Grant Paulsen’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is a very controversial Marvel film. Which seems to be a running trend with Disney films recently. The hype around this film seems to be very mixed, some want it to succeed and some want it to fail, and both sides seem to have these viewpoints due to various political reasons. There seems to be a lot of agendas involved. I do not have any stake in either side because I do not care about this kind of thing when it comes to film. I don’t think it’s fair to judge films from that perspective in a positive or negative way. In the same sense that I don’t think it’s fair to judge a film from a positive or negative perspective based on whether or not you like the actors involved. I don’t care if films succeed or fail financially. Film is an art form to me and I just want to see films that are well-made by people who have a lot of passion for their craft.
To start with things I liked, there’s some spurts of entertainment that come from this film. Some fun action scenes, the chemistry between Brie Larson and Samuel Jackson was very on point. The de-aging effects for Samuel Jackson and Clark Gregg were surprisingly great. The first act overall was relatively enjoyable, especially the opening action scene. The music/score was pretty good. And the cat was a fun addition. But overall the film was very bland and disappointing.
Honestly, I was hoping for better. To me a superhero movie needs to have an interesting story, well developed characters, and it needs to grab me and make me care about what’s going on. This applies to film in general. One of the saddest things about this film that I was genuinely hoping I wouldn’t have to say is that I don’t think Brie Larson did a good job in this film. Brie Larson is an incredibly talented actress so I don’t necessarily think she’s to blame for that, it might have just been the poor material she was given to work with. As the film progresses she gets increasingly more stoic, and the film never showcases any emotion or vulnerability towards the character for some reason. And her character is given almost all backstory with too much exposition and very little depth. And at the same time there isn’t enough given to make you care about her or any of the characters. Overall I don’t think she fit the character, the performance was very wooden and uneven. Which is sad to say because you can tell how much passion she’s giving towards this character.
The narrative is so scattered that she kind of gets lost in the shuffle & they forget to develop her character. Which was disappointing for me. The storytelling was very messy. This film is trying to be an origin story, a connecting piece to the past as well as to what’s going on now, and a set up film for what’s to come later. So the film kind of collapsed in on itself because it’s trying to do too many things at once.
This honestly felt like Phase 1, which is not a good thing. That’s not to say that Iron Man and The Avengers weren’t good, it’s just that this film feels a lot like the early Marvel films in the sense that it felt like they were still in an experimental phase. They were still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work about their films. They’ve passed that point and they know what works by now so this film as well as all the other new ones should be progressive steps forward, and this film was definitely a gigantic step backwards.
They also don’t do a good job making this character feel important or relevant to what’s currently going on in the MCU. We’re told she’s the most powerful character in the MCU, but they never show us that or make us feel that way. The film is a lot of telling rather than showing. Needless to say the writing and directing were pretty lackluster. Also the action other than the opening was not very good or memorable at all.
The Skrulls were fun villains, and relatively unique compared to other Marvel villains, but they weren’t really given any character.
There was a lot of fun 90s references but I think the film relies on this as a crutch way too much. Which caused the tone to be very disjointed. They have 90s nostalgia for a little bit, then it feels like a buddy cop film with Nick Fury, and then it’s a story about the friendship between her and Lashana Lynch’s character. And there’s no effort given to make the audience feel emotionally invested in any of these stories. And since it’s always jumping back and forth between these contrasting tones, and that made the film uneven as a result.
There are some needless explanations for things that happen in the MCU and when they happened it felt corny and forced.
The film was a fun time but this is the 21st Marvel Cinematic Universe film, so at this point generic fun action films are old and tired. And since there have been dozens of Marvel films at this point they need to live up to a higher standard. So in order for me to like their films at this point they have to do something more than just making a fun movie. I can’t believe I’m saying this but DC did it better. Wonder Woman had charm, charisma, and character development. And I Captain Marvel definitely fell flat in this regard. Again, there are moments of potential here, but they are hiding under the bland cliched Marvel formula. It’s a very generic film that we’ve seen many times before not just when it comes to superhero movies, and I was hoping for more than that. 2/10.
Please see the film though and make up your own opinion on it. Don’t listen to what others say, don’t give in to online agendas no matter what side they’re on. Just go see the film, make up your own mind, and when you do be honest about it, because that’s how we get better films, by letting the filmmakers know what works and what doesn’t work about their films.
But at the end of the day the fact that this film didn’t live up to its potential doesn’t matter, and I’m still very excited because...
“We’re in the Endgame now.”