Released on International Women’s Day, Captain Marvel has been ineffectually shunned by misogynists who object to the idea that women can be Captain Marvels – a reaction that puts the ‘boy’ in boycott.
Here’s what they’re missing (and I don’t mean emotionally or anatomically) – Brie Larson is fighting green aliens on Halle (presumably a berry planet) before crash landing on Earth, conveniently next to a couple of de-aged agents (Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg) with jumbled memories of who she really is: The Bourne IdentiBrie.
Confused? You will be. A covert origins story, Captain Marvel awkwardly sticks the garbled explanation of who she is in the middle of the film. This makes it difficult to invest in a blank character (truly the female equivalent of Captain America) whose greatness is told rather than shown to us. By being embarrassed to be an origins story, the movie narratively shafts itself.
Speaking of Shaft, Jackson is great value here and gets all the biggest laughs – with the assistance of a lovely cat called Goose. Because nothing says the ’90s like a reference to classic ’80s movie Top Gun. They should have called it Catptain Marvel. Or Nick Furry.
Quick question: do we really need the ’90s nostalgia when they’re in space? Films were once able to be set in the past without heavy-handed nostalgia clogging up every scene. I miss those days…
The script is littered with cheesy-as-Brie dialogue – Jude Law’s character keeps saying he wants her to be “the best version of herself,” which sounds more like a phrase you’d hear watching E! than something 5 screenwriters came up with. That said, credit to them for including the line: “My name… is Carol.”
Captain Marvel is carried by its sense of fun, with Ben Mendelsohn showing his comic chops as an Australien. But the messy structure and flimsy plotting make the stakes feel much lower than they probably are, compounded by the feeling we’ve seen it all beThor in the MCU – right down to the usual black sidekick, but this time she’s a woman. Progress, Disney style.
The end result is an enjoyable escape and lively launchpad for Endgame, but not exactly the best version of itself.