Captain Marvel ★★½

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are the credited co-directors here, not that anyone could actually tell. This is a supremely anonymous movie, which has one idea (toxic men try to keep women down to prop themselves up) but doesn't even get there until the last 30 minutes. What comes before is a mixed-to-negative bag, filled with ideas that seem culled from a variety of first drafts. It's a "'90s movie," but one that only read the Wikipedia page for the '90s; it's a space movie, but one that saw "Guardians of the Galaxy" on a plane once; it's a buddy cop movie with Samuel L. Jackson, but it feels more like "Amos and Andrew" than "Pulp Fiction." The action is bland and unintelligible, the script is often actively poor, and for a Marvel movie, it all feels really small. (The ending takes place in a desert, there are hardly any extras in the entire movie or sense of a larger world.) And yet: parts of "Captain Marvel" work despite itself, including Brie Larson's performance, which is just yearning for a better movie. Based on just the trailer for "Avengers: Endgame," she'll likely get it in April. Alas.