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Captain Marvel | REVIEW (with spoilers)

Hey everyone, welcome to Area-616.com. Sorry it's been a while since I've posted or uploaded, I took a bit of an unplanned break there, but I'm back. One of the things I missed was #CaptainMarvel-- I've been wanting to talk about, but I figure it's too late to make a video now, so here are my thoughts in written blog form. I saw the film on March 12, so I've had a while to stew with it. So, here's what I thought...

SOMETHING TO NOTE

Captain Marvel has had a lot of controversy around it: tampered Rotten Tomatoes scores from internet trolls, and then fairly mixed reviews when it actually came out, both kind of disappointing for Marvel's first female-led film. Although considering it's about to hit $1 billion dollars at the worldwide box office, these have hardly hurt the film. I think the internet troll attacks are some of the stupidest things I've ever heard-- the idea that Brie Larson hates white men and that this movie is part of an "SJW agenda" is ridiculous and not something I subscribe to at all. I figure I should get that out of the way early on so people don't get my criticisms confused with something more immature.


WHAT WORKS

"[Carol Danvers] is easily the best part of the movie."

Let's start with an easy highlight of the movie: Brie Larson as Carol Danvers. She does a great job, and she's easily the best part of the movie. I'm very excited to see more of her in the MCU moving forward, I think she's got a bold future ahead. However, I do feel like she suffers a lot in this movie from poor writing and pacing. But, when she's allowed to actually play Carol Danvers, and not forced to deliver endless exposition, she's a blast. Scenes like when she belly-flops through an Accuser warship, or when a giant Skrull roars at her and she roars right back. That's Carol Danvers in a nutshell. She kind of reminds me of Thor here-- she's good in her first movie, but I get the sense that (under new writers and directors) she'll start to really shine in future movies, hopefully starting with the upcoming #AvengersEndgame. Unfortunately, she doesn't have of a character here... she sort of has an arc but it barely works (she learns that she doesn't have to prove anything to Yon-Rogg... but she never seemed to interested in that in the first place?) Ultimately, she's at her best when she's flawed and human, not when she's a super-goddess who can do anything. That's true of pretty much any character, though. Her dynamic with Nick Fury in the movie is a lot of fun to watch, and they have some really funny lines and moments, even if I'm not very happy with what they've done with Fury... but I'll get to that.

"[They] have some really funny lines and moments, even if I'm not very happy with what they've done with Fury..."

Fury's de-aging effects are a Marvel however-- I forgot 20 seconds into his first scene that that wasn't how Samuel L. Jackson looks now. It's absolutely flawless, and deserves a ton of praise. Carol's costume is beautiful, easily one of the best-designed in the MCU, and the way her power looks is stunning. The Skrulls are also some of the best parts of the movies. First of all, the decision to go with practical prosthetics instead of CGI was an inspired one. They look fantastic in the movie, and it's refreshing to see them like that as opposed to Marvel's usual go-to option (full CGI). And it's probably no surprise to you that I thought Talos was awesome here-- the decision to make him as sympathetic as he was, and not even really a villain in the end was great, and it really works here. I like the idea of portraying the Skrulls as more three-dimensional, as opposed to just super evil bad guys, although I would like to see more villainous Skrulls in the future. I also like what they did Carol's origins and Mar-Vell-- I like her connections with the Tesseract (which is sure to have some bigger meanings come Endgame) and I like the gender-swapped Mar-Vell, even if it means it's unlikely we'll get the more super heroic version of the characters from the comics. There's a lot of great beginnings here, I came out of the theater with the feeling that all of this was headed towards something really cool. But for now...


WHAT DOESN'T WORK

"[T]hat's a life-changing event that's now worthless."

Unfortunately, there are quite a few things I mentioned that I didn't enjoy here. I mentioned Nick Fury, so let's start with him. He doesn't feel like Fury-- at all. Here he's a happy, pretty chill agent who doesn't seem too worried about anything (even with the whole "race of shapeshifting aliens" thing). There are moments here that honestly just cheapen Fury as a character, and make him less interesting. By far one of the film's biggest crimes is its choice to make Goose responsible for Fury losing his eye. It completely erases any dramatic weight that has for Fury-- that's a life-changing event that's worthless now. Not to mention every time we rewatched Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we'll know he's actually talking about a space cat being the one he trusted. It's just ridiculous, and kind of insulting. There are a lot of decisions made in Captain Marvel that I'm not happy with at all-- the way they handled the Supreme Intelligence started out interesting, but didn't really go anywhere (and I'll be eternally mad that it doesn't seem to be a giant floating tentacle monster thing). Also, Ronan continues to be severely underused. He's one of Marvel Comics' best villains, but he's repeatedly disserviced in the MCU, and is only physically in this movie for maybe one scene. Really, the Kree as a whole were very disappointing to me. Hala looked great, and Yon-Rogg and the Starforce seem like cool characters-- but again, they don't really do anything. The Starforce are barely in it, and are reduced to just henchmen, basically.

"Yon-Rogg is one of the biggest crimes."

And Yon-Rogg is one of the biggest crimes-- it's hard to tell how much he truly cares about anything. He doesn't really have much of a character, which is a shame when you have an actor like Jude Law. Really, my main problem with Captain Marvel is that it falls victim to all of the MCU's biggest flaws. The badly timed humor that negates any emotional stakes, bad CGI, often poorly-made fights scenes, and an overall bland style to it. You can always tell the best Marvel movies' directors apart-- Joe & Anthony Russo, James Gunn, Ryan Coogler, Joss Whedon-- all of their movies are instantly recognizable and tonally unique. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck ultimately bring nothing to the table-- the movie is bland in both visuals and writing, and honestly feels almost factory-made. The fight scenes are some of the worst Marvel's ever done-- the only good ones are Carol's escape from the Skrulls, the train chase, and Carol going binary in orbit. Every thing is just a shaky-cam overload. I went into this movie knowing all of the Starforce members by heart-- but the fights are so poorly filmed, I couldn't tell who was doing what half the time. The biggest killer here is the editing, or more specifically: the pacing-- it is some of the worst I have ever seen in a movie. The whole thing moves at a breakneck speed that doesn't allow anything to make an impact, be it jokes or emotional moments. We spend so little time on Hala with Yon-Rogg that it's hard to care about his relationship with Carol. We spend so little time exploring Carol and Maria's friendship that it's hard to feel anything when they're reunited. We spend so little time on Carol's backstory that it hardly matter when revelations arrive. Really, the only one we spend much time with (besides Carol and Fury) is Talos, which is probably why he works so well. Honestly, I feel like the editing really could've saved this movie, if they had gone with a different approach.


FINAL VERDICT

I don't want it to come across like I hated this movie-- I didn't. It's a fun, popcorn blockbuster that works best if you turn off your brain and laugh at the jokes and alien cats and explosions. But, my problem with it is that it lacks substance-- there's no meat on its bones, nothing that makes it stand out. It's a cookie-cutter Marvel movie that falls victim to all of the studios' greatest faults. Coming out of it, I have no desire to re-watch it-- which is a rare thing for me with Marvel movies. I'd say it's somewhere around the Ant-Man and early Thor movies in terms of quality. I really wish I had enjoyed it more, but I just didn't. My final letter grade for it (I do letter grades now) would have to be a C. It was alright... but it could have so, so much better.


At the end is my letter grade tier for the MCU so you have a better idea of how I rank these (more-or-less in order from best to worst). Be sure to sign-in to the site so that you can leave a comment-- I'd love to hear your thoughts on the movie. Thank you guys for reading, and I'll see you all next time.


A TIER - FANTASTIC

Avengers: Infinity War (A+)

Marvel's Daredevil (A+)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (A+)

Guardians of the Galaxy (A+)

The Avengers (A)

Black Panther (A)

Captain America: Civil War (A-) Iron Man (A-)

Marvel's Jessica Jones (A-) B TIER - GREAT

Spider-Man: Homecoming (B+)

Thor: Ragnarok (B+)

Marvel's Luke Cage (B+)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (B)

Marvel's The Punisher (B+)

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (B)

Captain America: The First Avenger (B)

Marvel's Agent Carter (B-) C TIER - AVERAGE

Doctor Strange (C+)

Ant-Man (C+)

Marvel's Runaways (C+)

Iron Man 3 (C+)

Ant-Man and the Wasp (C)

Captain Marvel (C)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (C)

Marvel's Cloak & Dagger (C)

Thor (C-)

Iron Man 2 (C-) D TIER - OKAY

Iron Man 2 (D+)

The Incredible Hulk (D)

Marvel's Iron Fist (D-)

Thor: The Dark World (D-) F TIER - TERRIBLE

Marvel's Inhumans (F)


NOTE: I'll update this list whenever there's a new addition to the MCU.

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