Warning: This review contains spoilers!
O Captain, My Captain, Captain Marvel has landed. Now, I love Brie Larson more than anyone, but there was a lot of second-guessing whether she could pull off a role like Carol Danvers. Many questioned whether she was the fit for the character, or if she was the right fit for Marvel altogether. Well, it looks like our questions have been answered – Captain Marvel has been a resounding success, surpassing the $760 million mark for world-wide Box Office. Yes, that’s $760 million. It looks like they took “higher, further, faster” quite literally.
Keeping with our theme of female empowerment, it only felt right to take a look at Captain Marvel. The film has had quite the hype, quite the cast, and quite the expectations to meet. It was great expectations without Charles Dickens, but at least Dickens was good. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike the film. In fact, Captain Marvel surprised me with its occasional witty screenwriting and cast chemistry, but boy did it have issues. We can all admit Marvel movies seem to have their own category… I wouldn’t call them good, but “creative”. They’re doing the best they can.
As a young woman, Captain Marvel was a movie I’d craved. Long have we had superhero films with powerful male leads, but now more than ever there is a demand for women in the on-screen comic book world. And with that, I was very excited for this movie, so when the opening credits rolled, and the movie paid its homage to Stan Lee; I felt ready. The movie might’ve started with Vers (yes, they called her Vers – very smart) unable to sleep, but with clunky pacing and a somewhat annoying score, I felt my anticipation slipping. The first half felt like necessary context but came across as too obvious conventional, lazy tropes undercutting a film that was supposed to be a gamechanger. It’s when Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Captain Marvel herself are united that things start to flow a little better. Oh, and the addition of Goose was just a great bit of fun.
Characters aside, my biggest gripe with the movie was its narrative – the film felt shallow. Not only that, but every other superhero (Iron Man/Tony Stark, Captain America/Steve Rogers, Hulk/Bruce Banner, and Thor/Thor) had a serious beginning. With the guys, we had the opportunity to see their gritty origin story, and in follow-up films the characters were adapted to be more approachable – the best example would be Thor (2011) and Thor: Dark World (2013) compared the playful Thor: Ragnarok (2017). In the span of three movies, and many additional Marvel movies, we were introduced to a character who had the opportunity to be moulded and worked upon until one of the most anticipated movies of the year – Avengers: Endgame. Instead, we’ve been offered a premature version of Captain Marvel that has been characterised in an ill-fitting way. Can we really take her seriously if her own origin story is a predictable, overused narrative?
With only a couple weeks until Avengers: Endgame, we have to see how this flimsy version of a supposedly incredibly powerful female figure will translate into a movie which is likely to mark Marvel history. Instead, Captain Marvel felt like a weak stylistic imitation of Thor: Ragnarok, all while trying to stay true to Captain Marvel herself. We got answers to how Fury lost his eye and how the Tesseract ends up on Earth, but Danvers’ story felt rushed and unfinished. Even the unexpected use of Nirvana, or the movie’s obviously pointed theme of immigration and political commentary couldn’t quite save the film. If you haven’t noticed, I left the movie theatre quite disappointed.
Despite everything, Captain Marvel still marks a moment of change. Brie Larson did a brilliant job of becoming the character and embodied some good old-fashioned girl power, but the film itself didn’t quite tick all the boxes. Captain Marvel was the hero we wanted, but Marvel didn’t deliver the debut she deserved. Between the challenging scene pacing, stiff on-screen moments, and, at times, questionable screenwriting, the film came across as a half-baked origin story that just about holds your attention. The only thing I’m confident about is the film made me want to buy a leather jacket. The cast deserved better and so did Carol Danvers.