Captain Marvel ★★

This one was unquestionably put in a tough spot ("introduce a new character and establish that she's powerful enough to save the universe and directly connect her into the next movie and flesh out some old recurring characters more and make it funny and make it serious and make it important and make it whimsical and work a cat in there somehow and") but it ultimately doesn't help itself rise above those limitations/expectations, either. Not quite the most vanilla Marvel entry, and not quite the worst, but Captain Marvel is easily the biggest mess of the bunch. Larson is solid, but the film never gives her a chance to really plant any roots as a well-rounded sympathetic character, and thus she comes off as one-note; the blatant 90's nostalgia exploitation feels entirely at odds with the nature of Carol Danvers as a character, and thus the humor feels unearned; since this serves as a prequel to every other entry in the MCU, the film feels the need to weave its way through countless well-established storylines, leading to some Solo-esque attempts at providing answers to questions that...really don’t need answers. There are certainly a few moments of good material that shine through, but most of this is either entirely forgettable or better forgotten.

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