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5 Reasons Why Captain Marvel Crash-Lands

March 7, 2019

captain-marvel-poster-2I wanted to like Captain Marvel. I’m all for female superheroes, I loved Brie Larson in Room, and I was a big fan of cowriter-directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s feature debut, Half Nelson. But it’s just… not good. Here’s why:

She doesn’t know who she is, and neither do we. Carol Danvers… er, Vers… spends most of the movie trying to figure out if she’s human or Kree (an alien race locked in a war with the rival Skrulls) or what. As a result, she’s not a very well-developed character, and even an Oscar-winning actress like Larson can’t give her much definition. Even her powers are kind of dull — all she can do until near the very end is shoot proton blasts from her fists. And maybe I missed it, but does she ever really become Captain Marvel (or is it pronounced Mar-vell… rhymes with Carvel)?

She’s not the only underdeveloped character. As Kree and Skrull leaders, Jude Law and Ben Mendelsohn seem stuck on sci-fi auto-pilot, and Djimon Hounsou and Gemma Chan get so little screen time as Kree underlings that they appear to be there only as diversity window dresssing. And in a dual role as Carol’s scientific mentor and a God-like intelligence, Annette Bening still delivers a half-baked performance.

The movie takes its ’90s setting a bit too literally. Carol crash-lands on Earth in 1995 (all the better not to overlap with the Avengers franchise’s current timeline), and it tries to wring laughs from references like Radio Shack and Blockbuster Video. But does it have to feel like a movie that would’ve gone straight to Blockbuster back in the day? With its schlocky effects and uneven tone — sometimes jokey, sometimes painfully earnest — it feels like a pre-MCU flick like Daredevil or Elektra.

Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t need to be digitally de-aged. Because of the film’s time frame, Jackson’s Nick Fury and his fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) are made to look younger with not-so-special effects. Sam Jackson doesn’t need any m’f-in f/x! He’s the youngest-looking septuagenarian on Earth. It’s just distracting. And couldn’t they make Gregg look like he’s not wearing a bad toupee?

It resembles a Star Wars movie than a Marvel movie. And not one of the good Star Wars movies. I’m talking Episode 1-3. Rubbery alien makeup, spaceship battles, mini-holograms… help us, Stan Lee-Kenobi, you’re our only hope! Too bad the Marvel mastermind passed away after making a cameo in this movie — they could’ve used him in the editing room. ‘Nuff said.

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