Captain Marvel: Film Review

The Review:


There is a key, universal, direction to writers of any media and it is this: SHOW don’t TELL.

This movie is a crap-ton of telling.

It starts out awesome.  The story kicks along nicely, and although the chemistry between Brie Larson and Jude Law seems acidic, or rather like two magnets of opposite poles, you expect it, given the conflicts in the earliest parts of the film.  It starts out with lots of showing, but it’s an action movie, right? So I start to feel optimistic.  Then I realize something…  Why was none of this in the trailers?  WTF?  They had all this to work with and they chose those boring ass scenes to use for the trailers?  More on that later in the review.


After seeing her in Scott Pilgrim, I can’t blame Brie Larson for bad acting.  She was lots of fun in that action movie and it has to be easier to play a bitchy villain than a wholesome hero, right?  I can’t blame her for the poor/mediocre reviews of Captain Marvel.  She’s an actress.  She relies on a script and a director.  Her acting was fine. Though she had no alchemy with any of the rest of the cast–ZERO–that’s not her fault.  She’s proven she can do action and drama.  That indicates there’s bad direction, crappy writing or bad casting.

The apex, realization points for Carol Danvers fall flat, but I think, with a really good edit job, someone could pull it all together.  All of her falling down could really make you feel connected to her because she kept getting back up, but it doesn’t show her getting back up until the end.  The point of her story is that she DID get back up, and that’s why she was in the right place at the right time, but they squandered that fact by TELLING us instead of SHOWING us.

The best actors were all aliens.  That wouldn’t normally be a problem, but most of this movie happens on Earth, and all the Earth scenes were sub-par.  Yes. Even Blockbuster.

I have to agree with most critics.  The movie was okay, but it’s not something I’m going to buy when it comes out on DVD.  If you compare Captain Marvel to other alien led Marvel movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, it is a heaping pile of Bantha Poodoo.  If you compare it to other solo outings like Thor’s 2nd movie, it’s okay and comparably disappointing.

My husband didn’t like it.  I was afraid he was going to fall asleep.  He didn’t like the overpowered nature of the character and thought there was no chemistry between anyone but the villain and Nick Fury.

I hope that Captain Marvel will do well in the next movie, but putting her up in a mid credits clip against Scarlet Johanson was the stupidest thing I have ever seen in decision making.  Scarlet Johansons strong, decisive alto voice made Brie Larson sound like a haggard housewife greeting her husband in less than 30 seconds.

I don’t know if I should recommend it or not, honestly.  The more I think about it, the more upset I get about how Marvel handled this.  I think they just struck a blow against themselves.  I’m not going to be buying this when it comes out on DVD/digital download.


The Marketing Campaign:

The way they marketed this film has me scratching my head.  There was SO much to work with as a trailer.  They don’t usually undersell a Marvel film in this way. It wasn’t as serious as the films trailers lead you to believe, which just shocks the audience all the more when they see it.  And I guess I’m probably the only person who thinks the addition of the cat was stupid, unnecessary and a plot device that added nothing except the ability to sell plush toys.  So… why?

The trailer shows Nick Fury saying “I know a rogue soldier when I see one,” which ends up being untrue, confusing, and convoluted, making other points in the movie, where she shows affinity for the Air Force, fall flat.

Marvel sabotaged this film– There is PLENTY of cool action, witty remarks, smirks, laughs and quirky moments that could have been in the trailer to entice Marvel fans who love all of the above.  Why they took the trailers on such a hard, serious tone when it definitively tries to be the same quirky, fun action movie that most Marvel films are, I do NOT understand.  I can only assume it was because they knew–they could see–that the chemistry was not up to standard.

I expected to be disappointed, because I expected a seriously dark-toned film. I was still disappointed, but in a completely different way.  I think Brie Larson will do well as Captain Marvel with another director and better writers.

About feminism:

The complaints are that this was a feminist story.  I know they tried to market it as such, but this is not a feminist story.  A feminist story would be like my story as a teen playing Little League.  When I got knocked down, I got back up and tried again.  They never show her trying again, and that was a HUGE mistake.

It took 3 years of me catching balls as hard as the guys could throw them at me for me to be accepted as a first baseman.  It wasn’t until they complained that I wasn’t playing first base and the other guy wasn’t as good that I knew I had done it.  I had achieved “equality.”  That never happens in the movie.  She never proves to anyone she’s sparring with, in the Air Force, in Little League, in her Star Force, that she is a worthy team player.  She never proves she’s their equal and she definitely doesn’t prove she’s better than them.  Feminism is not creating an unbeatable woman.  I don’t understand why they, movie writers/developers, keep doing that.  That’s not what Wonder Woman was. It’s not what Ripley from Aliens was.

Just take a look at real life.  There are REAL stories about women who achieve and their stories are NOT like this.  Venus Williams had HUNDREDS of defeats before she started winning.  That’s what made her a champion.  Learning, trying harder, thinking smarter. But you can’t blame any of this on Brie Larson.  This is just downright stupid, lazy writing.  There are good real examples and fictional examples, but they decided to go with the one that doesn’t even work in fan fiction and have been ridiculed since their inception (ie Mary Sue).

I LOVE good feminist action movies like Aliens, Underworld, Ultraviolet, and especially Wonder Woman.  I knew with the hype this movie would be disappointing, but I had hoped at least the strong woman aspect wouldn’t be part of that disappointment.  Marvel has been the heart of my favorite female superheros: Rogue, Dazzler, Shadowcat, Storm and Phoenix (Rachel Summers) and I’m angry at them for not only NOT leading the way with a female action hero when they had so many to choose from, but HYPING this movie up as if it were the FIRST EVER, and it’s not.

The Comic:

Captain Marvel is not liked in the comics, not even by other characters, because she is unapproachable, overpowered and boring.  I was hoping for a reboot that didn’t include all three characteristics.  I’m hoping that with better writers, Marvel films can make her more interesting and less aloof.  


There were serious problems with the story, and you can’t blame that on the actors.  It was impossible to believe half of the story lines that were going on.  Losing your memory for 6 years and never figuring out that your sleeping with the enemy, not even getting vibes or some sense things were off?  That doesn’t track.

Unbelievable story lines:  would you take someone you just met with a weaponized body into a high security clearance area, believing she was an alien? Would you trust aliens when yesterday, you didn’t know they existed?  How could you get to Earth from another galaxy WITHOUT a light speed engine?  Why would you be searching for a light speed engine if you got to Earth without one? Would you believe anyone after you’d been successfully brain washed for six years? Would you believe Nick Fury is a cat person and that this alien cat had been wandering around for six years in a top secret facility for absolutely no reason but to swallow the tesserac?

How they could have fixed the movie (or how they CAN fix the next movie) :

With a good edit, they could show Carol as a young person, getting back up and doing it again, despite all the negative feedback she got.  In fact, they could have shown her doing it over and over (like Mulan climbing the pole to retrieve the arrow/apple), until she uses her head, outsmarts the system (like Captain Kirk), figures out her own way and succeeds. That would have connected me to her.  Me,as a woman who played little league baseball with all boys who definitely hazed me, threw the ball as hard as they could (and sometimes it really hurt). I played hard and didn’t cry (because there’s no crying in baseball, remember).  It took hundreds of hours of ground balls hit at me to be as good at fielding as I was, and getting hit in the face and the leg and the arms.  Times I hated my father for hitting the ground balls at me grew into being thankful for it all because I ended up on the all star team.

But the writers didn’t ever show Carol getting back up and doing it again. That was the entire problem with the movie.  What did she overcome?  Why do we even care about her easy victory?