A forgotten past, a galactic war and 1995 America. “Captain Marvel” is the 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers in the epic origin story for one of Marvel’s most powerful heroes. Despite her late entry into the franchise, “Captain Marvel” delivers an exciting and unapologetic action flick that should entertain both Marvel fans and casual moviegoers alike.
“Captain Marvel” has a lot to offer. Its action sequences are exciting, the plot takes unexpected turns, and the comedic beats are frequent and entertaining. Brie Larson does a good job portraying the stoic space warrior, and her performance is bolstered by a talented supporting cast. The film manages to take the viewers expectations for the plot and go in new directions that certainly surprised me.
One of the most surprising elements of the movie was the amount of screen time given to Samuel L. Jackson, who played a younger Nick Fury. It almost turns into a buddy-cop type adventure for a portion of the movie, which wholly works with the great chemistry between the two leads. It’s entertaining, unexpected and a refreshing take in the MCU. Things get even better when Ben Mendelsohn’s mysterious character joins the mix, leading to some very entertaining interactions.
While I walked out of the theater thoroughly entertained, the more I thought about the film, the more I realized its flaws. Unlike “Us,” “Captain Marvel” was not a movie that got better under scrutiny. The “prequel” nature of the film ends up raising almost as many questions as it answers despite its best efforts to patch together some of the disparate storylines of the MCU. The film is also stylistically bland. It does little to stand out against its fellow Marvel movies like “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Black Panther.” Both of those have distinct stylistic choices like music, color palette, and shot composition that help to make the film memorable and standout. On the contrary, “Captain Marvel” comes off as generic in the long line of Marvel films.
The other and more serious flaw with this film is an issue with the writing. For the first significant portion of the movie, Carol Danvers is a passive protagonist, meaning she is merely reacting to the events around her, and not pushing the story forward herself. She gets caught in situations and reacts to those situations. While it is entertaining, it leaves a feeling of aimlessness to her adventure until she finally gets a “mission” partway through. Once Danvers has a goal in mind, it instantly makes the plot feel more focused and exciting, but the movie just needed to get there sooner.
“Captain Marvel” is a movie we should have gotten years ago. But despite its poor timing, I’m glad it’s here. It might not be the most revolutionary Marvel film, or have the best action (or the best anything) but it’s entertaining nonetheless. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Carol Danvers in the movies to come.
The Parkway West Pathfinder gives “Captain Marvel” a 6.5/10.