Captain Marvel ★★★½

I have nothing to prove to you.

Captain Marvel is an absolute blast from the past, ripe with 90's nostalgia and a brief retrospection on our country's own dilemmas. We could talk all day about that Fonzi lunchbox or the film's jarring use of No Doubt's "Just A Girl," but for now let's just appreciate the fact that upon her arrival on Earth, Carol Danvers crashes onto the roof of a Blockbuster where she inspects VHS tapes and then later fights surfers on a beach, Point Break-style.

Academy Award winner and newest victim of the neckbearded virgin warrior tribe Brie Larson leads a great cast in a movie that unfortunately falls short of reaching its full potential. The Marvel Cinematic Universe's newest entry has its moments of great fun (and it's by no means bad), but it's also a wildly generic and easily forgettable superhero flick that doesn't succeed in the emotional department nearly as much as it wants to.

Expecting a powerful scene akin to the No-Man's-Land one in Wonder Woman? This film ain't it. It's more comparable to Ant-Man and its sequel than anything else. The stakes aren't as small, but it certainly feels like they are because the script has no dramatic urgency. And as emotionally manipulative as it is when it introduces us to Maria Rambeau, I felt almost nothing. You can't make me feel sad about a friendship I never actually saw develop, and those random, short flashbacks don't do much to help. As an origin story it mostly fails in world building and character development as it rushes to fit a whole lot of complicated history in 124 messy minutes of back-and-forth. And idiotic "controversies" aside, the villain was pretty lame.

I'm always the first to roll my eyes at reviews that score mediocre films high purely because of the so-called "fun factor," but I promise that at the end of the day, Captain Marvel delivers more than just that. I like the ballsier—albeit still tame—direction some of these newer Marvels are going, first with Black Panther, and now with Captain Marvel's look at America's foreign policy.

Additionally, the cast (most notably Larson and Samuel L. Jackson), have enough chemistry to give even the most banal parts of the script some flavor and the film succeeds in making Nick Fury a more accessible character and one I finally grew to love. The visual effects are hit or miss, but those scenes in space with our hero flying around sporting lazers and a mohawk helmet are brilliant and form beautiful tributes to the colorful comic book panels that inspired them.

Much like that scene stealing cat everyone keeps talking about, Captain Marvel is a cute ball of fun that isn't quite what audiences expected but will nevertheless succeed in pulling a smile out of anyone. Give it your cash if you like, but maybe wait for Endgame if you want to see the wheel get reinvented.

2019 Ranked
52 Films By Women - 40/52

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