CAPTAIN MARVEL Review: The Cast Shines In Carol Danvers' Fun, But Largely Uninspired Origin Story

CAPTAIN MARVEL Review: The Cast Shines In Carol Danvers' Fun, But Largely Uninspired Origin Story

As Marvel Studios' first female-led movie and a prelude to Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel comes with some fairly lofty expectations. Does Carol Danvers' first big-screen outing live up to them?

Marvel fans have been waiting a long time for the studio's first female-led solo film, and it finally arrives this weekend in the form of Captain Marvel. The good news? This is by no means the disaster some feared (hoped?) it would be and is actually quite a bit better than a lot of critics are giving it credit for. But, nor is it the epic, thrill-inducing adventure many were anticipating, and ultimately it fails to measure up to The MCU's strongest entries.

To point out that Marvel Studios projects tend to follow a certain formula would simply be redundant at this stage, but over the years we have seen a few at least attempt to try something a bit different - and the ones that came closest to succeeding did so thanks to a strong script and a director determined to put their own unique spin on the proceedings.

Unfortunately, Captain Marvel has neither.

That's not to say that the screenplay by Nicole Perlman and Meg LeFauve - who were teamed together after each submitting separate takes on the character - is bad, necessarily. There are some terrific elements and the story works best when it's focusing on the characters, but that falls by the wayside once the movie ties itself up in knots towards the final act. To elaborate further would mean major spoilers, but let's just say general audiences and non comic book fans might be a bit lost, while hardened MCU veterans are sure to notice at least one glaring plot hole.

Meanwhile, if co-directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden attempted to bring any of their indie sensibilities and creativity to the movie, it doesn't show.

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The cast, however, is a major saving grace here. Brie Larson is a force to be reckoned with as Carol Danvers, and even when the dialogue isn't doing her any favors, her formidable screen presence and overall likability in the role more than make up for it. Among the best scenes in the film are the quieter moments she shares Lashana Lynch's Maria Rambeau, who really could have used more screen-time.

Samuel L. Jackson as a younger Nick Fury, Jude Law as Yon-Rogg and Annette Bening as The Supreme Intelligence all offer fine support, but Ben Mendelsohn threatens to steal the entire movie as the Skrull General Talos. Oh, and yes, Goose the cat is as awesome as you've heard, providing some of the biggest laughs.

Much of the humor lands, in fact, but there are also a few gags that miss the mark completely. This has also become a staple of The MCU, but at some point you just wish the writers would ease up a bit and stop attempting to wring comedy out of each and every situation - especially when the scenes in question would clearly work just fine/better without it. The same goes for some of the music. A climactic fight scene is set to a song so on-the-nose and out of place that you'll be too busy cringing to follow the action.

Captain Marvel definitely has some problems, but it just about manages to rise above them and emerges as an entertaining superhero flick with a few laughs, exciting action sequences and a terrific cast. Is that enough? It'll depend completely on whether you feel the weight of expectations placed on it are warranted.
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