Written by Tony The Gamer Dad
Let's imagine the MCU doesn't exist. With that in mind, we will view Captain Marvel as just an action movie with a female lead who has super powers and a story about aliens rather than another piece of the MCU puzzle. It has decent action scenes, cheesy 90's music, groan inducing "comedy," and a story that reflects some of the political and ideological views of today, and a cliche' amnesia story that we have seen in movies and entertainment so many times before that I doubt there will ever be a good way to pull one off again. Brie Larson as Vers/Carol is completely miscast, her attempts to appear emotional, cocky, or vulnerable come off forced. I'm sure some blame can be placed at the feet of the director but no doubt much of the reason is due to Brie's limited range as an actress. Despite this, Brie does not drag the movie down as much as you would think. Why? Well, a lot of this movie is just meh. The two main alien races, Skrulls and Kree, both look like something a made for cable TV movie would come up with on a limited budget rather than something part of a huge blockbuster. In addition to these bits of bland special effects the CGI used to make Coulson look younger is downright creepy. The soundtrack is chock full of poppy 90's music that is shoved in to scream "This film takes place in the 90's!" instead of fitting the mood of the scene. The story is chock full of undeserved hero moments, one such instance is Monica shooting down a Kree spaceship after doing some fancy flying but we barely have any information on Monica so the scene comes off more unbelievable and less like she earned the moment. Another scene has Captain Marvel unlocking her full power but she has faced almost no hardship during the movie so its not the big moment the movie tries to paint it as. Moving on to my next point, the war between the two alien races is treated with no nuance and the "twist" of the war comes off as predictable and not the shocker it wants to be. Lastly, the "comedy" in this movie falls flat because they are mostly punchlines with no setup or "funny" moments because the movie feels they are funny. One example of the latter is Nick Fury being "cutesy" with a cat which I guess is supposed to be funny because it's Nick Fury doing it. All these things come together to create a decent popcorn flick that leaves you feeling like you should have waited for the DVD but not actively hating the experience.
It must be said, the MCU is not a 1 to 1 conversion from the comic books but another version of it. You see, since day 1 of the MCU it has treated the comic books as a mere inspiration with bits and pieces to use as is and others to toss out completely. In my opinion the MCU does a very good job choosing what to keep, what to toss out, and what to alter in order to fit into the current year and the previously established MCU continuity. Captain Marvel pulls the least from the comics and most of what it does take it only uses it superficially. The perfect example of this is the Skrull warrior Talos. In the comic books Talos was originally known as Talos the Untamed, later becoming Talos the Tamed after a defeat and capture at the hands of the Kree and refusing to commit suicide, because of his ferocity as a warrior. Talos was such fierce warrior because he was born without the ability to shape shift like the rest of the Skrull people, although he had strength greater than the average Skrull, and so he had to scrape and claw his way up the ranks as he was constantly being ridiculed and harassed. His story would have perfectly mirrored Carols own and shown how one could succeed due to spite instead of hope, giving the audience and Carol a glimpse at her future if she refused to embrace and forgive those she felt oppressed her. This of course would be too nuanced for a movie like Captain Marvel, so Talos was relegated to being a generic Skrull warrior.
I could go on and on about how bland this movie is, how much it treats the Marvel comics as nothing more than a brand name to exploit, or how much better it could have been but I think you get the overall point I am trying to make. Captain Marvel is not a great movie nor is it a terrible one. It's just a movie that leaves you feeling let down. Agree? Disagree? As always. feel free to comment, like, share, tweet, or whatever other thing you kids do on your social media these days.
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