***There are NO SPOILERS in this review***
After 21 films, Marvel Studios has finally released a female-led superhero flick. While also being co-directed by a female (Anna Boden), “Captain Marvel” had a lot to live up to. The MCU has spoiled its audience with pure enjoyment film after film, therefore a lot of people were going in with high hopes, where other people are watching it because they want to see any “Avengers: Endgame” references.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, this film stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers (aka, Captain Marvel), who enlists the help of Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as she finds herself in the middle of a war between the Kree and the Skrulls, while also trying to uncover her true past.
Without going into spoiler territory, this film is quite a mixed bag. There are times that this film didn’t feel like it belonged in the MCU, but the acting carried the film over the narrative. Samuel L. Jackson back as a de-aged Nick Fury was a genius decision to include him in the film. While there are plot elements as to why Fury is in the film, there’s nothing much to say other than Jackson does what he does best with this character. Not only him, but seeing Clark Gregg back as Agent Coulson was a good call-back to Phase 1 of the MCU, but his character didn’t need to be in this film, particularly. Jude Law is worth mentioning because he does deliver a good performance, but unfortunately his character is one-dimensional.
Enough chit-chat, how is Brie Larson as Captain Marvel? It depends. While we’ve known that Larson has been attached to this role for a few years now, many people trusted the decision due to the fact of how talented she is. Not only is she one of the best actresses working today, but she won an Academy Award for her role in “Room” (2015). Her portrayal as Captain Marvel is a different story. While she done a fine job in the role, it wasn’t “great” to the likes of a Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, or Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. Making those comparisons may be unfair, but it may have been the script and how she was being directed.
Carol Danvers was supposed to be resilient, sassy character – which worked most of the time, but there were also times where it wasn’t executed properly. Out of the times the character didn’t work, switching her out with another talented actress wouldn’t have changed a thing. In other words, yes, Brie Larson is fine as Captain Marvel, but hopefully the Russo brothers get something more out of the character in “Avengers: Endgame.”
One of the characters to stand out was Maria Rambeau, portrayed beautifully by Lashana Lynch. Rambeau is Danvers’ best friend and there was a lot of moments where she carried the film, despite sharing the screen with Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson. While she did an excellent job in each of her scenes, there wasn’t enough of her character fleshed out as much as she needed to be. The film could have been shuffled around and even dropped a few scenes entirely to make this work.
Another standout for sure was Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull warrior, Talos. What they did with this character was so entertaining and funny throughout. Without giving much away, Mendelsohn nailed it and he will put a smile on the audience’s face, without question. Lee Pace does reprise his role as Ronan, whom we last seen in “Guardians of The Galaxy,” but just as Coulson was a wasted character, Ronan suffers the same fate. It’s no wonder they hid him in most of the trailers.
The action was a bit hit-and-miss as well. There were definitely moments where it was engaging and fun to watch, including the bus sequence that we’ve seen in the trailers. Other than Captain Marvel wrecking shop from time to time, the action felt a bit bland and definitely not as well-choreographed as we’re used to in a MCU film.
The first and second act was a bit choppy, however the last 30-40 minutes really picked up steam. The way they set up Carol’s origin story was different from what we’re used to, but it worked in some ways where others got convoluted. The ’90s references got way out of hand at times, but there were a couple of scenes where it worked really well. The music choices were a bit reminiscent of how James Gunn utilized ’80s music in “Guardians of The Galaxy,” but done incorrectly.
Overall, this film contains good acting throughout, but it does fall a bit short on telling a compelling origin story. There are definitely moments where you can tell that the directors aren’t used to big-budget filmmaking, however Marvel Studios should be applauded for giving fans and the audience a fun time at the movies, and finally giving a female-led superhero flick.
Also, it’s advised that you stay in your seats for BOTH post-credit scenes.
“Captain Marvel” = C+