By Dave B.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest release, a Kree warrior, named Vers (played by Brie Larson), suffering from amnesia discovers that her true origins lie on Earth, leading her to question the reality of the few things that she does remember. Vers immerses herself into a battle of galactic proportions, with the help of old friends and new, in order to protect the innocent and discover not only who she was, but who she is and is meant to be.
As far as superhero origin stories go, Captain Marvel (2019) is entertaining enough, I suppose. The supporting cast (including an amazingly spry 70 year old Samuel L. Jackson) is strong. And the movie is structurally enjoyable and engaging, with its highly effective use of memory manipulation and flashbacks. Plus, it’s effective at intertwining itself into the larger MCU storyline.
But Captain Marvel herself feels oddly lifeless (although I don’t attribute this to Larsen’s performance). It isn’t that Captain Marvel/Vers/Carol Danvers isn’t inspiring. It’s that she’s written with very little depth. A person isn't exclusively what they have overcome. Often, she comes off as more of a symbol than a person and, other than respecting her accomplishments, it’s hard for me to have any emotional connection to the character herself. From a more technical perspective, I can also say that the pacing in Captain Marvel isn’t an example of Marvel’s finest work. I won’t go so far as to say that the movie is boring, but it’s a 125 minute movie that is somewhat uninteresting for one-third to one-half of that time, even though it’s peppered with bits of 90s nostalgia. It doesn’t help matters that most of the action in the film isn’t very impressive either.
In short, Captain Marvel is a decent, but FAR from epic, Marvel movie. My gut tells me that sequels will be better, as it can be difficult to establish tone and character connection in an origin story movie. But for that improvement to come to pass, the writers need to focus more on Danvers as a person and less on her as a hero, in order to come up with an effective blend of the two. I do recommend this movie, but frankly, the titular character reminds me too much of my least favorite superhero, Superman: extremely powerful, very inspiring, but somewhat shallow and unrelatable due to being so powerful and inspiring. People have different tastes and that’s great, but my interest is more in people than in symbols.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.