Wonder Woman this film is not, so if you expected something similar quality-wise, you’re out of luck.
Taking place way back in the 90s (almost thirty years ago people!), Captain Marvel follows our titular hero (Brie Larson) after crash landing on Earth in sunny Los Angeles. Immediately greeted by the one and only Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, must work together with Fury and S.H.E.I.L.D. to find out exactly why a shape shifting alien race known as the Skrulls have hidden themselves out from the prying eyes of the Kree, and just what exactly the Kree are planning to do with them once they catch them. What ensues is an epic journey that sees Captain Marvel find out who she really is, where she got her powers from, and why a weird cat named Goose might be something more than he seems.
First things first, I didn’t particularly like this film, but I can’t deny its appeal and the place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that it needs to fit into. I didn’t like the seemingly rush job done to the script, characters, or events that unfolded, nor did I like the slightly above average effects or the boring-ish origin story, so based off of that, you’d assume I disliked the film enough to call it a failure, but as with nearly every Marvel film for the past ten years, I honestly don’t think these guys could make a truly bad film if they tried. But on the flipside, making a completely average and mediocre one? Well Captain Marvel definitely seems to fit that bill.
When it comes to films introducing new characters like this one, it’s hard to fault the filmmakers for doing the usual origin story. After all, the audience needs to know everything about this character so that they understand what the hell’s going on, right? Sure, but when a character such as this one is introduced after nearly a half dozen other films structured around origin stories have already impressively made their mark on this universe, it’s hard not to compare like films, and unfortunately, the origin approach mixed with the fact that Captain Marvel’s backstory just isn’t all that interesting or original, stops this film from hitting the same heights any regular MCU film strives for, a problem that is more readily apparent when it feels like there was no real creative force driving this film, period.
And it’s not that I care who directs or writes these things anymore, but this film more so than any other movie in the MCU this side of Thor: The Dark World, suffers from a lack of a flair that would normally make a film like this stand out. There’s barely any interesting shots, the music is back to being cookie cutter, the story and dialogue seem to be written by a robotic algorithm that hits every similar film’s beats along the way while giving the audience a safe, face-value look at a character that seems to deserve a bit more. It doesn’t help that the main otherworldly race present in the Kree are one of the most boring characters both visually and concept-wise (in both the comics and on film), but the fact that the Skrulls were treated a bit oddly with this one has me scratching my head. Coming from a heavily comic book influenced background, I know a thing or two about the Kree and Skrulls, and the way they were both portrayed in this film were middling at best. I applaud the filmmakers for changing up the Skrull dynamic a bit, but even the great Ben Mendelsohn can’t save the shoddy make-up and questionable dialogue choices the filmmakers gave these guys. Match that with some truly shoehorned reasoning for Fury’s eye patch, the cosmic pager seen at the end of Infinity War and the idea behind the name “Avengers” and you have a bunch of filmmakers trying to make this movie waaay more important than it actually is.
Other than some great action sequences and a killer 90s soundtrack, a huge standout and likely the only thing saving this film is Samuel L. Jackson again taking on the role of Nick Fury. Fantastic de-aging digital makeup aside, Jackson seems to be having a lot of fun slipping into the younger version of himself, and more often than not, anything involving him and Captain Marvel give this movie a real reason to exist. A few funny lines a couple decent story beats later, and you have a film that doesn’t have much to prove and doesn’t even try to.
Feeling more like filler and less like an important stepping-stone before Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel is – in my opinion – the most average MCU film to date. The action is fun and the digital wizardry done to Samuel L. Jackson is a sight to behold, but when the movie is taken in as a whole, the final product is really nothing but a generic and derivative film that’s tough to give credit to in any meaningful way. Throw in the fact that I’m not entirely sold on Brie Larson in the role, and you get a very safe, very mediocre film that deserved to be handled with a bit more flair and imagination that it was given. Regardless, bring on the Endgame!!!