Captain Marvel doesn’t have a whole lot to it. It has really good performances, some decent humor, and some fun action scenes, but it doesn’t really have anything spectacular to say. So for me, it’s a mixed bag.
I don’t think it’s a very good thing when the best part of your movie was a cat (Flerken). It didn’t add a whole lot to the film as a whole – it was more of a gag (a retconning gag!!!), and that really frustrated me. There wasn’t a moment in the movie that made me feel any sort of overwhelming emotion, which was disappointing coming off Black Panther and Infinity War. But as I have said in the past, I like to judge movies on their own merits, and not compared to other films.
Even on its own, Captain Marvel was just fine. It didn’t do anything amazing, but it also wasn’t terrible – it was perfectly inoffensive and average. I could understand both sides of the argument in a potential debate about whether or not this movie is good.
For one thing, it features some of the best acting of any MCU movie. Samuel L. Jackson is giving one of the better performances I’ve seen from him in a while, Jude Law is typically good, and Ben Mendelsohn gives the best performance I’ve seen from him, while being heavily made up for the majority of the time.
The movie is also funny, as any MCU movie is. The comedic timing is there and it is done well. As are some of the action scenes.
But for me, the best part is its unique mode of storytelling. It can be very confusing and disengaging towards the beginning, but the way the film tells this story is unlike how you’ve seen a story told under this Marvel mold and it benefits from it. Carol (Captain Marvel) keeps getting glimpses of who she was before as she tries to remember her past. This makes for some really interesting editing and directorial decisions.
Though, ironically, that is also where the film stumbles. The titular character isn’t given much characterization beyond the fact that she has memory loss. That should be used as a vehicle to get to know this character better, but instead, it just makes her really bland and uninteresting. It isn’t Brie Larson’s fault at all, but the fault of poor writing. This is what kept Captain Marvel from taking off for me. If it had just been able to figure that out a little better, I would be much closer to loving it as a film. But instead, I came out thinking, “Sure, that was fine.” I guess I just hoped for more.