Captain Marvel, 88%, B+, 4 Stars
The 21st entry into the MCU is a marvelous blast to the past. It has its flaws, but is still a good time at the movies. If your goal is to have a good time, this is the movie for you.
The story flows well. I checked my watch a few times, but thought “wow, it’s already been that long?” not “it’s only been this long!” It starts fast with the Kree homeworld, and doesn’t waste time introducing the Skrulls in what proves to be a mislead and before long, we zoom to the main body of the story on Earth.
From beginning to end, the movie makes sense. There were no plot holes, and for those who might say that Carol’s climactic charge up came from nowhere, it’s a movie about space aliens and shape shifting lizard aliens, I bought the hyper charged version because I can believe there was untapped potential. My major complaint is how she was able to conveniently mod C-53 tech from 1995 to work with her Kree tech, and the unclear nature of the post-credits scene, which I learned took place in 1995, which lines up with the timeline appropriately.
I didn’t get a universal relatability vibe off Carol, those were reserved for residents of C-53 like Fury, Coulson, and newcomer Maria, who helped give Carol’s Earth backstory. They acted as eyes and ear of the audience, and they pretty much summed up what we thought. The filmmakers used the flashbacks to develop her as a strong woman who gets back up on her feet in the face of adversity, more on that in a bit, which I think men and women alike can find admirable.
Like I said in the previous section, the flashbacks were used to develop Carol as a strong woman who gets back up on her feet despite the odds. Her motivations were made clear by the time the truth of the skrulls came out, and while I didn’t feel this deep connection I have to other female characters like Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars or the MCU’s own Agent Carter, both through TV admittedly, I did like the way she wouldn’t back down. The family stuff could have been explored more, but that may have bloated the movie itself, so I’ll take the throwaway line Maria gives.
The CGI was heavy, but the skrulls and other aliens were very believable. The CGI deaging of Clark Gregg and Sam L. Jackson were beautifully rendered to the point that if I hadn’t known they were deaged like that and those actors were actually 56 and 70, I would not have thought they were that old at the time of production. This technology has come very far, and I can’t wait to see it used for responsible prequel stories.
There were some moments where I was like “I’m not surprised they went there,” and the trailer gave away how the flashbacks the skrulls uncovered were used to show Carol get back up on her feet. Those would be the moments where one guy out of nowhere told her to “smile” and the truth about Nick Fury’s missing eye. Major spoiler alert: he lost that eye because Goose scratched it out when he was horsing around with her, and it was almost as dumb as Star Lord’s temper tantrum in Infinity War, and that dragged that whole movie from a potential A+ to a B+ for me.
The soundtrack fit each scene appropriately, especially the “I’m Just a Girl” song in the climax. There was also some fun 90s grunge use and light techno on the Kree homeworld scene. It all expressed the appropriate emotions.
The “I’m Just a Girl” song didn’t have the beautiful symmetrical use “Immigrant Song” from Thor: Ragnarok had, but it was very appropriate and completed the feminism circle this film was going for. The techno was light enough to give an otherworldly feel to it, but didn’t go over the top since most of it’s set on Earth.
As I mentioned before, the truth about Nick Fury’s eye was played for laughs, but it felt inappropriate because of how dumb it played in my opinion and murdered the mystery of it in ice cold blood. I’m watching through all 21 movies leading to Endgame over the next six weeks, so I’ll see how I feel when I watch him in those movies knowing that. Anyway, the rest of the humor was good, especially with the way that Carol got back at the “smile” creep, and was a better balance than Infinity War and other prior installments.
Sam L. Jackson still doesn’t get to go all-in, but the rest of the language feels right.
Captain Marvel is a good time at the movies, with just a few eye rolling moments and one major revelation about Fury’s bad eye to bring it down a few points. I hope to see more of Carol Danvers because her journey is just getting started.
For the larger MCU, I wouldn’t say this is critical to understanding Endgame, but if you want to go to that saying “I’ve seen it all,” I can say you won’t be wasting your time.
-Visual Believability 7/10
-Purposeful Content 8/10
-Emotional Resonance 9/10
-Appropriate Use 9/10
-Appropriate Humor 8/10
-Appropriate Cursing 10/10