All told, Captain Marvel is a joyful, bright, and competent new entry into the MCU that proves the franchise can still return to its roots in interesting ways. Oh, and Brie Larson's great. He's threatened by Carol's unusual power, but rather than working to better himself he seeks every opportunity to keep Carol down by manipulating her into believing her abilities aren't gifts, but crutches she leans on that make her less legitimate as a Kree warrior. Suffice it to say that Marvel has been tinkering with Captain Marvel's genesis and gender since the 1980s and recently merged the character with the long-running Ms. Marvel, a.k.a. Carol Danvers.
Boden and Fleck were unusual picks to direct "Captain Marvel", considering that most of their previous work has been for very non-cosmic TV series such as "Billions", "The Affair", and "In Treatment".
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But after literal months of online fire and fury (so much of it, in fact, that Rotten Tomatoes altered their policy on user-submitted reviews) the reviews for Captain Marvel are here.
As generic and retrograde as "Black Panther" was specific and revolutionary, "Captain Marvel" is a frustrating disappointment at a time when every inclusive blockbuster is fought over as though it could be the decisive battle in our never-ending culture wars.
The film begins on Hala, the homeward of the noble Kree, a race of aliens that seems to have no real aesthetic uniformity. This is only slightly less believable than the idea of a flying woman with a flaming mohawk who shoots energy blasts from her hands, so just go with it. Though she certainly gives the impression that if she could brute force her own memories into the proper order, she definitely would, which is absolutely delightful. I swore I was watching a repeat of an old "Streets of San Francisco" episode at one point.
Boden and Fleck got their start with a pair of low-budget charmers - Half Nelson (2006), starring Ryan Gosling as a drug-addicted high-school teacher, and the immigrant/baseball drama Sugar (2008). They still haven't figured out how to navigate an ocean liner instead of their usual handcrafted yachts. We have to make sure that we are actually bringing more seats to the table, that we're walking the walk.
The movie's directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden
Elsewhere, Showbiz Junkies' Rebecca Murray praises the film for its humour, and for the onscreen rapport between Brie Larson's titular Captain, and a digitally de-aged Samuel Jackson as a scrappy young Nick Fury.
Yet Empire's Helen O'Hara - one of the few female critics to review the film - still regards it as an "essential. feminist fable" that "delivers in a more satisfying way than nearly any other superhero film of recent years".
The villainous Skrull have an agenda of their own, and they can also shape-shift into a mirror image of anyone they see.
But the "big feminist movie" that star Brie Larson said she pressured the studio to create is already being eclipsed by an even more important Marvel film based on a script that hasn't been written yet about a character who, Esquire reminds us, "doesn't exist (yet)".
In a speech past year, Larson noted that 64 percent of the reviews for Hollywood's 100 top grossing movies in 2017 were written by white men. Which, admittedly, may not be what the hordes are looking for in a superhero movie. "I don't remember ever having a conversation saying, "There will not be a love interest.' There was only a conversation, 'We're telling Carol Danvers" origin story.' And this was her origin story, and her origin story was focused on her growth and the female friends and mentors and inspirations around her". Without making a fuss, it's a movie about regaining oneself and one's values in a universe where the boys are busy fighting.
Fleck said: "Brie is just so human, and she is an fantastic actress".
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