Something you will notice on REO is that we write about the things we love. That means you will rarely see reviews for movies we dislike or are ambivalent about. There have been a few films we have chosen to write about that we don’t consider all-time favorites, but in the end, we would rather spend our time writing about the things we love instead of cranking out reviews for movies that are merely entertaining.
Enter Captain Marvel
I like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are some great films in that lineup1 and many other fun movies. I enjoy the blueprint that Marvel has created. Yes, the MCU is starting to show its seams a bit, 20+ films in, but they do the whole superhero thing better than anyone so even at their worst, there is still plenty of entertainment to be had.
Marvel films are not high cinema but they accomplish exactly what they set out to. Captain Marvel is no different in this regard. It’s an origin story for Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel). It’s full of exposition, action scenes, comedic moments, heart, and MCU world-building. It is perfectly adequate in accomplishing its goals.
Unfortunately, it is rarely more than adequate. That does not make it a bad film. I enjoyed watching it, but it never reaches greatness. It flirts with greatness a few times but those moments are too few and far between.
Captain Marvel is kind of boring.
Captain Marvel is saddled with a lead character that is frustratingly a blank slate for much of the film. Brie Larson is a good actress. (Watch Room if you need any proof.) In this movie, she is so muted in her reactions at certain points and then tries so hard in others to strike the perfect “I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR” poses, it’s hard to take the character as seriously as we should. (For a better female led superhero film, read our review of Wonder Woman.)
Other actors fare better, with Samuel L. Jackson’s turn as a young Nick Fury being a highlight. The action sequences are fine and a few of them are pretty exciting, but none of them reach the heights of some of the other MCU films. The score is good though I can’t remember any major themes. The soundtrack is way too on the nose for its own good. (The worst offender is No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” which plays during one of the climactic scenes.)
If this sounds like I didn’t like the movie, that’s too bad. It was fine. I laughed plenty – some characters were unexpectedly very funny. And the big moment where our protagonist comes into her own is handled well.
If you enjoy the MCU films, you will likely enjoy this one. Your mileage may vary but I imagine you will find something to appreciate. If you are not a fan of the MCU, I have no idea how this film would appeal to you at all.
Captain Marvel is a solid, if unspectacular addition to the MCU.