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Episode 1727 Talkback - Captain Marvel Movie Review

Aviator of the USAF. Warrior of the Kree. Dominator of the box office! Carol Danvers, alias Captain Marvel, has finally come into her own, and in this episode we offer our cosmic-powered critique of her motion picture debut. Brace yourself for SPOILERS! (1:31:08)

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Comments

  • Mark_EngblomMark_Engblom Posts: 314
    While there have certainly been weak links in the chain of hit Marvel Studios movies, "Captain Marvel" is clearly one of the weakest.

    Where do I start? Probably right at the top with starring actress Brie Larson, whose bland, inscrutable facial expressions and monotone delivery had all the charisma of soggy bread. Although this film is clearly Marvel's attempt to create their own iconic Wonder Woman-level character (and movie franchise), Larson's low-wattage presence isn't even in the same galaxy as Gal Gadot's effervescent command of the screen as Diana. Instead, we get a poker-faced Mary Sue who can Do It All....except make an audience (specifically THIS audience member) care about (or even understand) her emotional journey.

    A digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson, as Nick Fury, shows up on cue as the buddy in this movie's desperate attempt at Buddy Cop chemistry (spoiler: There is none). Fury shows none of the gravitas and take-charge chutzpa of his earlier appearances...which one could chalk up to him being younger (the movie is set in 1995), but I suspect there were other, more political reasons for neutering the character (Nick Fury is a baby-talking cat groupie? WTF?).

    The rest of the cast turn in competent, yet ultimately forgettable performances...with the notable exception of Lashana Lynch, who played Carol's pal Maria Rambeau with true heart and actual, discernible emotion. A pity none of the other cast members (including the obviously bored Larson) brought that level of investment to their characters.

    The movie's central conflict was just as difficult to discern, as murky character motivations, weird technical McGuffins, and thinly veiled political analogies made the movie into a boring, incoherent mishmash of competing themes.

    As a result of all this meandering, the movie's finale had absolutely no emotional punch to match the frenetic punching, spaceship tossing, CGI fireworks, and angelic glowing of Captain Marvel, whose still-emotionless face keeps you guessing about what she's feeling or why you should care about any of it.

    Underlying it all is a movie that's just not very well crafted. Co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck came from the small Indie movie circuit, and it shows. A big event movie like this seems like more they can handle without falling back onto comfortable cliches, clumsy "Hey, it's the 90's!" background music, and a chintzy, slow-moving, Made-For-TV vibe.

    Rating: C-
  • TheMarvelManTheMarvelMan Posts: 156
    Thanks for another terrific review, folks! One comment and one correction. My comment is...welcome back, Shane!!! Your dulcet contributions were missed a great deal!!

    My correction is that Kevin Smith definitely knew about the use of the Mallrats script in Stan Lee's cameo long before he saw the movie. He even supplied the audio for that scene because Stan's voice was failing. Nevertheless, Kevin Smith was moved to tears when he viewed that actual scene, as was I. Go here to hear him describe his emotional reaction to the scene:

  • MattMatt Posts: 4,269
    edited March 22

    I though Larson was a little stiff at times. I think the MCU needs to pull back on some of its humor right now. When the first trailer for the Supergirl series came out a few years ago, I stirred a bugaboo by stating the tone did a disservice to the character. I felt the same way with Captain Marvel. I thought Wonder Woman did a better job of setting a tone that seemed better for making these characters empowered and equal. I thought this movie at times felt like it was forcing Danvers as the strongest MCU character.

    If her powers are Infinity Stone in origin, how wouldn’t Wanda’s be Danvers’ power equal? Her powers originated from an Infinity Stone too.

    Although the SLJ de-aging was top marks, I thought he was overly corny with the cat. And if his missing eye is because of Goose, that’s a great disservice to the character we’ve come to know. I was also expecting/hoping for a de-aged Alexander Pierce cameo.

    I thought the plot was pretty cookie-cutter and predictable. Did anyone who saw the trailers not know Jude Law was going to be the villain?

    I still dislike the gender bending of Mar-Vell. I would’ve preferred they used a different character. I read an article commending the gender bend because it meant a no male influence crafted a strong woman. The writer was annoyed with Zeus being Diana’s father. Strictly personal opinion, I think the strongest people are influenced by both male & female people in their lives.

  • JohnnyWIJohnnyWI Posts: 23
    I read an article a few days ago that addressed the Mar-Vell gender bend, on CBR (I think). Now, this could easily be spin, considering the flak they've been taking for being "overly feminized"..... But, they've said that they were actually in the process of casting a male Mar-Vell, when someone in production had the idea that since they already had Annette Benning in the cast, maybe they should just write her into the role.

    I understand people's dislike of the gender bend, but I think it was a smart move. When you have a high caliber actor/actress already involved, why not take advantage? Plus it gives you the chance to simplify the plot, and concentrate on the story you're trying to tell. I get that Mar-Vell is a big part of Carol's story, but there's only so much back story you can cram into a single movie, without losing the plot.

    I think they used the Tesseract as the power source, to explain where Fury got it from to begin with, in The Avengers movie. Unfortunately, the don't seem to have been thinking of Carol's power set, as much, when they decided on using the Tesseract.

    As far as Fury losing his eye to the kitty.... Meh, whatever. It never really concerned me that much as to how he lost it. Plus, as silly as it is to lose it to an alien cat scratch, it would have been (IMO) really cliche' to have lost it in a fight with a bad guy. Plus, that'll teach him him to pet stray cats..... :)

    Overall, I thought it was a lot of fun. I agree with Ian. It's a solid, mid tier MCU movie.
  • MattMatt Posts: 4,269
    edited March 22

    Agree, use Annette Benning more. Why not make it a misdirect by having Dr. Wendy Lawson really be Una. Eliminate Mar-Vell altogether. Especially since in the movie, Carol’s powers originated from the energy of the Tesseract, not from absorbing Mar-Vell’s DNA in the explosion (or awakening her latent DNA from her mother).

    I was always under the impression SHIELD had the Tesseract since Howard Stark ferreted it from the sea.

    I was also under the impression Nick lost his eye after the mission he saved Pierce’s daughter & got promoted. And from a failure, not in a fight.

  • JohnnyWIJohnnyWI Posts: 23
    Excellent points, Matt. Now that you mention it, yeah, I guess there was the insinuation of the Tesseract being around since Howard Stark.I'm gonna have to go back and watch those phase one movies again, now.

    I honestly had/have no idea how Fury lost his eye. Perhaps that's why it didn't bother me one way or the other. I certainly understand why it does bother some people, and their points are well taken, too. There may have been a touch to much comedy this time, and not quite enough seriousness.

    I do have to say that it did make me feel kind old, though, as it seemed to be saying "Wow, check this out. These things happened wayyyyyyyyyyy back in the 90's......". And I'm thinking "Damn, that was like just yesterday, to me.". I guess I now know how my mom felt back in the 80's, and I would talk about the 60's like they were a lifetime ago. :)
  • MattMatt Posts: 4,269
    edited March 22
  • i_am_scifii_am_scifi Posts: 580
    Well @Matt the folks behind the movie did at least attempt to explain it better. https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/captain-marvel-nick-fury-goose-debbie-berman-mcu

    I'm still not sold on the explanation either and I enjoyed the movie, but go figure.
  • VertighostVertighost Posts: 222
    The gender bending didnt bother me for 2 reasons:

    1. I was one of the people who did not see the betrayal coming so it was unpredictable for me.
    2. Carol Danvers is the character I think of as Captain (or Ms.) Marvel. Comic book Mar-vell was never really on my radar. But I can see if those things weren't the case, I probably wouldn't care for the change either.

    I do agree that this relatively new belief that it is somehow "problematic" or even "less than ideal" for a female hero to have a male mentor/teacher is extremist thinking at best.
  • MattMatt Posts: 4,269

    I think by going with Una, nothing would’ve changed with how the movie origin was presented. Plus, presenting a medic as a scientist seems like a shorter leap then a military spy.

    I actually think of Rambeau more as “Captain Marvel,” but that’s probably because I was first exposed to the character name in the original Secret Wars.

    I had to chuckle because leading up to seeing the movie, I kept saying “Captain Marvel”; obviously since it’s the title. From the time I mistakenly told the theatre employee “I’ll take one for Ms. Marvel”, I’ve found myself continuously calling Danvers (& the movie) “Ms Marvel.” Probably because I most associate that name with her instead.



  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,820
    Matt said:

    I think by going with Una, nothing would’ve changed with how the movie origin was presented. Plus, presenting a medic as a scientist seems like a shorter leap then a military spy.

    I actually think of Rambeau more as “Captain Marvel,” but that’s probably because I was first exposed to the character name in the original Secret Wars.

    I had to chuckle because leading up to seeing the movie, I kept saying “Captain Marvel”; obviously since it’s the title. From the time I mistakenly told the theatre employee “I’ll take one for Ms. Marvel”, I’ve found myself continuously calling Danvers (& the movie) “Ms Marvel.” Probably because I most associate that name with her instead.



    I think you were just trying to get the senior discount.
  • MattMatt Posts: 4,269

    And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!

  • alienalalienal Posts: 501
    Overall, I liked the movie...but it started a bit slow and finished way too fast. By slow, I mean the whole let's send a mission team to get this guy out seemed longer than it had to be. By way too fast, I mean it felt like the filmmakers reached a point where they said "Uh-oh..we're coming up on 2 hours, how can we end it? Oh, let's power her up so that she can do anything!" I liked Brie Larsen's acting (I mean, I think she came off as kind of a cypher...not knowing who she is and all that...), but I didn't like her physicality so much (especially her running, but it wasn't a big deal). The Fury and Colson stuff was fun. Going back to the 90's was fun. The cat was okay...sort of felt that the flarken scenes were too much like Groot scenes. Both the Maria and Monica scenes were good. I don't know what to think about the Skrulls. As was mentioned on the podcast, I'm hoping there's another group of Skrulls somewhere who aren't so peace-minded. With the FF probably coming back there should be a place for Super-Skrull or even a Kree-Skrull War movie.
  • MattMatt Posts: 4,269

    I’ve been thinking more about this movie. What’s sticking in my crawl, grinding my gears, is the “You (Danvers) can’t do it because you’re a female” message. During the flashbacks, there was a few scenes of that notion, starting with her father & the go-carts. I’m not stupid, stuff like that did & does occur, but it seemed too exaggerated. Like when an info commercial presents a common issue, then exaggerates all these possible solutions, before revealing the ease of using the product being pushed.

    I guess I roll my eyes at this stuff because in nearly 40 years, I’ve never heard, no was hinted at the “women aren’t as good as men” notion the plot used. Never. And I grew up with a fairly conservative family, in a fairly conservative area. I’ve heard people say or hint at other bias/discrimination, but never about females. It felt forced. Almost as if it was needed to empower Carol for her breakout in the 3rd act.

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