Review: “Captain Marvel” charms, but falls short of greatness

By Skyler Wolf, Pearl Reporter

Captain Marvel is undeniably placed in an awkward spot within the Marvel movie slot. Off the wave of Avengers: Infinity War— which was insanely popular among critics and audiences alike, earning nearly $665 million in the box office—and released just a month before the highly anticipated Avengers: Endgame, Brie Larson’s debut into the Marvel Cinematic Universe left many wondering how it would fare.

It is important to note from the start that this movie has a great set of actors. Brie Larson plays the titular character of Captain Marvel, Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as Nick Fury, Lashana Lynch plays the best friend of Captain Marvel, and Ben Mendelsohn provides one of the best villains to be on the MCU screen to date. This movie is at its best when these characters are together in some combination or another, particularly Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson. These two play off of each other, not unlike a buddy-cop movie, and nail it. Nick Fury and Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel’s human name, dominate every scene they are together in. Whether infiltrating a high-security government base or simply washing dishes, their chemistry is undeniable.

Unfortunately, that’s just it; Marvel is known for differentiating itself by focusing on their characters and exploring how each feels about whatever is afflicting them. Captain Marvel attempts to be more action-focused and completely loses the human aspect of our characters for much of the film. This would be fine if the action wasn’t executed very poorly. The camera often cuts too often and delivers jarring shakes and angle changes, causing myself (and as I have found out others) to become slightly nauseated throughout some fight scenes. Additionally, the movie is colorless. The MCU does not have a reputation for being extremely colorful in its past but after movies such as Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Infinity War, all vibrant and creative with their use of color, I expected more. Every scene is entirely gray or blue. Captain Marvel’s homeworld and suit for most of the film is a mixture of cyans and turquoises, along with some of her squadmates who share a similar uniform while also having blue skin. Add that to spaceships with blue interior lighting, and things on the screen become a blue blur.

On her own, Carol Danvers is not given the opportunity to be an interesting character. The pacing of the movie goes by so quickly that she is not given time to reflect on where she is at in life right now, what she truly wants, etc. This is not the fault of Brie Larson, who gives a spectacular performance, but more so on the script itself. With how the movie is written, Carol shines most when bouncing off of others, most notably Nick Fury. Despite not being a stellar character herself, I am excited for Captain Marvel’s run-in with the Avengers in the upcoming Endgame, which will hopefully continue the trend of Carol being at her best when on a team with others.

Through all of these faults, Captain Marvel does have some charm. The makeup is wonderfully done on both Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn. Though the story is somewhat predictable, there are twists that are noteworthy. Brie Larson does not always have the best comedic timing, but most jokes within the film did make me smile. As I stated before, Ben Mendelsohn is one of the best Marvel villains to be put on the screen to date. The character of Goose, the orange cat, was surprisingly well done. Plus, if you want any clue for what’s to come in Avengers: Endgame, this is a necessary stepping stone.

Overall, I rate Captain Marvel a 6.5 out of 10.

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