Captain Marvel ★★

Relatively enjoyable for the first hour but then either the charm just totally wore off or it suddenly becomes exhaustingly mediocre. I don't mind that it goes overboard on nonsense exposition that really serves no purpose, or that it's as subtle as a brick to the head, because that obviously comes with the territory. But strangely enough, I really only found myself impressed with the acting and CGI. Everyone puts in really solid work; Larson (the trailers don't do her justice), Jackson, Mendelsohn, and Law work their hardest to elevate the sub-standard Marvel material.

And that's one of the two major problems holding this back from the typical "not really my thing but it's completely fine" territory that most MCU films fall into. The writing is generic at best, lazy and pandering at worst. The plot is on autopilot, the 90s references are cute but often forced, and the characters are paper thin. Even though I also quite disliked Black Panther, at least that felt like it was aiming for some narrative complexity; Captain Marvel telegraphs just about every move it makes and the entire narrative/character arc is mind-numbingly generic and immediately predictable. I found none of it even remotely engaging on an intellectual, emotional, or visual level.

Bringing me to my other major problem: the action. While the CGI is surprisingly strong (another thing I dreaded from the trailers), the direction and editing of the action sequences are abysmal. All shot in close-ups with frantic editing, they're truly incomprehensible from top to bottom. I thought maybe once we leave the dimly lit, foggy environments of the alien planet and get to Earth, I'd be able to actually make out what was happening, but even the well-lit fight scenes are rendered completely incoherent thanks to the rapid-fire editing.

Bottom line: Of course these movies aren't for me and who cares what I think of a movie I wouldn't have even a passing interest in were it not for my incessant desire to stay involved in the cultural moment, but yeah, surprising no one, I didn't like it.

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