Here’s my Captain Marvel review, only slightly late. My brief, spoiler-free assessment: it was a solid movie, but slightly disappointing to my high expectations. I would put it in the middle of the MCU in terms of quality, around Doctor Strange or Ant-Man. Captain Marvel as a character was pretty satisfying, but some of the execution of the movie was lacking.
More details and spoilers below!
When I heard that Marvel was doing a Carol Danvers Captain Marvel movie, based on Kelly Sue DeConnick’s 2012 series, my biggest hope was that they would put Monica Rambeau, Carol’s friend and another former Captain Marvel, in the movie also because they have such great chemistry (plus one thing the MCU could use is more female friendships).
But Captain Marvel did me one better: not only did we have Monica Rambeau, who is the right age to be all grown up and hopefully ready to do some Avenging around the time of Endgame, but we also got her mother Maria Rambeau, who took on the role of Carol’s friend and colleague here. The chemistry and relationships between these three women was the heart of the movie. And the way Monica looked up to Carol reminded me of Kamala Khan, the current Ms. Marvel in the comics. Wouldn’t it be great to see her on the big screen, too?
I really think they nailed Carol’s character. Brie Larson did a great job with her smirks and her desire to punch her way out of every problem. I was a big fan of the way they streamlined her origin story, including making Mar-Vell female (as well as Carol’s mentor in the Air Force). It is interesting that in the MCU, Carol’s powers come from an Infinity Stone, the Tesseract or Space Stone. This puts her in the same league as Scarlet Witch as one of the most powerful Avengers. Will Carol also be able to destroy an Infinity Stone?
I’m glad this movie didn’t try to copy the success of Wonder Woman, because Carol is a very different character. I think of her as a “female superhero” in terms of her qualities, while Wonder Woman is a “superheroine.” As I related previously, for a superhero, “the hero goes away to develop his powers, returns and then steps up to fight an external evil (when it can’t be repelled by normal societal means), and then having expelled the evil, steps back into solitude.” This describes Carol’s arc in the movie perfectly. (Wonder Woman follows a different arc.)
As much as I enjoyed Carol, the screenplay was weak in parts, especially in the Kree sections. Of Carol’s Kree team, only two characters (Yon-Rogg and Minn-Erva) get any character development. I can’t believe they put Djimon Hounsou’s Korath in another movie only to waste him again. And while there was some good humor in the movie, not all of the jokes landed with me. I thought the climactic battle was best once Carol started really using her powers; up until then the action was pretty average.
But I have to give bonus points to a younger, looser, Nick Fury and his compatriot Goose. Goose is the real star of the movie.