Movie Review: Captain Marvel
by Jason Koenigsberg
She has finally arrived. Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie and the one that is supposed to be the great savior to the havoc Thanos created during the final act of the last Avengers movie. Well, here she is Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in all of her girl power. The opening moment is probably the best part of Captain Marvel where they turned the usual Marvel Studios logo, which is always one of the most exciting and ever-evolving movie logos into a glorious quick tribute to the late great Stan Lee. It is absolutely outstanding and warrants a recommendation for this film almost in and of itself. Lee also has one of his best and most clever cameos reading a script that will make Kevin Smith fans of the ’90s rejoice. They are probably the two best moments of Captain Marvel which is not necessarily a good thing, but fanboys and fangirls of the Marvel movies are guaranteed to walk out ecstatic.
The opening shot is of the ground and we see dirt and sand fly up in slow motion. The next shot is Brie Larson cashing in her biggest paycheck no doubt after her Academy Award-winning turn in Room (2015). This is her first major role since then and our first image of her she is lying down and has green goop on her face and hand. She is in the midst of a flashback in a battle and from that moment on the audience is thrown right into the action. Brie Larson is good in the title role but is never really given much of a chance to flex her dramatic chops. She just has to look pretty and strong while she fights a bunch of generic bad guys. It is still baffling that Marvel has yet to create any real demonic villains to foil the heroes in this franchise.
Captain Marvel has great special effects. Everything looks sharp and the colors and images pop on screen. Visually it is impressive as most Marvel movies are, yet somehow their music scores, like their villains, are never quite as memorable. There is music in Captain Marvel but nobody in the audience will be humming it on their way out of the theater. They will instead want to crank up some ’90s playlists since the soundtrack is filled with some of the biggest and most diverse hits of the mid-1990s. A lot of aspects of Captain Marvel serve as nostalgia-porn for the ’90s, specifically 1995. That made the movie fun, but it missed out on some obvious chances for social commentary. This movie is a big missed opportunity at being topical but instead just focused on trying to be fun and giving the fans what they want. In that area, Captain Marvel succeeds. It is a passable blockbuster and entertaining on a visual and superficial level only. Captain Marvel has no personal touch and felt like it was directed by a committee, which many of these Marvel movies do. In this case, the committee was trying to emulate a James Cameron film. A special effects extravaganza about a strong woman. Captain Marvel may feel like a wannabe-Cameron, but it also feels very much like a Marvel movie which is what the audiences want. They do not want social commentary, or anything thought-provoking and unique. On that respect as a critic, I feel that despite the fact that this is not the movie I personally would have wanted I feel obligated to recommend it since I know this is exactly the movie that the fans want. Everyone who has been waiting for this event and buys a ticket will walk out happy. The masses want more of the same comfort food and Captain Marvel delivers.