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'Captain Marvel' (2019) A Space-Cop Movie Review

Space cops. Aliens. 90s. Samuel L. Jackson. 'Top Gun' references. I'm sold.

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Let’s Talk About the Backlash Real Quick…

Captain Marvel has to be the most polarizing of all the Marvel Studios pictures to have come out in the last decade. In regards to the fanbase, I gathered that the masses are split right down the middle for this one. For every person who adores it, there’s another raging that it is the worst installment to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When the first trailer came out, I had a feeling that might happen. I can’t put my finger on exactly why I predicted Captain Marvel was going to be the one to piss the fans off, but something about it got me thinking that this would stir the pot big time. And it did. I avoided all reviews and as much of the public opinion as I could before going into my screening, but still knowing full well that it was a divisive movie and a lot of fans were claiming it as being terrible. Now after seeing the movie a few hours ago, collecting my thoughts, looking more into the general consensus online… Dear God, general audiences sure do make a fuss out of nothing. I’m sorry, I know that film is subjective. Yadda, yadda, yadda. But if someone comes out of Captain Marvel calling it a “a colossal piece of sh*t” or say “it’s nothing to MARVEL at”, they are clearly a spoiled brat and thought of a pun they were so proud of they probably jerked themselves off to it later.

I say to anyone that calls this one of the worst films that they have ever seen, get some perspective and go see an actual bad film. Go watch Nukie, then come back to me and tell me which is worse. Or a Dinesh D’Souza documentary. Better yet, check out last year’s The Trump Prophecy. And if they say Captain Marvel is still worse, they’re a God damn liar. There are far worse things that have made it to the big screen in this world. Trust me. I know. I realize, as I am writing this, that to acknowledge the backlash in the way that I am currently is immature and unprofessional. Luckily, I accept that about myself being a man-child and at the end of the day, I’m no professional. We’re all a bunch of people just spewing out opinions on the internet. But the obnoxiously whiny and privileged hate that some people are having over Captain Marvel got to me a little bit, I felt inclined to call it out.

Oh and to touch on the other side of the argument, for everyone saying that if someone doesn’t like this movie then they’re automatically a misogynist… stop that. We really don’t need another Ghostbusters remake situation on our hands. If someone hates Captain Marvel, that doesn’t immediately mean they hate women too. Don’t exaggerate the gender politics of this.

Anyways, apologies for the delay!

I usually don't include press photos for the movie I'm reviewing, but this is just adorable.

I usually don't include press photos for the movie I'm reviewing, but this is just adorable.

Now That’s Over With…

I loved Captain Marvel. I figured that I would just cut through the crap and say it right away, I really dug this movie. I had a damn good time tonight in that theater. This was possibly the best time I had at a Marvel movie in years. To me, the worst that a Marvel Studios movie has ever been is simply ‘okay’. Nowhere near close to calling one a legitimate bad film, the worst I’ve ever come out of an MCU flick from the last ten years would be me saying, “Well, that wasn’t great, but I was still entertained enough.” In my opinion, the worst MCU movie would probably be one of the Thor sequels, and I don’t even hate those. They are still movies that I managed to find some enjoyment out of. Captain Marvel, on the other hand, would rank as one of my favorites out of the whole MCU franchise. I had a blast in the theater for this, which is saying a lot honestly because the people that sat around me were some of the most annoying audience members I’ve ever experienced sitting next to… they were awful. The movie still managed to make me forget the irritations surrounding me and have fun! If that isn’t one hell of an accomplishment in terms of the film’s entertainment value then I don’t know what is.

Minor Disclaimer

I am not familiarized with the comic book lore of Captain Marvel, or even much lore in terms any comic book character. So if you are looking for a side-by-side comparison for how faithful this is as an adaptation of the comic book series or anything like that. I apologize, but I am not the critic you are looking for. If this is a bad adaptation of the character or a specific story arc, I haven’t the slightest clue. I am strictly basing my critique entirely on the merits of the film alone.

To really hammer home that I am far from “knowledgeable” with comic books, just read my plot synopsis down below.

The Plot

Vers (Brie Larson) is a space cop suffering from amnesia, enlisted in a small group of soldiers that fight for the Kree Empire. While the Kree are in the midst of an all-out war with shape-shifting alien baddies, led by Ben Mendelsohn. Vers and her team of Jude Law and Djimon Hounsou awesomeness are assigned to a rescue mission gone awry. Resulting in Vers stranded on planet Earth in the mid-1990s, so post-grunge but pre-Britney Spears. Upon her quest to find a scientist that her enemies are looking for, Vers stumbles across a young special-agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. ‘Mother-F*cking’ Jackson), realizing that working together is the only way they can save the galaxy.

Quick stop by Blockbuster to pick up my VHS copy of 'True Lies'!

Quick stop by Blockbuster to pick up my VHS copy of 'True Lies'!

I actually got really invested with the story here, largely thanks to the colorful cast of characters, but also the fact that the writing kept me genuinely intrigued by Vers’s story and the mystery revolving around her forgotten past. I wanted to know what answers were hidden behind the curtain from our heroine, and the pacing of the story kept me entertained from start to finish. Any time there may have been a slight lull in the narrative, the action would pick right back up or the characters would inject their own charismatic flavor into a scene that would make me smile immensely. The action itself was always cool to watch with well-choreographed fight sequences and physical humor sprinkled in. When there isn’t a bunch of explosions and fisticuffs going on, I still was just as engaged in the character interactions. Much in the same way as what can be seen in the previous two Guardians of the Galaxy flicks, the characters are so likable and funny that I can’t help but have a good time watching their squabbles. Which makes sense, seeing how one of the writers credited also co-wrote the first Guardians movie.

It seems to me that one of the larger criticisms I have found about Captain Marvel is claiming that Brie Larson was either bland or simply not good. I can’t say I had that same reaction, I thought she was delightful and badass. I really did. It makes a lot of sense to me that this movie references Top Gun a couple times because she feels like a direct descendent of Maverick. I actually quite enjoyed that about her performance. The character is stubborn and in some ways naïve, but she holds her own and the arc she goes through was thoughtful and sweet. I mean ‘sweet’ in an endearing way and an awesome way. Vers’s arc plays off of the familiar character trope of when the lead has to learn how to overcome their emotions in order to be a better hero. While this pulls a bit of a switch on that and has it to where she needs to learn how to embrace her emotions rather than simply control them like everyone keeps forcing her to. I appreciated that reversal honestly. A major reason as to why that worked so well is because of Larson’s acting. She adds a lot to this character with subtle nuances and not so subtle nuances, but it works. Little quirks that Brie would slip into her performance I found extremely charming. Not to mention the wildly humorous chemistry that she shared with Samuel Jackson was pretty great. Their dynamic with one another made a large section of the film feel like a fun, early ‘90s buddy-cop movie. I liked that aspect quite a bit and hope that they do more movies together, I would love the hell out of that.

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I’ll be the first to say that I’ve grown fairly tired of Mendelsohn being typecast as the villain. I really have. Not to say that he’s ever bad, on the contrary, he’s good in those roles. But it’s been the same role every time for the last few years now; his villainous roles in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Ready Player One, and Robin Hood are all the same damn character. In Captain Marvel, finally someone gives Ben something to sink his teeth into because he’s terrific in this. Not only does he give a fresh take in his performance as the leader of the antagonist group that is at war with Vers and her allies, but the writing also supplies him a surprising amount of depth that I admired. Again, doing a bit of a reversal on our expectations with Mendelsohn as the typical bad guy, the movie actually does something intelligent with him and it kept me guessing. Plus, it’s obvious that Ben is having quite a bit of fun in this movie and he made me laugh on several occasions.

On A Technical Aspect

I would say, in terms of the special effects, it is about on par with the rest of the Marvel Studio’s productions. There are times where the CG isn’t the greatest, but for the most part it looks solid. I can always tell that what I am looking at onscreen is a CGI creation, that’s how I feel about most of the computer generated effects work in these movies, but it still looks fine. It certainly provides some gorgeous spectacle value to be seen on the big screen. Battles in outer space, cool super-powered combat, intense flight simulation, it has enough worth to justify the cost of admission.

What I really relished in the visuals was the fact that it kind of mirrored the style of a late 1980s – early 1990s action movie; I could see hints of Tony Scott, Michael Bay, and even some Luc Besson inspiration thrown into the cinematography and editing. That was something I wasn’t expecting going into the movie and I was admittedly pretty giddy seeing that. I love when these Marvel movies branch out a little bit to show off the director’s specific flare, creating a sense of life and its own unique personality rather than feeling like a product fresh off the conveyer belt.

Final Thoughts

I don’t know how else to say about it, I loved Captain Marvel. This was a great time with lovable characters and their hilarious quips, exciting action, and a quick paced story that held my interest. I was invested in absolutely everything going on and my only regret is that I didn’t walk right up to the ticket booth to purchase a seat for the next showtime. Like I mentioned before, I don’t know if this is a poor adaptation of the comic book, and I honestly couldn’t tell you if the narrative creates any sort of plot-holes for the rest of the cinematic universe. Although at this point, I don’t really care about plot-holes as long as they aren’t distracting. If there was a plot-hole in this film, I didn’t notice it and I didn’t care. The movie entertained me and that’s what I really want out of a film. To be entertained and emotionally moved, if a movie accomplishes that then I can forgive almost anything. Which Captain Marvel achieved both for myself. If something doesn’t quite make sense, I can easily brush it off as long as the story has me interested and the characters grip me in some way. If they don’t, then that kind of stuff would most definitely bother me. But if I’m having a good time with a movie, why latch onto the little things?

To tell you the truth, I am astounded by how well Captain Marvel turned out with five writers and two directors credited on this movie. Turns out that this directing duo are a longtime collaborative partnership and Captain Marvel is their very first bigtime, mainstream, action venture. I have to say, bravo on a job well done. To the whole writing and directing team honestly, as they seem to compliment and work off of each other incredibly. Color me impressed. Usually when there are so many cooks fighting for control in the kitchen, things can get rather messy. Especially with a throwback film like this where the writers could have really gone overboard with the pop culture references to fill it up with thousand in-jokes from the filmmakers practically winking at the camera going, “You get it? It’s a popular thing from the ‘90s! Hardy-har-har!!” That was never an issue here, everything flowed rather smooth and naturally. I can’t wait to see what’s in store next for this team.

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For anyone in search of a fun, action-packed, sci-fi spectacle then I highly recommend checking out Captain Marvel. And for those only wanting to b*tch about something, I also recommend going to the theater or renting Captain Marvel. Just means you’ll be giving money to a good movie. I’m sure there will be plenty of people that say I’m a Marvel fanboy and I love everything they release, or that I’m a secret operative working for Disney, or whatever ludacris insinuations I’ve seen plastered all over reviews like mine in the past. I don’t care. I dig the movie. No backsies. Nanna nanna boo boo!

Now this is the most mature I have ever ended a review… Go see Captain Marvel!

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That’s All Folks!

That was certainly the mouthful, wasn’t it! Did you like or dislike my review? Agree or disagree? Think that space cops are real? Comment down below and let me know! I would love to hear from anyone who has seen Captain Marvel and get their takeaway as to why they liked or disliked the film. Also, let me know what your favorite comic book movie is. Marvel, DC, etc. All are applicable! Anyways, if you so happened to enjoy my review then please do me a little favor and share this around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a… MARVELOUS day… I’ll show myself out.

© 2019 John Plocar