Captain Marvel: More Boring Than Expected

Captain Marvel

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.

Captain Marvel poster

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.



8 comments

  • Jim Perreault

    I’m not sure I would go so far as to say it was boring, but it did lack a strong emotional through line. I don’t think the problem was with her lost memories, as figuring who you are and your place in the world is a fairly universal theme.

    The problem was that in no point did she seem conflicted. We kept getting told that she was, that she had emotions that she was having problems controlling. But that never felt like the case. She never seemed to be bothered by any of the decisions she had to made.

    And there was potential for a duty versus honor conflict, but by the climax of the movie, any chance of that sort of conflict was eliminated.

    I do agree that the strongest part of the movie was the scene in Louisiana with the Rambeaus, with the exploration of their friendship. But I am probably a little biased, as I have been a fan of the Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel since the 80s.

  • Good analysis. The character did do a good job of seeming alien, without much emotional impact. And I’d love to see more Monica, particularly if they did a Nextwave show!

  • Elizabeth D

    This was, without a doubt, one of the most boring films I’ve ever seen, period, and hands down the most boring in the MCU franchise. Marvel’s big strength in comics is their character development. Here, the film was entirely plot driven and it shows.

    As a woman, I don’t feel inspired by Carol. I’ve experienced a lot worse. They don’t show her struggling. What they show us is this bland, made-over, megasuperpowered character who can blow up an armada without chipping a nail.

    Yawn.

    I didn’t care enough about the Kree to hate them. I didn’t give a crap about the Skrulls. The whole ‘oh, they’re refugees’ felt forced and I saw no reason to have sympathy for the green lizard people. The best friend was okay, but again,she basically is there to fill a
    plot need and has no personality outside of her role. The kid’s obligatory cute and I rolled my eyes at the all too predictable ‘mommy, what kind of example are you’ bit. Even Nick Fury wasn’t the acerbic character I love. Add to that the fact that this film trashed a great line out of the Winter Soldier, and I have no love for this.

    I would have liked to have liked it, but honestly, it was the first time in a MCU film where I actually wished I needed to go to the bathroom so I could stay awake.

    She’s Captain Mary Sue. I don’t like her. I don’t dislike her. I just don’t care.

  • Stephen

    Your prediction at the end didn’t age very well, did it?

  • You’re right. I’m glad so many people are apparently enjoying the film, and as it was said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

  • Zardock

    I agree the worst problem of this movie was just that it was incredibly boring. I tried rewatching it again as I couldn’t keep focused the first time and same thing happened the second time through. It was really hard to care about anything that was going on. They also tried to do too much with the amount of time and ended up doing very little, rushing etc. The character Carol Denvers was really bad, I’m not blaming Brie completely as she was better in other movies, but having her as a hero just feels like it will always be awkward especially with the writing. I don’t mind that she’s in Endgame but I’m definitely afraid they will include her too much and leave a negative tone on the movie.

  • I’m looking forward to seeing the character in Endgame. I think she works well in a team setup. I’m also curious to see how they deal with the time jump.

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