By Megan Bianco
With the newest, most hyped Marvel movie to reach theaters since Black Panther (2018), Captain Marvel was appropriately released on International Women’s Day. No coincidence of course, and it hurts me to say it, but the movie mainly just left me fatigued.
While I haven’t been complaining about “superhero fatigue” as much as some people, I border on simple disinterest with the whole subgenre. Captain Marvel mostly proves what every naysayer has been suggesting for years: Marvel movies are just too safe and pedestrian; they don’t take any real chances.
It stars Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson from Short Term 12 (2013) and Room (2015) as the title character, who is super powerful, strong and from a galaxy far away. As far as origin films go, it’s pretty basic. We spend the first act seeing Starforce soldier Vers (Larson) being trained by her mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) for an intergalactic war.
She has various flashbacks of a previous battle that included her former superior Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening). Second act has Vers crashing into late-1990s Earth, where she discovers that she had amnesia six years earlier and is actually U.S. Air Force pilot Carol Danvers. Add in some comic relief and supporting characters we’ve seen in all the other Marvel Cinematic Universe films from 2008 to 2011.
Because the 1990s appeal to today’s middle- and high-school kids like the 1960s did to students in the actual ‘90s, there are a lot of shoe-horned pop-culture references during the Earth scenes. It’s a little awkward (i.e. the girl power anthems by Garbage, No Doubt and Hole playing during action sequences), but not as entirely eye-roll inducing as it could be.
What is actually annoying in Captain Marvel is the now normal use of “de-aging” computer graphics on actors to make them look like their younger selves, which is what the special effects team has done for Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg. No matter how advanced the technology becomes, those young faces still don’t look genuine to me.
Now let me say what does work: Larson, even with as little development as she’s given, proves she’s still a memorable actress. And there is a pet cat who is adorable, though that could be the inner cat lady in me talking.
Captain Marvel is called “Ms Marvel” no more, but her first film could have benefited from more risks taken by film making duo of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck—who are generally pretty good.
I want blockbusters with female stars to be common and accepted; I want the day to come where it’s not a huge deal when women have success. But that won’t happen anytime soon if studios continue producing the bare minimum and expecting to make profit (and they usually do because the options are so limited, unfortunately). Now we wait to see if Vers/Carol/Marvel fair better this summer in Avengers: Endgame.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: