Ewan Gleadow

A Second Opinion: Captain Marvel

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It’s a poorly held secret that I’ve had superhero movie fatigue for some time now.

But, time and time again, I’m grudgingly accepting of the fact that I’ll have to sit through yet another big budget snooze-fest like Captain Marvel, a film so tonally similar to the now stupidly twenty-one strong cinematic universe that it’s difficult to see much merit in what little it has to offer. 

The main selling point of course was seeing Brie Larson in the leading role. Her performances in Room and Free Fire were enjoyable, but in Captain Marvel she brings nothing fresh to the table and is forgettable at the best of times.  Though she still manages to cement her place within the MCU, even Paul Rudd has managed this as Antman, so it’s perhaps not too big an accomplishment.

The bottom line is this: once the casting is confirmed and the trailer drops, the leading role is a sure fire hit for anyone involved; you could’ve stuck Melissa McCarthy in the Captain Marvel suit and the promo photos would’ve convinced people it was a solid enough choice. 

With such a strong cast, it’s a real surprise to see the movie suffer so much. Ben Mendelsohn, Samuel L Jackson and Annette Bening provide nothing of interest; perhaps the biggest surprise of all is they don’t gel well with one another, especially Jackson and Larson, who can’t seem to connect in-between the formulaic approach of joke/action/story/joke, ad infinitum.

It’s this structure and the writing that are the biggest problems of all. 

Seeing Samuel L Jackson in such a prominent role is nice, he’s not had this much screen time in a very long while. It’s a shame then that he’s given pretty much nothing to do for all of two hours, bumbling his way through every scene he’s in. Is age factoring in on his performances? Not necessarily, it just seems that Marvel are set on giving him scenes where he needs to run, jump and everything in between. He’s still a phenomenal on-screen presence, it’s just a shame to see him wasted. 

It’s not as if these few set pieces are interesting though, many of which serve merely as a backdrop to the big mystery of the movie. It’s not so much a mystery though, but I’ll not spoil it for the sake of being friendly to those few that have yet to see the movie. For every instance this movie pushes itself forwards, we’re yanked straight back with a couple of flashback sequences. This is where the story collapses: an origin story with flashbacks, how very unique, Marvel. 

What became noticeable at the end of the movie is this is just Iron Man. 

It’s yet another flimsy origin story that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t really do much but fluff up a character that will feature in a later movie. Of course, that’s Marvel’s forte: numerous dull origin stories that somehow receive praise for being unique, yet hit the same notes each and every time, regardless of the product presented. My criticisms with Captain Marvel are almost identical to those I have for Thor: The Dark WorldIron Man and The Incredible Hulk. They’re all very boring. 

Captain Marvel is crushingly disappointing, with forgettable writing, poor performances and, above all, it does nothing to stand out from its contemporaries apart from provide miserable and dreary fanfare to the masses. I suppose it’s best to play it safe if it can make you billions, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s not superhero fatigue that’s the problem: I thoroughly enjoyed Logan and I watched that at a time when I never wanted to see another set of tight spandex super suits ever again.  Perhaps it’s simply that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has run its course.