Family Review: CAPTAIN MARVEL is Thrilling But Lacks Depth

captain marvel

By Trina Boice

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?  

Captain Marvel is meant as a prequel to The Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is the 21st film in the franchise.  It’s not exactly an origin story, as Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) begins the movie already possessing powers.  It does, however, show us how the idea for the Avengers began.

If you’ve never seen a superhero film before, this probably won’t be the one to convert you to comic books. While it features female empowerment, a popular movie theme these days, it lacks some of the formulaic magic that has allowed so many films in the MCU to garner raving fans.

There is a wonderful visual tribute to Stan Lee at the very beginning of the movie.  There’s also a “live” cameo of him, the second-to-last one he filmed before he died. There is supposed to be another one in Avengers: Endgame, which hits the Big Screen in April.  Thank you, Stan, for giving us so many years of Marvel magic.  We miss you.

IS IT ANY GOOD?   B-

Visually, it doesn’t have a specific voice like many of the other MCU films have. In that regard, it’s almost bland.  The standout is the de-aging CGI work done on Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg. They look amazing.

Academy Award-winner Brie Larson is capable as Captain Marvel.  She spent nine months training for the fight scenes by learning Judo, boxing, and wrestling. While she is talented, her performance seemed a bit uneven.  Maybe that was because of poor direction? She just doesn’t make us fall in love with her. One of the biggest issues is that we don’t see her really struggle emotionally and be vulnerable, like all of the other superheroes out there.  They all have a weakness. Even Superman has his Kryptonite. She starts the film with power and just keeps growing in power. There is never a moment when she is weak or hopeless or has to conquer her fears. She just flies around, blows things up, and tries to solve a mystery.  That’s not exactly inspiring. Most moviegoers want their heroes to be amazing, yet also relatable.

Some of the transitions were clunky and the many flashback sequences could be difficult for people to follow. The timeline wasn’t handled well and the flip-flop of characters being good or evil was kind of annoying.

The good news is that there is some entertaining dialogue and banter. The soundtrack was effective by Pinar Toprak, the first woman to write a musical score for an MCU movie.  You certainly don’t have to wait long before the next action scene begins. There are plenty of them, sometimes on land, on other planets, and in space.

Goose the cat is going to be a hit.  Let the memes begin. It was named after Goose Bradshaw in the movie Top Gun. Brie Larson is actually allergic to cats, so they used a puppet or CGI for the cat when she was in a scene with Goose, who was actually  played by four different cats. Goose may not be as popular as Frank the pug in Men In Black, but he’s a lot of fun.

Australian Ben Mendelsohn was great as Talos and Keller and Lashana Lynch’s character (Maria Rambeau) provides the much-needed heart for the movie.  There were some fun 1990’s references and even the website for the movie shows a 1990’s look.

Hopefully, the MCU will learn from the mistakes of this film so that Black Widow can have a really great one, which is coming soon.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1462112188/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=yfe-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1462112188&linkId=8c13db34f144e53a1e1eb3b370b74cf8

IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?    (PG-13)

  • Some profanity (no f-words)

  • Kids might be confused by the timeline and back-and-forth story.

  • Lots of fighting and destruction.

  • The good news is that the villains aren’t super scary looking.

  • This is another female self-empowerment film that your daughters will like.  It was appropriately released on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2019). Anna Boden is the first woman to direct a Marvel film.   

ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?       

  • What it means to be human.  We all struggle here on earth and try to discover who we are and where we came from.

  • We have more power than we even realize.

  • Be the best version of yourself.

  • Good vs. evil.

  • Free will.

If you like sci-fi movies about strong women, make sure to watch Serenity, from Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon. Rent or buy it here.

Trina Boice is an author of 23 books and teaches online for BYU-Idaho in the Pathway program.  She received the Young Mother of the Year honor in 2004, an award that completely amuses her 4 sons. She’s a popular international speaker in China and writes movie reviews at www.MovieReviewMom.com. You can find her books on Amazon, and at www.TrinasBooks.com

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