Movie Review: Captain Marvel

I really, really don’t understand the backlash regarding Captain Marvel. As a lifetime fan of graphic novels and comic books, especially Marvel brand comics, (though DC Comic’s Batman and his villains will always have a special place in my heart amongst my Marvel Comics love), there are so many powerful and practical female superheroes who happen to be female.

In case you haven’t heard, there has been a massive backlash to Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson. (Seriously, Google “backlash on Captain Marvel“.) The website Rotten Tomatoes has let public reviewers to provide ratings before a movie has been released to the public.


What is the point of that? It makes no sense to give reviewers that power before anyone has had a chance to see it. As someone whose writing depends on *honest* reviews, there is a trust that someone will have read the entire book before commenting about it. It is completely unfair to rate something without having tried it. It’s ridiculous, pointless, trolling, and nonsense. If you’re not interested in a product, just don’t use it. Did you try it and it had fundamental issues with the results? Then review it.

I firmly believe that the pre-release movie review hatred of Captain Marvel prior to its release was simply misogynistic hatred of females not being in a comic for visual or sexual gratification. The idea that a female could be a lead character, not be hyper-sexualized in costume or looks, or be there merely as backup to men is still a difficult concept for society to accept. While it is 2019 and behavioral change about “toxic masculinity” is being addressed, the reduction of toxic masculinity and misogyny is still not the rare-experience. It is still the norm.

Recent ads (e.g. Gillette’s recent ad about real men) are targeting the dangers of men not stepping up against toxic masculinity, and are promoting the idea of all genders raising up and supporting women. Unfortunately, this is happening because this behavioral change is still needed. It’s sad that in this time of American history we still need this education. I am not a man-hater. I am all about equalism. Fe/Male, or whoever in between, if you have the knowledge and skills or readiness to learn, you are worthy of the work you’re dedicating your time to. If you treat other people like human beings, a tip of the hat to you. No gender or race is better or worse than another. We are all human.

For all ticket holders who have actually seen the film, I agree. It’s not the strongest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film, but it’s certainly not the worst. (Iron Man 3 anyone? Does anyone remember anything about that movie?) My honest rating of Captain Marvel is a solid B-. Its oddly selected Jude Law addition to the cast, a blase, non-threatening feeling of the villains, and cookie-cutter origin story for its main character show that MCU still loves cranking out high-visual-effects movies as quickly as possible without adding much character development and substance to its films.
The acting of Brie Larson and her portrayal of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel is to be highly, highly praised. I have never seen this Larson not deliver on her acting chops. I continually look forward to watching her career advance in Hollywood.

However, it is falsely being identified as man-hating. If anything, it is showing equality across all genders. The partners-in-justice vibe of this movie was the unexpected delight of the film, and I wish the marketing had been more focused on that. Nick Fury is not her guide, he is not her mentor. Carol Danvers is her own soldier and beacon of heroism. The banter between Danvers and Nick Fury inspire nostalgia of buddy cop films. They’re two leaders who focus on their mission. They are both pursuers of knowledge, truth, and delivering justice. Take away gender, and you get two well-trained operatives who know how to get the job done, and have fun while they’re doing it.

It was entertaining with decent fighting sequences, and a surprise small part played by actress Gemma Chan (who enchanted audiences as Astrid in Crazy Rich Asians) and pop-ups of younger and less-experienced versions of villains we would come to know in more present-time MCU films, and filled with ’90’s kids Easter Eggs (Blockbuster, anyone?) the film is adventurous eye-candy with friendship and bravery at the helm.

Go see it, have some fun, take the youngsters.


Avengers: Infinity War I, a spoiler-free review

If ever there was a better time in cinema to have a culmination of multiple storylines, characters, and plot, I don’t know when that was. The writers and directors nearly succeed in this astoundingly daunting feat.
Unless you’ve been watching all 18 films before now, late newcomers to the MU will be left scratching their heads at the characters and relationship dynamics. (If you haven’t seen Ant Man, you’ll be OK.) Longtime fans will be cheering for their favorite super/anti-hero(ines) while learning more about Thanos’ (psychotic) reasoning for developing this intergalactic war.
As with modern-day technology, the special effects offer a gripping visual overload of wonder and awe, with real life setting scenery grounding the movie in relatable visuals to help keep moviegoers from feeling too separated from the multi-planet-bouncing scenes. Josh Brolin deserves some kudos for offering a refreshing vocal and physical performance at playing a villain who is difficult to relate to, while still providing a simmering evil underneath his purple skin as a personal, imposing emotional threat. (Despite his performance being painted over with the now mundane process of CGI motion-capture animation.)
Moderately adequate pacing will continuously remind viewers of all 149 minutes that they’re sitting in the theater. At the 2 hour mark, I found myself glancing over at Pilot, and him to me, both of us watching the clock.
Definitely not one of the best films of the decade long series, as with over 20 main characters it’s hard to provide major character development for everyone, but also not the worst in the series. Again, juggling multiple layers of storylines and relationships is a difficult feat, and I think they nearly pull it off. I tip my hat at their attempt. Plot-wise, the movie demands the extended time needed to properly lay out this interwoven tapestry of cosmic comic glory, but you still painstakingly feel every minute of that extended time. Impressive visuals are interrupted by choppy editing, and you walk away with your jaw aching right along with the writers and editors. You feel every struggle of making it all come together — a clear impression that the writers and editors may have bitten off more than they could chew. It sounds counterintuitive, but maybe taking a page from the multi-film spanning Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films, changing the timing of the last chapter by stuffing in an extra 15-30 minutes would’ve helped make transitions seamless rather than exhausting. Those extra minutes might have also helped shine that extra bit of limelight on each of the characters we’ve grown to know and love in this multi-movie series, and make the moviegoers care just a little bit more.
Movie Score: A-