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[Spoiler Warning] Captain Marvel Movie Review! Here's Our Honest Opinion on the MCU's Latest Flagship Film

 (Captain Marvel Trailer via Marvel Entertainment)

Captain Marvel was always going to be something of a lightning rod for drama. As the first female-led superhero movie in the MCU, as the standard-bearer for the new wave of heroes following Avengers: Endgame, as a movie going with potentially risky choices like digitally de-aging actors, and more.

This is the kind of release that produced a lot of rigid opinions well before release. Now that it's here, we noticed that it's kind of difficult to find a clear, concise, and honest take on this movie. There is a mixed response from critics and audiences, but that all exists in the context of an actual, no-joke coordinated campaign against the film.

Those issues are important. But we're going to focus on Captain Marvel simply as the latest in a long line of mostly good to great films that hold the important fan honor of being the first time Hollywood figured out how to get the look and feel of actual Marvel comics translated from the page to the screen.

 

Captain Marvel starts off strong -- literally! While this absolutely is an origin film, co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck opt for introducing Carol Danvers as a fully-powered being in the midst of an intergalactic war. Viewers are thrown right in the middle of a glorious depiction of the Kree-Skrull war that serves as the backdrop to so many classic Marvel stories, and there really couldn't be a better way of making a statement about what Brie Larson's Carol is capable of.

After this raucous introduction, though, things quickly slow down. Carol returns to earth, afflicted with amnesia, and quickly runs into a cavalcade of important MCU characters. With not a little controversy, this includes digitally de-aged versions of Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson and Samuel L. Jackson's iconic Nick Fury.

The effect mostly works. As always with life-like CGI, there's something of an uncanny valley effect to watching these actors, but rarely does it detract from the great performances Gregg and Jackson always bring.

Still, this early chunk of the film is relatively slow paced. The writing lacks the snappiness that carried low-key scenes in previous Marvel movies like Guardians of the Galaxy towards being some of the most memorable and fun, even in the context of a movie that contains massive galaxy-scale space battles.

In Captain Marvel, a bit to much is shouldered on the 90's period piece setting. While the direction and set design for the era is about as perfect as can be, it's hard not to notice that the comic relief leans on this aspect of the film rather than, say, the dozens of great character moments of a Thor: Ragnarok.

 

None of these complaints truly undermine Captain Marvel. Simply put, the movie is very good without reaching the heights of the best MCU Phase Three films. Undoubtedly, this is partially due to the amount of MCU meta-storytelling that Captain Marvel has to bear the weight of. 

Unlike Ant-Man or Black Panther, the plot of Captain Marvel is weighed down by how it serves as an intermediary between the previous generation of MCU movies and the upcoming post-Endgame state of the universe. On top of that, this is the first solo MCU film to truly bridge the gap between cosmic goings-on and the earthbound Avengers and SHIELD side of the universe.

Frankly, it has too many responsibilities to have ever had a chance at giving us a tale more like the one that introduced T'Challa to movie audiences.

Some of these story beats feel a bit forced, such as the way Nick Fury losing his eye is revealed. And the sheer density of this type of content leaves less room for the signature weirdness of cosmic Marvel. Goose, Carol's scene-stealing cat that happens to be much more than meets the eye, is a hint towards how fun and loose a sequel to Captain Marvel might be if it didn't have so many storytelling burdens to carry at once.

 

In the end, Captain Marvel is an enjoyable entry that sets up some important details that flesh out the nature of the MCU, and a new charismatic hero to go with it all. What it misses is being a big statement the way Wonder Woman was for the DC films.

We don't draw this comparison due to the gender of the protagonists. Rather, Wonder Woman was the DC movie that communicated to audiences, "it doesn't matter what you thought about our previous movies, because this one is a totally different experience." And that gave them full license to go wild with subsequent releases like Aquaman and the upcoming Shazam.

Captain Marvel is not Wonder Woman in that sense. This movie is more of what we already had, if not just a notch below the most beloved MCU entries. This movie is a bridge between the Marvel that was, and the Marvel that will be, with very few hints on what the next step looks like. We enjoyed this first journey with Carol Danvers, and we're even more excited by the possibilities of where she goes next.

Do you agree with our thoughts? We'd love to hear your feedback. Be sure to leave a comment below. 


Russell Crooms

Russell Crooms is the founder and CEO of Animated Apparel Company. Russell has always had a vivid imagination, and has always looked for outlets to explore, create and express himself. Cartoons, comic books, video games, and movies were always a fun avenue that helped him think of new ideas while offering an escape from his daily routine. Growing up, he loved to read our watch the latest series, and he spent much of his free time drawing these characters and working on his own cartoon and comic book series. Feel free to follow Russell on Social Media using any of the methods below.

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