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Film Review: Captain Marvel

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Faster. Further. Higher. This is the tagline for Marvel’s Endgame prologue, Captain Marvel. Unfortunately, the space superwoman adventure isn’t any of these three things, not only in terms of an MCU film, but as a superhero film in general. The official synopsis simply states – Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Sounds simple. What follows is a slightly entertaining yet ultimately useless saga. The film is exactly like its title character, powerful and confident… but flawed and teetering on boring.

The film opens with Carol Denvers (Brie Larson) waking on a far alien planet with no memory of who she is or how she got there. She’s superpowered but with little knowledge or control of her powers (herein also lies a problem with the plot, as we aren’t any more understanding of her powers or her potential by the films end). Her mentor and trainer (Jude Law) explicitly lays out exposition throughout his scenes with Carol, glaringly trying to keep the audience in the loop. She winds up back on earth where she begins the search for her past, all while stopping a shapeshifting race of aliens called Skrulls. She meets a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who helps her fend off a group of Skrulls and their leader, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn).

Samuel L. Jackson is a superhero of cinema, he has the extraordinary ability to effortlessly and naturally elevate a scene or film, to a place of utter enjoyment and watchability. The moment he enters Captain Marvel, the film picks up, and its felt not only by the audience but by his other players as well. Brie Larson is at her best when bouncing off Jackson and reacting to their banter. Mendelsohn has the most fun and creates the best MCU supporting character since Korg in Thor: Ragnarok (2017). Mendelson delivers his lines with an offbeat Australian humour that brings a refreshing humour to a comedy lacking script.

To put it bluntly, Brie Larson is directly one of the biggest flaws in the film. The actress has proven to be a nuanced and profound actress, like in her Oscar winning role in Room (2015), however as the cosmically powerful Captain she displays zero range. When the main character in a superhero movie is bordering on unlikeable and unwatchable, therein lies a major problem. Simply the wrong casting choice. Captain Marvel has no weaknesses, there is no point at which you feel she is in any danger of losing, or any danger at all for that matter. Resulting in little to no tension building throughout the film, Carol nor the planet feels even remotely in danger. The biggest threat is actually a cat. A cat.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) has one of the funniest and most recognisable soundtracks of recent memory, Marvel sadly misses a great opportunity for a memorable sound track, what could have been a 90’s cassette disco, is forgettable at best. Captain Marvel is an extraordinary woman presented ordinarily, with a flat and undeveloped personality. She’s nearly emotionless to the point where the screenwriters introduce a cat alien hybrid for momentary humour. There is a good story here, but it’s just not told well with flat pacing and off timing. The special effects are great, as with most Marvel films. Particularly the seamless de-ageing CGI on Nick Fury.

There has been comparison to the far superior Wonder Woman (2017), where in the lead character has her own agency. She makes her decisions and deals with the consequences, both good and bad. Captain Marvel does everything as a reaction to something. Wonder Woman had the feminist narrative that wasn’t forced and allowed us to follow and root for the character without relying or flirting with being preachy. Wonder Woman was not manipulative of its audience and that’s where Captain Marvel loses out as it feels like a commercial attempt to bring in women simply because they share the same gender as the lead. Instead of empowering, it panders. DC did it far, far better for once.

Captain Marvel
2.5 Our Score
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Pros
90’s nostalgia is fun, the special effects are great, Jackson and Mendelsohn own the film, the mid credits scene is a great hype agent for Endgame.
Cons
Brie Larson is not the revelation one would hope. The pacing is off and the film lacks stakes. Jude Law’s and Lee Pace’s characters are practically useless and slow the film down.
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As the website founder, innovator and owner of www.screenscoop.com, Kosta Sakellariou is the primary event correspondent for all Sydney based red carpet events. His infatuation and 6th sense instinct for identifying the latest film news have lead to the creation of ScreenScoop, which strives to report, inform and entertain fans who share this same passion around the globe. Get in the loop with #ScreenScoop

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