Captain Marvel: More Boring Than Expected
I went to see the newest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie release, Captain Marvel, this morning. While there was a lot about the movie I intellectually appreciated — such as its focus on female friendship — emotionally, I was left cold. And quite often, bored, waiting to get to the next set piece.
Typical of current blockbusters, there’s too much focus on action scenes that can be hard to follow, since they’re set in dark spaces. I’m rarely interested in Marvel’s space continuity, so the war between the Kree and the Skrulls wasn’t particularly gripping. (Which was a shame, since the different perspective of “they’re terrorists/no, we’re refugees” should have been timely.)
We know this is all staging and marking time, needing to introduce Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) before she becomes a key part of the soon-upcoming Avengers: Endgame, so much of the movie feels unnecessary, complicated by the plot of Carol Danvers having amnesia and not knowing her own background. (That makes it a hard role to play and to relate to as a viewer.) As her history is slowly revealed, it relies a lot on stereotypes and overly familiar elements, such as the woman told she can’t achieve by sexist men. That should be inspiring, but the guys telling her off are cardboard and exist only to be villainous voices.
Seeing young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is interesting, although he’s mostly a sidekick, and I also liked seeing Annette Bening as a scientist/mentor. Overall, though, too much of the dialogue is exposition-heavy. I was left thinking the best part of the movie was the cat, Goose, although that cuddly pet contrast with the outer space explosions becomes overplayed and obvious, as it’s returned to too often.
At over two hours, the movie is too long for yet another origin, where we already know the prospective hero will learn to accept their powers and believe in themselves. I have higher expectations than seeing this studio do the same old story, only this time it’s about a woman!, particularly since it should have happened years ago.
While I am glad to see the character incorporated in Marvel films, and I find the role inspiring, I suspect this movie won’t have the more universal appeal (and return business) of Wonder Woman or Black Panther.