“Captain Marvel” – Movie Review

Marvel’s latest movie is the first to have a solo female lead, released on International Women’s Day. How is it?

Cast and Crew Information

Brie Larson as Carol Danvers /
Vers / Captain Marvel
Samuel L. Jackson as Nicholas Joseph Fury
Ben Mendelsohn as Talos / Keller
Jude Law as Yon-Rogg
Annette Bening as Supreme Intelligence / Dr. Wendy Lawson
Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau
Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson
Rune Temte as Bron-Char
Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva
Algenis Perez Soto as Att-Lass
Djimon Hounsou as Korath
Lee Pace as Ronan
Chuku Modu as Soh-Larr
Stan Lee as himself
Reggie, Gonzo, Archie, and Rizzo as Goose

Story by Nicole Perlman, & Meg LeFauve and Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet
Screenplay by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet
Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck

Premise

The militaristic Kree are at war with the Skrulls, and the soldier Vers follows them to Earth where she learns things about her past and the Kree/Skrull conflict that her Kree superiors would prefer she didn’t know.

High Point

Of the entire presentation, my high point would be the Marvel logo, which was made in tribute to Stan Lee. Of the actual story itself, it’s a tough call, but I think I’ll have to go with the childhood montage near the end.

Low Point

The comic fan in me objects to this version of Talos. This character is not remotely like the one seen in the comics. They should have used a different Skrull.

The Review

We are now about 20 movies into the franchise, so originality is getting harder and harder to accomplish. Still, it’s nice to see a movie start with a highly capable hero, complete with powers, and subvert a few tropes, even if this deviates significantly from the source material along the way. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects are great. Sure, there are times when the lower part of Carol’s face looks CG when she’s flying, but this achieves something far greater: Samuel L. Jackson consistently looks just like he did in 1995. The de-aging technology has finally matured to the point where it’s flawless, at least when applied to an actor with this much footage available from the time frame in question. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is coherent and logical, and told in a non-linear fashion. There’s only one point I questioned, but it’s fairly easy to “no prize” that moment away if I choose. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting is solid. Samuel L. Jackson and Annette Bening never disappoint, so it helps to have them in the cast. Brie Larson works very well in the lead, and it’s nice to see the big screen returns of Clark Gregg, Djimon Hounsou, and Lee Pace. I found Jude Law to be surprisingly stiff, given his track record, but that may be his take on a character who insists that emotions are the enemy. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is up to the usual Marvel cinematic standard, with a soundtrack of a comparable calibre to Guardians of the Galaxy, but where the pop songs are used diageticly and with more subtlety. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is very good, even if I don’t count tearing up at the logo before the movie even really got started. I also quite like the message of female empowerment this sends. Ignore those of my white male brethren who claim it is about tearing down men: it isn’t. This is feminism on the order of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where good men are surrounded with amazing women, as opposed to, say, the 1984 Supergirl movie where capable women were surrounded by incompetent men. This message is positive for all. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a worthwhile chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and one that is easy to recommend, particularly before Avengers: Endgame hits late next month. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Captain Marvel receives 38 out of 42.

12 replies on ““Captain Marvel” – Movie Review”

  1. lost says:

    After watching the movie, I have to say I now understand why some of the reviewers felt they had to mention the cat. The cat is awesome.

    That out of the way, all the gnashing and wailing and moaning and whinging over the past couple of weeks about how it was going to be Ghostbusters or Star Wars all over again is completely unfounded. This is emphatically not an “SJW propaganda” film. Yes, there were a couple of bits of “Girl Power!” cheerleading but they worked in context. The male characters are not portrayed as incompetent nor are they relegated to background action. Sure, Fury behaves like an idiot with the cat, but, seriously, it’s a cat and it pays off later.

    • Exactly – XKCD had a strip exactly on the topic of how human behavior changes around felines, which is 100% accurate.

    • Blackadder says:

      I have to admit that I wasn’t as impressed with this as I could have been. I loved the fact that there was a strong female and the men around her were not imbeciles. I loved the fact that they didn’t try to shoehorn a romantic subplot with either a male or especially a female to appease either group’s position.

      I honestly found the girl power parts rather detracting from the film though. I don’t agree that they worked in context. We get Catpain Marvel unleashed and kicking butt to the tune of No Doubt’s Just a Girl. The choice of that song in my opinion undercut the awesomeness of the scene.

      • JD DeLuzio says:

        No doubt that song was included to speak to a section of the audience* but they did use the song as an ironic counterpoint, which is in the spirit of the song. Musically, however, IMO, the Hole song they used at the end would have worked better in that scene, while the song you mention would have been fine for the start of the credits. (Lyrically, the Hole song might have been a bit off).

        *The Iron Man cartoon song appears in Iron Man as a nod to old-time fans of the characters. The Watergate hotel appears at a significant point in Winter Soldier for a certain audience’s benefit. The cannibalism joke in Black Panther nicely parodies old white colonial stereotypes of Africans, and got a huge laugh in the theatre where I saw it. It’s sort of been a thing in contemporary pop culture and especially the MCU movies or, as someone smarter called them, the most expensive TV series in history.

        Perhaps it’s just movies catching up with a certain kind of literary novel. Or old Mad magazines.

  2. JD DeLuzio says:

    A lot of reviewers have considered this a “lesser” Marvel movie, and while it’s not Black Panther or Winter Solider, it’s a solid superhero movie. As with all such films, try not to think too hard about the “science.” Comic-book science is in a world of its own.

    But the online nonsense by people who’ve never seen it? I was hoping it would be something radical, if only to provide another take on the MCU. Its politics are about as radical as an after-school special’s. Anyone offended by this (or who uses “SJW” unironically or without quotation marks) deserves considerably more shade than this film is casting.

    I also really liked how it fills in certain gaps in the MCU. No, it’s not their best, but (after a slow start) it’s hugely entertaining. I just returned from a showing in Detroit, and can confirm at least five instances of spontaneous applause from an audience that crossed age, racial, and gender boundaries.

    Both credit sequences are worthwhile, but definitely stay for the first one.

  3. Jethro says:

    I’ll admit I watched this in the theatre solely because it won’t be available for home release before Endgame. But I don’t regret it.

    I do feel that calling this the first solo female lead Marvel movie is… kinda off. They could’ve called this movie “Captain Marvel & Nick Fury”. And that cat stole every scene it was in (:

    I thought the first act was a biiit slow, but it did pick up after that.

    I’m pretty happy with where they went with the Skrulls. A lot of people were speculating that the next phase of the MCU will be all about how everyone’s a Skrull — hell, some people were speculating that’s how Endgame will end — and I’m glad that’s not likely to happen now.

    I also thought the supporting cast — to a person — were fantastic. Brie Larson is a good actress but she didn’t bring her A-Game to this one. I also wish Captain Marvel got to be epic for longer.

    Nonetheless, it was a (mostly) fun and entertaining movie, and a good hype-lead-up to Endgame.

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      do feel that calling this the first solo female lead Marvel movie is… kinda off. They could’ve called this movie “Captain Marvel & Nick Fury”. And that cat stole every scene it was in (:

      If we follow that logic, however, I shudder to think of what the title of Captain America: Civil War would have been!

  4. lost says:

    Over the past couple days, I’ve noticed that almost everyone that was denouncing the movie before they even saw it has come out and said, “see! I was right!” At least in the circles I encounter. It’s amazing what watching something through a confirmation bias lens can do for your perception of it.

  5. Jethro says:

    Many people Did say that Civil War should’ve been titled “Avengers Minus Thor and The Hulk”.

  6. I enjoyed it. A lot of it felt like a Marvel version of ________, though. For example, the standing up montage seemed like they directly ripped off the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    Ever taking that into account, I liked it a lot, even the 90s soundtrack playing at inappropriate parts. “I’m Just a Girl” should have started when the jukebox was hit, not just out of nowhere. However, it was so much fun I was alright with it. I felt the same thing in Star Trek: Into Darkness when Bones turns around and asks “Is that classical music?”

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