Marvel Studios is at it again with another mega-hit on its hands. Captain Marvel is enjoying a banner opening weekend, $153 million domestically and over $400 million worldwide. Not a bad start for a movie which introduces us to Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel. She’s a badass and will play a pivotal role in Avengers: Endgame.
Captain Marvel is the 21st movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and represents the studio’s first female-led film. Checking the box office numbers and it’s more than a safe bet Marvel will keep cranking them out. Black Widow needs a standalone movie.
The comparison most are making is with DC’s Wonder Woman, and it’s a bit unfair considering the DCEU was floundering and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was one of the few bright spots in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and single-handedly pulled the DCEU back from the brink of disaster in her standalone film.
Captain Marvel is a good film, but is it in the upper echelon of MCU films? The answer is no with Black Panther, Winter Soldier, Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians Vol 1, and Iron Man holding the top spots.
What Captain Marvel showed is Kevin Feige scored another casting coup with Brie Larson in the titular role. The Oscar-winning actress is fantastic as Vers (Carol Danvers) and carries the film in what could have easily ended up as another paint-by-numbers MCU movie.
The aforementioned casting of the film is excellent. Brie Larson is Captain Marvel. Samuel L. Jackson is always great to watch on screen, and the rest of the cast keeps the movie humming along.
Skrull mind probe. It happens in the first act, but it was a brilliant way of exploring Carol Danvers backstory as the Skrull were rewinding the memories the Kree had suppressed in search of Dr. Lawson’s Pegasus Project.
It helped the film avoid the trap of most comic book origin films. The mind probe didn’t let the movie bog down with unnecessary filler. Out the countless origin stories, Captain Marvel ranks up there with one of the best cinematic techniques.
Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson’s chemistry. When they are together on screen, the movie was firing on all cylinders. Whereas some of the other humor fell flat, Larson and Jackson played well off each other.
Goose. Watching the trailers, I figured Goose would be a small role for the cat. He turned out to be a scene stealer especially when he turned full flerken. In a departure from the comics, Goose is the MCU’s answer to how Nick Fury lost his eye.
Action set piece. It wouldn’t be a comic book movie without action. When Carol Danvers goes full Captain Marvel, she’s a one-woman wrecking crew. She sends the Kree fleet led by Ronan the Accuser scrambling back to Halla. It’s fun to watch and will immediately get you psyched to see her in Avengers: Endgame.
What Fell Flat
The timeline. I get the MCU needed to introduce Captain Marvel to the masses, but damn is the movie a convoluted mess. It’s set in the mid-90s. Her memories of the crash are from 1989. We know the Kree characters from Guardians of the Galaxy and to see them now felt off. It’s serving as the lead-in for Endgame, yet she’s out of the picture for nearly two decades by the time Endgame takes place.
Tesseract. Good lord, the chain of custody for the space stone, is bordering on absurd. Marvel should make a list of who hasn’t had it because it’s shorter than if they made one of who has wielded it.
Skrull humor. Initially pegged as the villains, the banter became a bit much after a few jokes fell flat.
Lack of stakes. At no point in the movie did it feel like Captain Marvel wouldn’t emerge as the victor. But, the victor of what? Finding the Skrulls a new home? Blasting Jude Law? For an origin story, there was very little for Carol Danvers to overcome.
Where Does Captain Marvel Rank in the MCU?
Overall, it was a solid movie. I think if Marvel had it to do over again, they would premiere it before the first Guardians of the Galaxy, so the Kree storyline flowed more naturally.
Captain Marvel is the 21st movie of the MCU. Ranking it would place it near the upper echelon of Marvel films. The movie isn’t on the same plane as Winter Soldier, Iron Man, or Black Panther. However, it isn’t that far off. Maybe a second standalone with real stakes will push it to contend with the best of the MCU. For now, it served its purpose, and that’s introducing Captain Marvel as a pivotal character to reverse the Thanos snap.