Movie Review: “Captain Marvel”
Vers (Brie Larson) is a new recruit in the Kree galactic space force. She is a skilled fighter and possesses unmatched power. Vers (unlike any other Kree agent) has the ability to create very powerful photon blasts from her hands, although her superior (Jude Law) believes she relies too heavily on her power. She wants to prove herself as a capable agent and 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 wrong, Vers is separated from her 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 may be of her past on Earth as an Air Force pilot named Carol Danvers. Caught 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 of her past. Fortunately, she meets one of Earth’s government agents, named Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who seems to believe her about her claims about the alien race of shapeshifters. Thus, the two set out on a mission to find answers and to stop the Skrulls from invading Earth.
The Pros & Cons
The Skrulls (+6pts)
Carol Danvers & Nick Fury (+8pts)
Vers & The Kree (-5pts)
Captain Marvel (+8pts)
The Supreme Intelligence (-3pts)
Pro: The Skrulls (+6pts)
I knew a little about The Skrulls before going into this movie, so I was excited to see how this alien race would play into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Skrulls are 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, even under all of the prosthetic effects.
Again, The Skrulls are a mysterious race, so I really do not want to spoil anything about their storyline in this movie. All I will say is that I liked what the filmmakers did with them and thought it went against my expectations (in a good way). I liked their storyline in the comics, but I liked the alternate direction that the filmmakers took the characters in this movie. Despite that alternate direction, we still got to enjoy plenty of scenes revolving around the shape shifting aspect of this race of aliens, as well as the “be careful of who you trust” mentality that they bring into the story. I look forward to seeing if and how The Skrulls are incorporated into future movies (as this could just be the tip of the iceburg, regarding The Skrulls’ involvment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
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 base (so to speak) of character development for her, but the filmmakers did not do that (although I will get into that, in more detail, that later in this review).
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. No, it was not like flipping a switch, where suddenly she was on Earth so was automatically interesting. However, she did get progressively more interesting and likable once she got to Earth. 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 thought Brie Larson did a good job with everything that came after this scene, but a lot of this 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, and I thought that this team up ended up being crucial in making me start to care about the main character of the movie.
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 learns about her past. By not really developing Vers’ time with the Kree, I did not care about her story until almost halfway through the movie and I did not care about her crew mates (with the Kree) 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 comes across as bland and (while I do not think Brie Larson is exempt from all blame) I think the majority of this issue was a result of the filmmakers not developing Vers’ story while she was with the Kree. 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 beginning of the story.
Pro: Captain Marvel (+8pts)
I do not want to spoil anything, so I will keep this vague and brief. Captain Marvel (while never being referred to as such) was extremely powerful in this movie. She is supposedly the most powerful character that we have seen so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe 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 the Marvel Cinematic Universe up until this point. 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 take on Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.
Con: The Supreme Intelligence (-3pts)
This is yet another area where I will want to avoid spoilers, so I am going to be as vague as I can be. The Supreme Intelligence is an entity that is basically the boss at the Kree’s galactic space force. It is an incredibly sophisticated artificial intelligence that takes the form of whomever you most admire. Some people may see their parent, some may see their mentor, some may see their friend, and so on.
It honestly did not matter what form The Supreme Intelligence took, because the filmmakers made it very unclear as to what purpose this thing served. It felt like the head honcho of the Kree’s galactic space force, but I did not get a sense of what its actual purpose was. Does 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”. Again, I do not want to give anything away, so that is all I will say. Just know that this aspect of the story felt like it needed some more attention from the filmmakers.
Grade: B- (84pts)
The internet would have you believe that this is 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 praise 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 make up a pretty small percentage of the population; they are 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. 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, but 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 a bit more 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 cannot wait to see what is in store for Captain Marvel in future movies.