Movie Review: “Captain Marvel”

The last couple years have seen Marvel Studios begin to be more open to allowing directors and writers to play around with their established formula, resulting in several of the franchise’s best entries (Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok). Unfortunately, Captain Marvel sees the studio returning to the tried and true ideas that made up much of the earlier output, with only hints at what made those other entries so special. Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, is the first female superhero in the MCU to get her own standalone movie, which makes its ordinariness a little disappointing (a case could be made for that being what makes it great, but that’s a whole other conversation). Whereas Black Panther let us spend time in the fantastically realized kingdom of Wakanda, this movie gives only glimpses of the impressive Kree homeworld, instead choosing to ground much of the action in a rather drably realized recreation of Earth in the 1990’s (fun soundtrack choices though). Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) begins the story as Vers, a Kree warrior, who finds herself stuck on Earth after a rescue mission against the shape-shifting Skrulls goes awry. With the aid of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury (an impressively CGI de-aged Samuel L. Jackson), she tries to do what she can to put an end to the war between the 2 space-faring civilizations. It is a fun movie, with above average acting and some spectacular set-pieces. The jokes scattered throughout all land pretty well, and since this is a prequel it does get to explain exactly how some parts of Avengers lore came to be, which the movie always handles satisfyingly. Still, there isn’t really a plot development here that you can’t see coming from a mile away, with the exception perhaps of its rather brief but affecting handling of the topic of the treatment of refugees, and nearly everything feels like we’ve seen it all before. It’s a decent night at the movies, but one that you won’t likely remember for very long. ★★★1/2 – Sean Farrell

★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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