With the latest of the superhero blockbuster genre that has dominated Hollywood for the past decade, Captain Marvel debuted on March 8, 2019, to a stellar box office and mixed reviews.
The twenty-first film in Disney’s highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe was met with over $150 million in its opening weekend, making it one of twenty films of all time to do so. It drew in half a billion dollars in the worldwide box office and became the #1 highest grossing movie of the year. This follows in the footsteps of the other Marvel movies, such as Black Panther.
The film opens on the planet of Hala, home to the species of Kree. The Kree Vers (later known as Captain Marvel), a member of Hala’s Starforce, struggles with recurring nightmares that involve a mysterious older woman. After a conflict with the villainous race, the Skrulls, Vers crashes onto planet C-53, aka Earth, and begins her quest to prevent the Skrulls from invading C-53. This sets off a series of events where she must find and control her true powers, and discover herself along the way.
The movie garnered support from some critics, getting a 79% Certified Fresh Critical Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it did not perform as strongly for the audience; only 62% of audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes were positive.
Captain Marvel may be a fun ride, but it’s nothing audiences haven’t seen before. Disney is aware of what has worked in their previous movies and will reuse old tropes to create a crowd-pleaser.
Captain Marvel may be a fun ride, but it’s nothing audiences haven’t seen before. The main narrative sticks to popular superhero genre cliches. Very little artistic or creative direction was taken that separates it from the 20 Marvel films that came before. Disney is aware of what has worked in their previous movies and will reuse old tropes to create a crowd-pleaser.
However, one thing that makes the film different is its fantastic new character; one of the Skrulls, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), makes a unique and genuinely surprising choice. Mendelsohn, known for his villainous roles in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Ready Player One, is often typecast as a powerful tyrant. His character is surprisingly charming and relatable and challenges the audience’s expectations. It was a nice surprise in an otherwise predictable movie.
The film falls a bit flat with some of its costume design. The Skrulls appear inauthentic and cheap, resembling reptiles on two legs. On the other hand, Captain Marvel’s costumes look realistic. For example, she wears a United States Air Force suit, which seems identical to actual Air Force uniforms, improving the believability of the story.
One of the movie’s strongest components was its groundbreaking achievement in visual effects. While it uses the usual intergalactic space battle effects seen in many Marvel movies before, what really separates it is its transformation of actor 70-year old Samuel L. Jackson into a middle-aged man, as he appeared in the 1994 film, Pulp Fiction. Other Disney features like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Ant-Man have previously tried to de-age actors to make them appear significantly younger to varying degrees of success, but this latest attempt is far more realistic than what was previously thought possible.
Overall, Captain Marvel is a standard entry in Marvel’s catalog of movies. Audiences will have a fun time if they enjoyed previous Marvel flicks.