad writing at the end. She discovers the extent of her powers and removes any limitations placed on them because… girl power and the effect of standing up? Without going into much spoilers the whole end of the movie hinges on something that doesn’t make sense.
    I’m surprised this isn’t addressed much in reviews or comments.
    Alita did a much better job in this regard even though it may have had its own weaknesses (though they’re not as big as in this film)

    • Chaz

      No its not girl power, its empowerment in general, constantly being told you arent good enough or cant do it (which men have done to women for a long long time now), actually using those emotions instead of repressing them, which I personally believe men have done for so long that its caused a problem as well (the suck it up, dont cry, hide your feelings mentality)…..so yeah, its a pretty good reason for things to kick into gear if you ask me…..and women all over the world that see this will completely understand, too many guys out there, like yourself it seems, that just see it as feminist “girl power” stuff when that has never been what its about, the movie shows how hard it was only 30 some years ago for women to do anything that wasnt regarded as a “womans” job, the talking down to from her peers about flying, the lack of strength, the ability to even do things like wreck a go cart because they might get hurt when the same thing can happen to a man too.

      If the writing was a bit better this all would have come across much better, but I felt it did a good job of building up her character and the toughness she expresses based on what she’s overcome

      • njscorpio

        Yet, it would be foolish to believe that ALL women always support ALL other women, especially if the first woman’s power/status its being threatened. The movie would have gone a long way to break way from the assumption that it was “just girl power” by having a female in one of those flashbacks telling her she is not good enough at whatever she was doing.

      • Pedram

        I didn’t comment on the point of the movie being about feminist girl power stuff (although that is kinda what Brie Larson said when being interviewed), but hey if you makes you feel better about yourself you can lump me into a group of toxic fans and disregard what I said.
        I was talking about the writing being bad. The things you mentioned, empowerment in the face of being sold short and disregarded, those things were done by men to Alita in her movie (another strong female lead film about the hero slowly realizing who and how strong she is), but I felt they were dealt with much better there and fit into the story well, unlike Captain Marvel.
        In the end of this movie, I could imagine that those emotions might have helped Captain Marvel if she felt timid and weak and not good enough to stand up for herself previously, but then remembered all the things she had to deal with and overcome, and those things lead her to stand up for herself and fight back.
        That’s not what happened though. After remembering how she got back up after being knocked down, that suddenly lead to the realization that she had something on her neck that was holding her powers back. Oh, and she suddenly knows that she can fly and basically has god like powers and can save the day now. All that from remembering that she had to stand up after being knocked down? That doesn’t make any sense. That was my criticism of the writing.

        • Chaz

          It does make sense, they kept her powers held back on purpose, they knew who she was and kept her down. Her emotions and strength is what she remembered which in turn is what brought her powers to full. There is nothing wrong with that writing. Alita I never got any indication that MEN were holding her back, that was some crazy future world with cyborgs and enhanced humans and all kinds of craziness, not once did I feel that she was some helpless female held down by the patriarchy and honestly, the movie wasnt even trying for that kind of social commentary if you ask me. Captain Marvel certainly was by showing how women were treated back just 30 years ago, constantly told they couldnt hang with the men doing the same jobs or the same activities

          • Chaz

            And that type of stuff STILL happens today, women make less money doing the same jobs, they are expected to still stay at home by many parts of society, they are looked at as weaker, too emotional and tons of other things….this is still a pretty relevant topic and the history of women and how much things still need to change is something that makes for uplifting story telling……hell the movie is already at 750 million worldwide, the message this is bringing to the women out there is making big bank 🙂

          • Pedram

            I still don’t think it makes sense that she has the realization as to how they were holding her powers back, as I mentioned previously. I guess we’ll have to just agree to disagree on that one.

            As for Alita, it was all men holding her back or putting her down. Either full biological men, or men with robot bodies. The writing was done well in that because it did it in a more subtle way. She was seen as helpless and felt like it at first, then slowly realized that she didn’t have to feel that way.
            My issue with Captain Marvel was the it did it in a more on the nose way, and everybody knows that when the writing is too on the nose it’s not a good thing.

            In my opinion art is more effective when it gives its message in a more subtle way and doesn’t put the message above the story. I felt that Alita didn’t put the message above the story, but Captain Marvel did, which took me out of it.

            Look, I get that you’re advocating for equality between the genders, and I’m definitely for that as well. I don’t want girls/women to be put down and sold short, and they should have all the rights that men have and be treated fairly. There is a time and place for talking about that, and art can be used as a catalyst for that conversation, but when it becomes obvious and is shoehorned in, the story suffers. I guess you didn’t think that happened with CM. I did.

        • Chaz

          Oh and no where did I lump you into toxic fandom, I was simply having a discussion based on what you wrote….I said it SEEMS you might have that kind of mentality but just mentioning girl power doesnt put you in the crazy toxicity going around out there and I never thought of you in that group based on what you said

  5. njscorpio

    So overall I liked it…but here is my observation…

    I have no issue with the emotional core or Carol standing up for herself amidst men telling her to just quit. I will acknowledge that it doesn’t emotionally resonate with me as it will with many other movie goers…and that is okay. I still enjoyed the movie.

    I compared it to the movie The Darjeeling Limited. That movie’s emotional core was all about the relationship between brothers. Being an only child, I am not able to relate, but it was such an excellently constructed movie that I “got” what they were feeling. I felt like I was among the group of brothers. Captain Marvel didn’t transfer it’s emotional core as successful, for me.

    • Pedram

      I agree with what you’re saying. I’m not a woman being put down by men and sold short, but I was 100% on board with Alita when she was, and was rooting for her the whole time. That’s the sign of good writing, when you can relate to someone whose shoes you aren’t in, and are with them every step of the way through their journey. I don’t feel that Captain Marvel had that.

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