Did She Really Go Higher, Further, Faster?
Carol Danvers’ cinematic debut as Captain Marvel is finally out and without further ado, here’s our review.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around for a long time. We’ve seen Geniuses, Gods of Thunder, Wizards, Aliens, and even an Ant-Man. What we haven’t seen is a film with a female hero at its core. The first of such movies, “Captain Marvel”, succeeds where many Marvel films have in the past, and similarly, shares some of the shortcomings of the MCU, but is overall a solid entry into this long-running Cinematic Universe.
The show stealer, of course, is Brie Larson, who brings the kind of presence and charm you’d expect from an Academy Award-winning actress. She’s also got plenty of comedic chops, and her delivery of the typical Marvel quips and banter plays to her character in new and interesting ways: Carol Danvers is funny, and unapologetically so. This is especially on display in her interactions with a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson as a young Nick Fury. The dynamic and chemistry between Carol and Nick is the highlight of the film, and it’s refreshing to see characters in a Marvel movie actually laugh at each other’s jokes. There’s a genuine bond between the two that drives a lot of the emotional elements of a film that’s, on the surface, a buddy cop movie about an alien soldier teaming up with a secret agent. Fortunately, the execution makes it so much more than that.
While Carol and Nick Fury are the center that makes this film work, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) is the element that provides the film with its most unexpected charm and presence. While he was marketed as a straight-up bad guy, by the midway point of the film, Talos develops into one of the most interesting and sympathetic characters in the film. He gets some of the best lines and moments, but at the core of the character, he’s deeply sad and troubled by his past. He reckons with the violence of his actions in a way we’ve rarely seen characters in a superhero film do, which is refreshing and captivating.
While the story and characters are at the level we’ve come to expect from a Marvel movie, the action, especially in the third act, leaves a lot to be desired. While we understand immediately that Carol is powerful, the scenes are frantic, choppy, and a tad hard to follow. While the spectacle is there, the execution is lacking, and while there are great individual moments in the action scenes, there’s not enough to tie them together cohesively.
Ultimately, Captain Marvel is a good superhero movie, and an important one culturally, but falls short in a lot of ways simply because the scenes that are meant to be triumphant and epic are hard to follow, disjointed, and sub-par. It takes a while to find its footing, and does so once Carol and Nick finally team-up, but loses some of that steam once it enters its messy third act. We’ll see more of Carol Danvers in the near future, and hopefully, a sequel will find a way to more cohesively shoot a woman flying through space shooting lasers out of her hands – it won’t be easy.
Make sure to check out the video below to find out 10 things you probably missed in “Captain Marvel”!