Captain Marvel - A Garbage Tier Review
I didn't enjoy Captain Marvel and to be perfectly honest I don't think that the film was made for me or with me in mind. I'm not the target audience and I'm probably not qualified to write this review.
I was on the fence about labeling Captain Marvel as a feminist movie and I probably wouldn't have at all until I ran across this comment on Facebook. It's a valid observation and I absolutely agree with it.
At that point, I decided to re-access my angle for completing this review. I'll touch on the feminist aspects of Captain Marvel as I perceived them but rather than get into a discussion of gender studies, I want to give my raw reaction to the movie. As stated earlier I'm probably not the best person to discuss the film but I wouldn't be doing my blog justice by ignoring the biggest movie to be released so far this year.
The Kree/Skrull angle of the movie is the most positive aspect of the film. Without going into spoilers, there is a huge plot twist midway through the movie that I think touches on a universal humanitarian issue. That forces us to confront our humanity in dealing with refugees and our social contract with one another.
This part of the film is much more powerful than any of the overt feminist themes presented in the movie. Ben Mendelsohn is fantastic as the lead Skull, Talos. He's cool, funny and brings a surprising amount of depth to the role. Ben turned out to be the most interesting character in the film for me.
About 85% of the acting for this film is great. Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, Annette Bening, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Djimon Hounsou and Akira Akbar are all charming. They bring their A game and add life to what on paper is pretty ho hum script.
It was also great to see Lee Pace again as Ronan. The character looks badass and demands your attention whenever he shows up on screen. He doesn't have much of a role in this film and it's a shame because the character has been woefully underutilized here and in Guardians of the Galaxy.
The deaging technology used on Sam, and Clark is impressive but feels more like a gimmick than anything that was absolutely necessary. It's great in action but if 2 younger S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were used I'm not sure if the film would have played much differently.
I thought of this scenario.
Instead of using a younger Nick Fury, maybe use his Father and make that an Easter egg for comic books fans. Sam and Clark could have still made a few cameos but the context would have been significantly different.
The biggest problem with the film is Brie Larson. She sticks out amongst this cast like a sore thumb. It's even more glaring as she is expected to carry the film. There is a lack of chemistry amongst the cast. She's stiff, doesn't really come off as personable and in hindsight, I think that's precisely why Brie was cast in the role.
Captain Marvel is a big middle finger to what has been traditionally been deemed acceptable by mainstream media. Brie isn't a Gal Gadot or Scarlett Johansson. There is no sex appeal to this actor or character.
Imagine the frumpy librarian, elementary school teacher or the nagging housewife as a superhero and you have Captain Marvel. She's also bossy, condescending, arrogant and when she gets angry her first reaction is to blow stuff up.
Another problem with the film is the writing and direction. As off-putting as Brie is in this role she's a solid actor with an Academy Award on her mantle. Her strengths are just not being utilized effectively.
There are a few flagrant lines directly attacking Carol as a woman but outside of a few blatant jabs, there isn't really anything that jumps out to me beyond surface level sexism.
1. Carol has a bad relationship with her dad.
So did I, God rest his soul.
2. The guys in boot camp are assholes towards her.
Join the club honey, I was bullied until I hit 6'0 and still have insecurity and anxiety issues well into adulthood.
Carol has amnesia, focusing on her lost memories and the trauma of being brainwashed would have probably made for a more interesting film. The character was essentially mind-raped multiple times in the film and this isn't treated with the respect and horror that something like this would entail.
The last thing I'll mention is the villain. There is a villain plot here but it is really bad. Marvel was trending in the right direction in regards to its bad guy but the threat here is practically non-existent. By the time of the final confrontation, it just ends because it becomes clear at that point that Carol is untouchable.
Despite its flaws, Captain Marvel isn't a horrible movie and anyone saying so has a personal bias. Some of the priorities of the film are in the wrong direction and pretty clear that the film was made with an agenda in mind. That goal was prioritized ahead of entertaining a wider audience.
If you're heavily invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and have to know the in's and out's of the franchise this movie is for you.
If you're not at all plugged into the MCU I can't see you getting much enjoyment of out of this film beyond what you could have found on Netflix.