Captain Marvel ★★½

Passion is everything. It's what separates a good film from a bad one. From a creator who's doing what he/she loves from a creator who's fulfilling a gap in the marketplace. Guardians of the Galaxy has it. Infinity War has it. Black Panther has it. Spiderman: Homecoming thrives on it.

Captain Marvel is almost completely devoid of it. There's no style, no edge, no sense of identity on any visual, cinematic, or thematic level. It's inoffensive, straightforward, and formulaic to a spreadsheet. It made me realise how lucky we are to have Black Panther and Thor: Ragnorak and The Winter Solider, because those films have a very specific sense of style, an essence that they push to the extreme. Here, we get a rambling first act, a character that *literally* has her character arc explained to her by gif flashbacks, and fight scenes that are borderline incoherent.

Other reviewers here have touched on this, but I was also thrown by how much this film buys into the by the numbers, capitalism film-making where the "woke" factors is concerned. Women should do whatever they want to do. They have nothing to prove to men. Our world always has, and continues to, degrades, demean, and punish women. All of these things are true and are absolutely valid subjects of discussion in film-making.

Captain Marvel isn't a character. She's a dot-point summary of all these issues. Packaged in neat, consumable hashtag forms to be tweeted about and picked up in articles. There's no life, no beating heart, no reason why we should care about this person. We don't know why she wants to succeed, why she wants to be a pilot, a trainer, a racer. She does it because she *can*. It's a mathematical sense of duty. It lacks any sense of weight or importance. These things are given to her as an end onto themselves by corporate bigshots looking to their product to go viral. It's not for people looking for flesh and blood characters. It a film that is about representation first! Girl Power! Stick it to the man! It exists as to an end onto itself, people looking to see representation onscreen and not giving a fig how well it achieves this representation.

Except, once you peel back the glitter and gif-ready montages, there's a big, corporate, conceited sinkhole where the human core should be. Nothing for those aching for representation to project themselves onto. It feels so emotionally manipulative and packaged that it leaves a sour taste in your mouth.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh, but we've come to expect better from Marvel films. There deserves to be films directed by, starring by, written by women, as anyone with a shred of common sense knows. But it needs to be better than this.

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