Captain Marvel – a review (not a marvel)

    As a marketing ploy, releasing Captain Marvel on International Women’s Day must have felt like a stroke of genius. As the MCU’s first female lead superhero feature film, it is a film that has garnered much attention, especially off the back of the frankly epic Avengers Infinity War and its brilliantly teasing post-credits scenes.

   A few things had alarm bells ringing for me personally. Sometime back, I reviewed another female-led film, the Alicia Vikander reboot of Tomb Raider, suffice to say, it is awful. The relevance of that is one of the writers for that film, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, also managed to wrangle her way onto Captain Marvel and, unfortunately, it shows. 

   The story and script are poor. A first-year scriptwriting graduate would have gotten so many red lines through this effort, they might have considered a different career. What is even more worrying is I cannot even say there is a better story buried in the film. There isn’t. 

   There were signs that the MCU was not overly confident with this film. Whenever the stars do excessive press – even more than the norm – it is not a good sign. Brie Larson has been everywhere. Morning shows, radio shows, daytime, blogs, podcast, the poor woman has been pushing hard! 

   The film is not unwatchable, after all, it has two excellent leads in Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson, but the basic precepts of drama are wholly absent from the film. At no point in the film’s entire two hour and four minutes runtime does our hero seem in mortal danger. 

   Captain Marvel or Carol Danvers or Vers, as she is called through most of the film, is capable on a level that one could only dream of. She is supposed to have scant recall of her life as a human or, as we find out later, a possible Kree. 

   Even with no real idea who she is or supposed to be, she takes to every task she encounters with consummate ease. The antagonist, the Skrulls, are not utilised at all well. I am not one to scream about not following the comics, but with regards to the Skrulls, they should really have made an exception. 

   I understand that the Kree have been set up as the ‘big bad’ of the MCU, but that should not have created this character disservice to the Skrulls. In a better film, the misdirection could have really worked, unfortunately, the set up is so poorly executed that one is left barely caring about the outcome. 

   As with Ben Affleck over at the DCEU, some in the webverse feel that their wholly unwanted – not to mention inexperienced – take on who should play the as yet introduced Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel role, should not have been Brie Larson. 

   That fact that, with Kevin Feige at the helm, the MCU has hardly made a misstep casting wise, it seems to be the ultimate in egotistical hubris for those comic page-turning, keyboard critics, to be announcing their displeasure at the casting. 

   In my opinion – it’s my blog, so my opinion – Larson works well with the somewhat poor material she has to work with. Her chemistry with Jackson is evident and she carries off the fight scenes with aplomb.

No doubt, off of the hype of the upcoming sequel to Infinity War, Captain Marvel will do well at the box office and probably spawn a sequel. 

   In conclusion, I would say Captain Marvel was somewhat underwhelming. The acting performances across the board are good, as is the talent on show – the CGI deserves a special mention – what fails is the story and a patchy script. Captain Marvel is, regrettably, not a marvel. 

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