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Review: Captain Marvel – not altogether marvelous

Pathfinder Infinite

Marvel Studios highly anticipated, first-ever female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel, has finally arrived, and it is not altogether marvelous; at least in comparison to the high bar set by the twenty Marvel Cinematic Universe films that have come before it.

The character of Captain Marvel, in general, has some difficult problems baked into it from the get-go — as in, how do you make the most powerful being in the universe into a hero that you care about. And the clunky way in which this film goes about revealing its hero’s origin story does not help at all.

Captain MarvelThe human and relatable parts of this tale are told in a way that is so jumbled up and convoluted that even die-hard fans will be left scratching their heads; as if the comic book mythos surrounding this character (or multiple characters) wasn’t already complicated enough.

Captain Marvel is written and directed by husband and wife team Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who are experienced television directors, and they allegedly wanted this movie to be in the vein of 1990s action flicks. Well, they succeeded in that their film comes off as what could be a ’90s superhero action television show – and that’s not a good thing.

All that said, and before I come off as being way too harsh on this movie, it has enough going for it overall that I did enjoy it. If you are a fan of Marvel, then you’ll be watching it regardless of anything I say here. If you are not already a fan, then you are going to be really lost.

The narrative here jumps all over the place and I can’t say I’m thrilled with the way it unravels. A linear approach may have worked better and it definitely would have allowed for more development of the protagonist, Carol Danvers.

As it is, we start off slowly with “Vers,” as she’s called on the Kree planet of Hala, trying to recover her lost memories while in the middle of a war between the Kree and the shape-shifting Skrulls. The hero inadvertently ends up on Earth in 1995 and ends up fighting solo against the Skrull aliens while teaming up with the early Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Captain MarvelDon’t ask why some Kree are blue and others are white. Did I mention how convoluted all this is?

I’m not going to say much more than that as fans of these films hate spoilers (as do I.) But suffice it to say that there are a lot of laughs as Vers navigates the “alien” world of Blockbuster videos and early Internet technology.

The middle act has this movie is the best, while the final climactic battle sequences are yawn inducing. Be sure to stick around until after all of the credits have run for the best scene in the film.

Brie Larson is perfectly cast as Danvers, although she copies more than a little of her performance from Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, especially during her gleeful fighting sequences. Samuel L. Jackson steals the show as a young Nick Fury.

Marvel has such a great track record of getting things so perfectly right that its super disappointing to see them stumble with this film. I usually can’t wait for the sequels to their movies, but after this one I couldn’t care less about a potential Captain Marvel II. Let’s keep our fingers-crossed for Avengers: Endgame. Grade: 6/10

Photos Copyright © 2019 Marvel Studios

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.

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