The Marvellous Carol Danvers — a “Captain Marvel” review

When “Wonder Woman” was released almost two years ago, I was so moved by it that I turned into some crazy salty water dispenser. And then I came back to the cinema, watching Gal Gadot go through the No Man’s Land six more times. I needed more female-led superhero films. Fast-forward to 2019 and “Captain Marvel” has just been released. I marched to the cinema as fast as I could and came out happy that superheroines are still the best. Because, although the latest Marvel flick didn’t make me as emotional as “Wonder Woman”, it was still a good and, more significantly, an important film, finally led by a female Marvel supehero. A supehero who is interesting, charismatic and very promising — so promising, in fact, that you immediately want more films with her.

Uneven pacing

Storywise, “Captain Marvel” is a little unbalanced. The first act and its “cosmic mojo”, instead of setting up the world and grasping the viewer, seem a little too long and even boring at times. The film kicks off a while later, when the main character comes to Earth. Her personal storyline, which involves getting back her old memories, intertwines with a much bigger plot concerning the war between the cosmic races of Kree and Skrulls. There are some plot twists on the way, of course, but these are quite easy to predict: either by looking at specific actors or reaching for your comic book knowledge. It’s still quite entertaining though, and, going into the third act, you get quite big expectations. And the finale partly meets them by being quite epic in scale, but it also seems to be missing something apart from a quick CGI fight.

The whole film is quite a nice trip down the memory lane to the times of sweet, sweet 90s (nostalgy level: over 9000) with a lot of humouristic elements skilfully woven in (an exception rather than a rule for a Marvel films which often hale some balancing problems with the humour). And there’s quite a smart and empowering message that being a woman should not stop you from chasing your dreams and achieveing your goals, with a nice, defining scene for the character which underlines this specific theme.


The director means less than the showrunner

When it comes to directing, this is… just another Marvel film. Not many of them stand out aesthetically (probably except for Gunn and Waititi’s films) and you can see producer Kevin Feige’s name written all over them more than the respective director’s. This is both good and bad. Good because the formula has clearly been working for so long that it would be stupid to change it. Bad because, in case of “Captain Marvel”, it would probably be refreshing to see more of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s sensitivity. Instead, the film watches like just another episode of the TV series we’ve been tuning to for a few years.

Good job, you deserve a catnip

The film is acted quite decently. Brie Larson was rightfully cast as Carol Danvers. She’s both sensitive and cheeky, making it impossible not to like the character and cheering for her. Samuel L. Jackson is of course a name that guarantees good quality. Since the dawn of MCU, his Nick Fury has been rather an amalgamation of his different film incarnations and it’s really fun to see him play with these. Jude Law chews the scenery as if he had forgotten he’s not on the set of Guy Ritchie’s “King Arthur” anymore. And this is quite sweet but, on the other hand, it’s a pity he gets to be a little labelled recently. “De-labelled”, however, was Ben Mendelsohn, who finally has a chance to play someone more than a stereotypical, one-dimensional villain we could see him as after his successful performance on “Bloodline”. I also liked Lashana Lynch as Carol’s friend, Maria Rambeau. She has such good chemistry with Brie Larson that you can’t not ship those two.

But the real stars of the film are not these big celebrities who have become household names. No, these are simply Reggie, Gonzo, Archie and Rizzo, all of whom played Goose — a beautiful, cuddly cat (or is it?). These four are true scene-stealers and you can’t get enough of them. I hope they were rewarded with a big stock of catnip for their job.

Some technicalities

If I were asked what was my biggest problem with “Captain Marvel”, I would probably say it’s the special effects. There’s of course a marvellous technology employed to de-age Samuel L. Jackson, and it is really impressive. It’s a pity, though, that it must have been so costly, that the rest of the visuals were clearly under-financed. It is mostly visible in the final fight, where the camera follows an ugly, plastic-like computer model of Brie Larson.

The score is also “Captain Marvel’s” weak point, but it seems a tradition in Marvel films. Excluding some 90s hits playing in the background, the original pieces composed by Pinar Toprak are unfortunately transparent with no memorable themes whatsoever.

Good fun overall

All in all, I was quite entertained by “Captain Marvel”. I probably won’t see it seven times at the cinema like I did with “Wonder Woman” but one more time would certainly do me no harm.


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