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Movie Review: “Captain Marvel”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 3/8/2019

Theatrical Release: 3/8/2019

Synopsis

Vers (Brie Larson) is a new recruit in the Kree galactic space force. She is a skilled fighter and she possesses unmatched power. Vers—unlike any other Kree agent—has the ability to create very powerful photon blasts from her hands, but her superior (Jude Law) believes she relies too heavily on her powers. She wants to prove herself as a capable agent and she finally gets an opportunity to go out in the field. The mission is to investigate a lead on a group of Skrulls—an alien race of shapeshifters who have been at war with the Kree for a very long time—that have been hiding out on another planet.

After the mission goes horribly wrong, Vers is separated from the group and winds up on a primitive planet called Earth. The Skrulls followed her, but she learns that she has a strange connection to this planet. For as long as she can remember, she has been haunted by strange dreams of a past that she has no recollection of, but she begins to find clues that suggest that the dreams she has been having may be of her past on Earth as an Air Force pilot named Carol Danvers. Stranded by herself on a strange planet in the middle of an alien war against shapeshifters, Vers does not know who she can trust, but she is filled with questions regarding who she is and where she came from. Fortunately, she meets one of Earth’s government agents, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who believes her claims of an alien race of shapeshifters that have found their way to Earth. Thus, the two set out on a mission to find answers and to stop the Skrulls from invading the planet.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Skrulls (+6pts)

Memory (-5pts)

Carol Danvers & Nick Fury (+8pts)

Vers & The Kree (-5pts)

Captain Marvel (+8pts)

The Supreme Intelligence (-3pts)

movie-review-captain-marvel

Pro: The Skrulls (+6pts)

I knew a little about the Skrulls before going into this movie, so I was excited to see how the role this alien race would play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Skrulls were a significant and mysterious alien race in the comics, but even knowing what I know about them, I was still surprised to see where the filmmakers went with their story in this movie. Ben Mendelsohn is always fantastic in any movie he pops up in, and he played the main Skrull character in this movie. Ben Mendelsohn gave the character a lot of personality and depth, even under all of the prosthetic effects, which went a long way in getting me to buy into this species as more than just a one-off gimmick for a Marvel movie.

Anyone Vers encountered could have been a Skrull in disguise, and this added an interesting layer to this story. It was not initially clear what they wanted, but the filmmakers made it clear that they were dangerous. Then, as soon as I was beginning to grasp what the Skrulls were all about, the filmmakers flipped the whole thing on its head and took the story in a different direction. It was an effective misdirect, it played into Vers needing to be careful who she trusted, and it forced us to reassess all of the characters we had met so far, trying to decide if they were trustworthy. The Skrulls really added mystery to this entire story, and I look forward to seeing if and how the Skrulls are incorporated into future movies—as this could just be the tip of the iceberg of the Skrulls’ involvement in the MCU.

movie-review-captain-marvel

Con: Memory (-5pts)

I thought the whole memory loss aspect of Carol Danver’s story could have been done a lot better. As an audience member, it was hard to relate to Vers before getting to Earth. By giving this character memory loss, and wanting to reveal the character’s past throughout the course of the movie, the filmmakers had to give the character little to no character development until almost halfway through the story. On paper, I liked the idea of having Carol Danvers forget her life on Earth and have to uncover it. Keeping Carol’s past on Earth a mystery would have been fine if the filmmakers had created another foundation of character development for her, but the filmmakers did not do that. Instead we got a character whose only real storyline was that she was a superhuman that forgot her past on Earth, and by not wanting to reveal her past too soon, the filmmakers made her somewhat of an uninteresting blank slate. The filmmakers could have made up for this by making her story with the Kree more interesting, but I will get into that later.

movie-review-captain-marvel

Pro: Carol Danvers & Nick Fury (+8pts)

While I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of developing Vers in the beginning of the story, I thought the character got progressively easier to connect with once she got to earth. It was not like flipping a switch, where suddenly she was on Earth so was automatically interesting, but she did get progressively more interesting after that point in the story. I thought she hit the peak of this likability about halfway through the movie, when she met someone from her past. At that point, I was totally on board with the character, and I thought Brie Larson did a good job with everything that came after this scene, but a lot of her progressive likability came from her relationship with Nick Fury. The two characters had very different ways of handling situations, and the two came from very different backgrounds. The two characters had a fun dynamic, the two actors had strong chemistry with one another, and this pairing ended up being crucial in making me care about the main character of the movie.

movie-review-captain-marvel

Con: Vers & The Kree (-5pts)

I have already touched on this a few times, but I thought Vers could have been developed better. When I say Vers, I am referring to Captain Marvel’s time before she learned about her past. By not really developing Vers’ time with the Kree, I did not really care about her story until almost halfway through the movie, and I did not care about her Kree crew mates at all. Additionally, keeping her past on Earth a mystery, while not developing the character earlier in the movie, gave Brie Larson little to work with for the first half of the movie. Before getting to Earth, Vers came across as bland, and I think the majority of this issue was a result of the writers not developing her story properly. I thought Brie Larson did a really good job in the second half, but I just did not think the filmmakers gave her enough to work with in the first half of the story.

movie-review-captain-marvel

Pro: Captain Marvel (+8pts)

Captain Marvel—although never being referred to as such within the context of this movie—was extremely powerful. She was supposedly the most powerful character that we had seen so far in the MCU, and while I certainly think Thor and Scarlet Witch could give her a run for her money, Captain Marvel definitely displayed more power than anything I have seen in these movies so far. There were some entertaining action sequences in the beginning of the movie, but Carol Danvers really found her groove by the end. It was awesome to watch this character doing her thing, and it left me very excited to see her team up with the Avengers, as they were gearing up to take on Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.

movie-review-captain-marvel

Con: The Supreme Intelligence (-3pts)

The Supreme Intelligence was an entity that was basically the boss at the Kree’s galactic space force. It was an incredibly sophisticated artificial intelligence that took the form of whoever the person they were meeting with admired most. Some people may have seen their parent, some may have seen their mentor, some may have seen their friend, and so on. It did not matter what form the Supreme Intelligence took, because the filmmakers made it very unclear what purpose this thing served. It seemed like it was the head honcho of the Kree’s galactic space force, but I did not get a sense of what it actually did. Did it give orders or make any real decisions? I honestly do not know, and this made it hard to get invested in the final scene with this character.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

movie-review-captain-marvel

Grade: B- (84pts)

Some corners of the internet would have you believe that this was a very controversial movie. Many sources have hated on the movie due to Brie Larson and the movie’s “feminist agenda”, while many other sources praised the movie for the same reasons. I honestly do not believe the movie was anywhere near as controversial as the internet would have you believe. The trolls online made up a pretty small percentage of the population; they were just loud.

At the end of the day, this was another strong movie from Marvel. I did not like it as much as I liked Thor: Ragnarok or Avengers: Infinity War, but it was a fun time at the movies nonetheless. I think the movie’s biggest problem was the writing. The memory loss storyline, and lack of development of Vers’ time with the Kree, gave Brie Larson little to work with and made it hard to get invested in the main character at the beginning of the story. Fortunately, the filmmakers were able to redeem themselves a bit. All the scenes with Nick Fury and Carol Danvers were fun, Carol became a lot more relatable in the second half of the story, Brie Larson was able to shine more—both figuratively and literally—in that latter half, there were some great action sequences, and I liked how the filmmakers explored the Skrulls. It was not a perfect movie, but I very honestly enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for Captain Marvel in future movies.

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