Thomas’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Captain Marvel” seems to be quite a divisive movie, and I can see why. There are several things I liked about this film and there are also several things I didn´t like.
One thing that worked for me was the story structure, which freshens up the usual origin story formula. At the beginning of the movie, not only the audience has no idea, who Carol Danvers is, but she herself has forgotten everything about her past. Her search for her identity is a major theme and storyline of the movie and her backstory is slowly revealed through non-chronological flashbacks throughout the film. I like how we are thrown right away into the action and the new places of the Marvel universe, but I am quite sure that the whole beginning is very confusing for people who have no prior knowledge about all the races, fractions, and conflicts that appear in this movie.
I also loved the whole Captain Marvel/Fury buddy comedy aspect. They both have a great chemistry, Samuel L. Jackson is as entertaining as ever, and it is interesting to see more of Fury´s early days. Ben Mendelsohn is another standout for me and I also liked Carol´s friendship with Maria. It was also refreshing that there was no love interest. Overall, the humor in this film works really well. Not every gag hits its mark, but many do. The inclusion of a cute cat may be cheap move, in my opinion, but hey, it works. The film also closes some gaps of the MCU, is full of Easter Eggs, and gives you background information about some known characters and events, which is great. Oh, and the Stan Lee opening was really touching.
But like I already said, there are also a lot of things I didn´t like about this movie. To list some of them:
-The action was often confusing, not very exciting, and overall not very memorable (the grandma fight is maybe an exception)
-In general, the movie lacks iconic and truly memorable scenes
-The main plot is not that interesting and even though it is about an intergalactic war, it feels rather small-scale
-the CGI looks horrible at some parts
-The 90´s setting is mainly used as a gimmick and many of the references are really in your face
-another forgettable villain (I have already forgotten his name)
But my main problem with the movie is Captain Marvel herself. I have seen “Room” the day before, so I know that Brie Larson is a great actress, but she couldn´t really show this in this movie. Even though a great part of the film is about identity and self-discovery, I couldn´t really connect with Carol. It felt like the script didn´t give her much personality beyond “invincible and badass heroine with a smart mouth, who isn´t fazed by anything” and this just isn´t enough for me to fall in love with a character. It also doesn´t help that she is completely overpowered. Nothing and no one provide a real challenge for her. Whenever a problem appears, all it takes is a slightly annoyed look, a witty one-liner, and a movement of her arm, and the problem disappears. Ok, this is of course exaggerated, but the bottom line is that I was never worried for her. There was no moment, in which I thought: ”Shit, how is she going to get out of this situation?” because the answer always is: “Well, obviously with her fists.” (either by punching stuff or shooting beams out of them). The interesting thing about this is that the film makes the clear point that Carol Danvers is all about standing up again after falling down (there even is an inspiring montage about that), but when she never really is down in the movie (at least in a believable way), then this positive message loses its impact on me.
I hope that in “Endgame” Captain Marvel finds a worthy opponent and has to go all out. Maybe even get defeated, so that she can have a truly inspiring “getting up after falling down” moment. I also hope that she doesn´t play the major role in defeating Thanos. I just think that a character, who was introduced one month before “Endgame”, shouldn´t overshadow characters we have known and loved for a decade, and who probably have their last big moment in this film. But so far, I trust the Russo Brothers to handle this correctly.
To conclude, “Captain Marvel” is a solid but unremarkable blockbuster movie. I was entertained while watching it and was never bored, but I doubt that I will think about this film a lot in the future. In my ranking of all 21 MCU movies, it is definitely in the lower half, but also far from the bottom.