As much as I love Marvel movies, their single-character movies can feel a little dull and uninteresting in comparison to the big tentpoles. Sure, seeing Nick Fury with two eyes and hair in the 90s was something to look forward to, but without a prior connection to Captain Marvel herself, it was hard for me to get uncomfortably overhyped.
And in some ways Captain Marvel is a victim of Marvel's single-character movies. We've come so far into the franchise now that going back to see the origin of yet another hero and howwhy they're relevant just doesn't seem as enthralling any more. That said, Marvel's molasses of average movies is still pretty damn high, especially when compared to other blockbusters and franchises around at the moment, and Captain Marvel is also no exception there. There's very little to hate.
Vers is a Kree warrior with the unusual ability to shoot photon blasts from her fists. She's wrapped up in the SkrullKree war (the Skrulls being a race of shapeshifters), but is haunted of dreams of another life. While by the strictest definition, Captain Marvel is not an origin story, it still kind of is. While she has her powers from the movie's opening, it's still about her discovering who she is and what she's really capable of. Instead of starting at the beginning of her journey, her origin is instead told in flashbacks that are slowly revealed, expanded upon, and explained as the movie goes on. It's a good way of establishing her origin, and crafting a story around it, while also tying it into her character development as the movie goes along. It creates twists and turns that you don't see coming, re-ordering the general structure of a typical origin story. And I like anything that's different and changes things up, so thumbs up there.
Unfortunately Captain Marvel herself is outshone by almost every other character in the movie. Yes, her determination and quest for answers are charming and carry the entire movie, but it's characters like a younger, more cheerful Nick Fury and an endearingly comical Talos who are responsible for making the movie as captivating to watch as it is. Samuel L Jackson is clearly having a lot of fun here, and like every one of his roles, he gives it his all, including being able to act like a guy in his forties instead of his seventies. The phenomenal make-up and CG to make him look younger were only one ingredient in how convincingly younger he appeared. Ben Mendelsohn honestly kind of steals the show as the Skrull leader, managing to carefully toe the line between menacing and goofy. They lean in to how potentially silly green, pointy-eared aliens who can shapeshift are, and use that to poke fun, while also not diminishing how deadly their abilities can be. Mendelsohn shows once again how capable an actor he really is.
Talking of the humour, this is the freshest it's been in a while. Not once did it undercut more dramatic moments, feel forced in, or just be too much for its own good. Brie Larson's comedy bone comes out full force, and while she doesn't quite manage to encapsulate the jokiness of Tony Stark, she's pretty close. Another movie or two and she'll ease right into it. Another big source of comedy is the interactions between humans and aliens, and their worlds and cultures colliding. Goose the Flerken is a big example of this; adorable kitty cat? Or dangerous and unpredictable monster? Both outcomes are hilarious.
Marvel has never been particularly great with their music, and Captain Marvel attempts to eschew that in the same way Guardians did, but without the same panazz. We get a whole album's worth of female-led 90's classics, from No Doubt and Garbage to TLC and Salt-N-Pepa. They do give the film's it own sonic identity and harkens back to the era, however some of the uses, particularly in the third act, feel misplaced. Come As You Are by Nirvana is used at one point, and lyrically it fits quite well with what's going on, but musically it comes out of nowhere and doesn't match the tone of the surrounding scenes whatsoever. Just A Girl by No Doubt is also a far cry from action scene music, and yet there it is bursting in over the top of a critical sequence of Captain Marvel kicking names and taking ass.
Captain Marvel is by no means a bad movie. As a blockbuster goes it's one of the best you can get, but as a Marvel movie - thanks to the high quality across the board - it falls somewhere in the middle. It's nowhere near as good as Infinity War, Guardians, Winter Soldier, or Civil War, but it's also nowhere near as bad as Thor 2 or Iron Man 3. As far as female-lead superhero movies, I'd say Captain Marvel absolutely beats out Wonder Woman. I give it a flawed 810.
P.S. I still think Danver's Ms. Marvel costume had the far superior colour scheme, and I wish they'd kept it. Black and gold with a red sash is unique in the superhero sphere. Instead they doubled down on her mediocrity by making her red and blue just like everyone else. The leotard and prostitute boots were too much, I agree, but that colour scheme (and the sash) was just too good to completely abandon. They even cycle through the black and gold scheme on her Kree uniform and it looks SO GOOD.
Review by PyroSikTh from the Internet Movie Database.