The All-Powerful Superhero Swings For The Fences and Misses

Captain Marvel
CC: Marvel

Unpopular opinion: Marvel has been in a slump. Aside from Avengers: Infinity War and the great Black Panther, it seems that Marvel has been rather safe with their films. With the letdown that was Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2 and the redundant Antman & The Wasp, I felt that Marvel owed us one.

But with the start of 2019 we finally have something new and fresh to the historic film universe, Captain Marvel. After being teased to show up at the end of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, our anticipation has come to the end to meet Brie Larson as Carol Danvers.

As the 21st movie in its Marvel Cinematic Universe (yes you read that right), the expectations are sky high for the studio to deliver. As the character has yet to be shown in any iteration on the big screen, the pressure was on for Marvel and the producers to deliver. For all of Marvel Studios’ groundbreaking work, Captain Marvel marks the first time a female superhero has headlined her own movie (the first female hero to be featured in an MCU movie title was Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp in last year’s Ant-Man and the Wasp).

Not only does the film contain the first female headliner, but Captain Marvel is also the first MCU film to be co-directed by a woman, with the team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck helming the introduction of one of Marvel Comics’ most beloved heroes.

Both the actress and the two directors are newcomers to this magnitude of moviemaking, presenting a daunting task and an identifiable risk by marvel executives.

The lead actress and filmmakers are bolstered by a cast of charismatic actors – Annette Bening (in a dual role), Samuel L. Jackson (as Nick Fury, armed with groundbreaking digitally de-ageing technology), and Jude Law (as Yon-Rogg, the mentor of our protagonist), and Ben Mendelsohn as the head skrull, relishing the opportunity of having such a diverse role. But if we’re being honest, the best cast member is Goose The Cat. Trust me.

There’s a lot to enjoy in Captain Marvel, with some great hand to hand combat action scenes, great performances across the board from the supporting cast and some few laughs, but I would be remiss to look past its many flaws.

For a lack of better terms, Captain Marvel feels like just another superhero movie and feels formulaic and bland in spots where it should steal the show. Outside of brief moments, the action is filmed with a sense of dullness rather urgency, and the film’s attempt at garnering an emotional attachment feels ingenuine. Rather than standing alone as a unique and heartwarming film, the debut of the strongest hero in the MCU feels robotic, flat and features another underwhelming villain.

Read More: Marvel Eyeing Gay Superhero In Near Future

Sure the directing was lackluster, but how was Brie Larson?

She’s fine. Larson excels in brief stints when the film allows for her to showcase her physicality and personality of the overpowered superhero but for large extents of the film she gets lost in transition beside the always-entertaining Nick Fury(Samuel L. Jackson) and her female accomplice Maria Rambeau(Lashana Lynch), who carries the heart of the film. Although her performance was mediocre, an actress as talented as Brie Larson is more than capable of growing into the role.

Captain Marvel is filled with what-ifs, missing on golden opportunities to help it join the pantheon of great superhero movies. The film had all the ingredients to be successful- an uber talented cast, an endless budget and worldwide hype, but the tendency of playing it safe leaves the audience deflated.

Grade:C

Ananth Para
paramana@mcmaster.ca

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