As social media dangerously expands there are ever increasing opportunities for trolls to spurt out genuinely nasty and unjustified hate. There have been a great deal of films in recent years that have effectively been buried by internet users - most notably 2016's all female reboot of Ghostbusters. If you were unaware, the controversy surrounding Marvel's latest feature has been not only ridiculous but quite toxic. Infamous critic website Rotten Tomatoes even had to change its entire system of ratings due to fans leaving fake negative reviews, intentionally dragging down the audience score - the studio has never before been afflicted with such strife.
The hate was primarily fuelled by Marvel's supposedly heavy handed feminist agenda, with the marketing for this film in no way subtle about the fact that Captain Marvel is their first female led picture. The girl who fell to earth - Carol Danvers - finds herself caught in the middle of a galactic war between the mighty Kree and the shapeshifting Skrulls.
Sadly Captain Marvel is all white noise - Brie Larson beams and sparkles, quite literally, in a hugely underwritten role. Co-directors and writers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are aided by a host of other creative forces, working behind what has got to be one of Marvel's messiest screenplays. There has been such uproar over Captain Marvel reportedly ramming its feminist ideologies down the throats of fans, yet ultimately - surprisingly - the film has very little to say. Although Carol's cosmic energy is an electrifying sight to behold, this underwhelming fantasy is all hype and no show.
That said, reminiscent of Marvel's phase one formula Captain Marvel has quite an authentic feel, similar to the likes of Iron Man and Thor. As usual there are the "end of the world" stakes, but Boden and Fleck don't particularly stress the impact this movie will have on the wider MCU - which is refreshing to see in the mist of multi character team ups like Infinity War. It's wistful in the quieter moments, as when amnesiac Carol walks into a bar and sees fragments of her past life burst across her minds' eye. With that in mind however its confused structure clutters a perfectly decent storyline - whilst admirably small-scale, we never feel the cosmic level oomph of the Kree/Skrull war against which the story is told.
Captain Marvel condenses Carol's backstory into a series of emotionally ineffective flashbacks -with Boden and Fleck lazily - almost reluctantly - sketching the hurdles she had to jump through. There is an underlying theme of women being continually knocked down and gaining the strength to dust off and stand straight back up again, however this poignant message is never brought to the forefront - key events that make Carol the woman she is are sidelined and subsequently Captain Marvel doesn't feel anywhere near as empowering or consequential as it should do.
Nonetheless, Larson's supernova performance outshines Carol's poor character development. Carol Danvers is the archetypal badass woman: she isn't feminised by any means, she has swagger and attitude to spare but most importantly she doesn't answer to men. Indubitably, her best trait is how she acts on her keen instincts - there is absolutely no time for hesitation, Carol goes with her gut and never flounders at the last second. Larson's edgy star-warrior teaches young girls the significance of confidence and sticking by decisions.
Surprisingly Captain Marvel doesn't beat you over the head with 90's nostalgia, although I think it could have afforded to. There are elements that harken back to early 90's sci-fi with Pinar Toprak's fantastic, warping electro score and the occasional moments of eye-popping production design. With exception to the few grungy tunes lined up on the MP3 player - Elastica's Connection and No Doubt's rather on-the-nose Just a Girl, there is very little indication that we are gazing back at the earlier days of the Avengers. Samuel L. Jackson is un-suprisingly fantastic as de-aged Nick Fury, in addition to Ben Mendleson as the shapeshifting Talos.
The main problem is that Captain Marvel is not the statement feminist piece the studio pushed so hard to be - the smaller ideas are never spotlighted nor is Carol given the emotional depth an origin story really should do. Larson's perky, fearless but underplayed performance as Danvers gleams through the overall mediocrity. Like many of the studio's recent endeavours, Captain Marvel is given little artistic freedom and is restrained to the conventions of the genre, falling into the lacklustre pot of routine and commonplace superhero capers.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.