Character development lacking in ‘Captain Marvel’
Nostalgia abuse continues in Marvel's "Captain Marvel." It's 1995 and Vers (Brie Larson) falls through the roof of a Blockbuster Video store. Neophile S.H.I.E.L.D. rookies, Agents Fury (the actual Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Coulson (the actual Clark Gregg) appear on the scene to determine if she's friend or foe. Turns out she's an Earthling with amnesia who now lives on the planet Hala as a soldier with superpowers that she absorbed from the Tesseract (all powerful planet-making cube, for those who don't know). She's chasing a squadron of enemy aliens, the Skrull, who want to steal a technology to take over the world(s), as usual. A mission goes wrong and Vers is taken as a POW. Using a subconscious probe, the Skrull uncover her past life as Air Force pilot, Captain Carol "Avenger" Danvers.
Saturated with ‘90s colloquialuams, music, dress and an overestimated affinity for the movie, "Top Gun,” "Captain Marvel" tells its story akin to a Marvel TV series rather than a Blockbuster film. If you're a fan of Marvel TV, you'll be thrilled. For hard core fans, you'll recognize this for what it is – a tawdry filler episode in the MultiTales which hopes to capitalize on women's interests and the ‘90s to sell tickets. With the "Avengers" on hiatus as half of the world's heroes are indisposed, "Captain Marvel" hopes to hold our interest while we wait for the finale in "Avengers: End Game.”
This is Marvel's first girl power flick. Danvers has fallen a thousand times: Go-kart racing as a kid, on the beach as a kid, at softball as a teen, in basic training as a recruit and in a plane crash as a United States Air Force pilot. She gets knocked down but she gets up again like any bad ass woman. The musical score features songs by women, the Director, Anna Boden, is the first woman to direct one of 21 Marvel films, the writers are mostly women and it was released on International Women's Day. Oscar-winner, Larson, was complex and nuanced in "Room" but falls into a rather cardboard, girl-next-door-with-stuff-to-prove clone as Captain Marvel. The character lacks depth, interest and personality but is a fitting foray for Marvel's only standalone female hero to enter "Endgame." Audiences will want to see more of her for the sake of what her character means for women and young girls.
Comedic timing is well played through the film. There is a cat ... that isn't a cat and the jokes and quips are realistic and giggle-worthy, particularly when delivered by Ben Mendelsohn as Thalos. The only element that falls flat is character development. Larson and Jackson share a warmth and affection that was probably formed during their three previous films as co-stars but interactions with other characters are stale. Ultimately, Larson is bland and boring to watch. Jude Law and Djimon Honsou are formidable actors who seem to be enjoying their less meaty roles. They're having fun and getting paid well to do it, but they are hero-villains with zero evil energy.
CGI is always impressive for any Marvel film but what stands out in this film is the youth enhancement technique that is seamlessly used to bring Jackson and Coulson to their early 30s.
To address some confusion (read: outrage) for folks who read comics in the ‘60s through ‘80s, you may recall that a few females assumed the Captain Marvel moniker and that Carol Danvers was Ms. Marvel. It wasn't until 2012, that Carol is bestowed with the Captain Marvel title just in time to add her branding to Marvel's commercialized conglomerate of its cinematic Marvelverse. There are zillions of Easter Eggs to keep comic aficionados elated and in deep discussions on how Marvel, Thanos and the Ends of Time/Darkforce Dimension will play out in the anticipated "Avengers: End Game.”
Marvel TV Fans: 4 out of 5 Tessaracts
Marvel Hard Core Fans: 3 out of 5 Quinjets
Action Fans: 4 out of 5 Photon Blasts