[Movie Review] Captain Marvel (2019)


USA | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | PG-13 | Directors: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden | Writers: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet | Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch, Annette Bening | English | 124 minutes

The first installment in Marvel Cinematic Universe in which the story primarily revolves around a single woman lead, 'Captain Marvel' is unfortunately a 'playing it too safe' attempt by Marvel Studio in presenting their franchise's future cornerstone. The movie itself is clear enough in terms of describing what kind of narrative they want to deliver to the audience. Here we have Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a member of an elite intergalactic Kree special force who's been under the tutelage of Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) so that she could learn how to master her extraordinary capabilities. Throughout her learning curve, Yon-Rogg keeps highlighting that emotion is a perilous thing to possess for a warrior.

From the point where such statement was established, we could have guessed already that Danvers' venture would eventually ends up clasping her to a phase of life where she discovers that emotion is a must have and it is in fact her substantial source of power. The main problem lies within the storyline because it feels so generically structured with all that usual protagonist self-actualization jazz and for a character like Captain Marvel that supposed to be a leading figure for the franchise onwards, the tale didn't do her justice in making a long-lasting first impressing for her persona.

To tell the truth, the outward appearance of the movie is not so frail. But their wrongdoing is they didn't try to invent something out of ordinary. From the style of visual effects, presentation of unfulfilling main antagonists, to the insertion of bland plot twists, everything about 'Captain Marvel' as a film is so prosaically dull and the inadequacy of flair is very noticeable. In its slightly above 2-hours of screentime, the film is struggling to recite a well-paced and proportionally coherent scenario because while it knows what end goal Danvers has to reach, the division of context among its first and second half is highly unbalanced.

The first half is pointless (and rather frustrating) since there is no sufficient plot progression happened. It seems like the movie keeps going back to the starting point because every occurring event in the first half is pretty much insignificant. This is why the second half appears to be stumbling seeing as it has to solidify a lot of matters that the story didn't pick up in its first hour. It's also unclear whether if it's because of the studio's creative decision or other reasons but our duo directors, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, couldn't showcase their strongest filmmaking card which is imbuing the characters with compelling sense of benevolence.

If you've seen any previous cooperative works of Ryan and Anna (mostly independent films) like 'Sugar' and 'Half Nelson', getting innovative with characterization is their forte yet it doesn't show up (to its most maximum potential) in 'Captain Marvel'. Carol Danvers looks analogous to a hollow shell of a human being for most of the time. Albeit her character is bound to be like that because of plot needs but still, that sort of portrayal has made her personage becomes less interesting compared to the other role that enjoys a faintly better writing. It's not wrong if they're aiming for the protagonist to ferret out her true power and personalities as long as the way to get there is filled with engaging obstacles. Unluckily, Carol Danvers didn't have such luxury. Props to Brie Larson for giving out her best with all the materials handed to her.

Samuel L. Jackson is up to his usual standard as Nick Fury. Although his character is lacking substantial content aside from catchy jokes and funny interactions with Goose the cat, his role even assumes more dimensions compared to Danvers. One minor plus for the team behind the scene for making Fury's younger self looks so amazingly believable. To my surprise, Ben Mendelsohn performance as Talos is the biggest redeeming quality of this picture. His charisma shines radiantly on the back of the character's horrendous exterior (a compliment for the special effect department by the way). I My condolences to Jude Law for having to delineate a one-dimensional and unmemorable figure like Yon-Rogg.

In the end, 'Captain Marvel' is nothing more than just a bridge to maintain the fans' hype before 'Avengers: Endgame'. It's a shame because Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel is supposed to represent the next big thing and the character deserves an appreciably more appropriate treatment.

Review written by: Dysan Aufar

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