Captain Marvel is finally here! After years of secrecy, build up, and misdirections, the hero we want (and Marvel needs) has finally arrived.
And I am.. happy.
I’m not overjoyed. I’m not that much more energized for Avengers: End Game next month. I’m just feeling good about the movie experience.
This has been billed (and rightly so) as a Captain Marvel origin story. But it’s not just her story. It’s also the origin story to Nick Fury and Agent Coulson. And the Kree.
Yeah, there’s a lot going on.
It’s like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) decided this would be the perfect opportunity to fill in the backstories of several characters. Which is kinda cool, but it ends up cheating Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel’s story. And her story is so complex that I really wish the film would have focused on simplifying her.
Or, as The Who would sing: Who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?
Carol’s backstory is multi-species and multi-planet. She’s human. She’s transformed to Kree. Then she rediscovers her humanity, even though she never really lost it.
Brie Larson pulls it all off the tough-but-vulnerable role perfectly. The problem (for Carol) is that she doesn’t know who she’s dealing with. The people who rescued her aren’t who they appear to be. And the Skrulls are never who they appear to be, seeing as they’re shape shifters.
It leads to three key elements of the film: trust issues, introspection, and loyalty. The problem is, the themes don’t just overlap, they blend together in a way that makes it tedious to follow.
Finally Nick Fury is more than a cameo role in a Marvel Film. He is front and center and we finally learn what makes Fury, Fury. Which is fine, to a point.
We get insight into what he was doing before alien creatures started dropping in on Earth. We also learn why he started sporting that badass eye patch.
But his main reason for existence in this film is to play off Captain Marvel and develop her as a player in the MCU.
This is done well enough. But many of my critic brethren have been raving about their chemistry. Honestly, I think it’s alright. They play off each other well and it never feels forced. But Bogart and Bacall they ain’t.
You Go Girls
Of course, this is the second female driven superhero movie to hit the big screen, following DC’s Wonder Woman played marvelously by Gal Gadot. Both feature not only strong female leads, but also female supporting characters. And when it comes to female supporting characters, neither comes close to the amazing women in Black Panther.
And in a first: DC did it better. Wonder Woman fully embraced not only girl power (she came from an island run by women), but also warrior power, empathy, and humor. Captain Marvel brings the franchise snark/self-awareness. But it’s more on the level of Ant-Man than Avengers.
I’m not sure what I would do different, but I feel like there was so much going on that it became just another element to be checked off a list without being celebrated.
In The End
Overall, this is a good, solid entry into the MCU. The film pays tribute to some of the character’s comic book iterations. You like Carol, but it doesn’t reach out, grab you by the throat, and have you drooling for more. If you saw Infinity War you can still see End Game without seeing Captain Marvel. There’s a bridge scene, but this is decidedly not a bridge movie.
And while we’re on the topic of the end, be sure to stay for both post credit scenes.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Kool-Aid. Because at this point in the Marvel saga, we’ve gotta keep drinking the Kool-Aid.