I saw Captain Marvel with my kids, and I have some thoughts. Bare with me as I ramble on and off topic and all over the place as if I was spontaneously giving you a review in person.
The excitement! She's finally here. Our savior. Our Captain Marvel! Wait, let me set this up real quick. I watched the film with my two and half-year-old son and my nine-year-old stepson. My boys were all smiles during the REAL3D projection that I wish we'd seen in IMAX, but couldn't actualize due to time restrictions, my kid's nap patterns, and bowel movement schedules. I came prepared with a cool skater backpack that was just a cover for my daddy-bag carrying the wipes, diapers, extra snacks, action figures, and extra clothes. If these two needed to shit I was not going to leave that theater.
Two slushies, a few waters, what seem to be around five pounds of popcorn, and an entire movie with post-credit scenes later I was proud that my boys made it all the way through. I looked at them and asked what did you think? My nine year said very slowly to draw out his inflection "That was sooooooooo good, Batman!" (He's called me Batman since he was two years old. A story for another time). My two year just yelled "Yea!" What did you like about it?" I asked. My nine-year-old said, "She was really funny when I didn't expect her to be because she was so serious, too." I was genuinely impressed with that assessment. "Anything else?" I asked. "Yea, she was super tough and was fun to watch in the fight scenes." Looked at my two-year-old and asked: "What did you like?" Not expecting an actual reply he responded with Da-ee (his word Daddy) I like da kid-cat. "ah, yes the kitty cat" I replied smiling. That's all the confirmation I needed. Well, that and my two year old kept saying "das mama!" sporadically throughout the film.
I had a lot of issues with the flick but I still fucking loved this movie. Brie Larson made me care about Captain Marvel even though Carol's backstory and emotional beats were mishandled or poorly directed, "tomato tomatoe." Set up and pay off weren't great but it still kept moving forward. How? I'll bring you up to speed real quick. Veers, the character we come to know as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel who is played by BRILLIANTLY by Brie Larson is introduced to us as a Kree warrior hero in training. The Kree are a scientifically and technologically advanced militaristic alien race in the Marvel world. We've met a few of them already in previous films.
We are led to believe that she's a rebellious female Kree fighter who likes to march to the beat of her own drum and has a temper problem she can't appear to control. (Is that suppose to be a metaphor for all woman or pun or a joke?) I'm just pointing it out not saying it is any of those things. Calm down social justice warriors. I'll give way worse shit to complain about. (I know I ended on a proposition shut up) As the film was coming to an end, I thought about how this movie is just like any other phase one movie, you know, setting up our hero, giving us the backstory/origin and showing us how she/he might fit in within the bigger puzzle that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Was that run on sentence?) But it has the most significant responsibility of any previous film. Responsibility? Yes. Pay attention.
Captain Marvel is the twenty-first film in this cinematic world. There's so much to include, and it must have been challenging try to adhere to the rules and breadcrumbs laid out by previous films, and their timelines which I believe ultimately came at a cost. It slightly hinders the storytelling when it came to showing us more about Carol Danvers because the filmmakers/writers, I assume, wanted to serve the Infinity Saga through-line but it made the Captain not Carol matter to me much more before the ultimate showdown in the end. Why was I suppose to give a shit about a reunion with her former pilot buddy? I never got a moment that solidified their trust, love, and empowerment of one another. A montage? Yes? But not a moment, a pay-off, a character reveal that was built up by beat by beat, scene by scenes ultimately culminating in a well-deserved sequence meant to make me care. Cheesy dialogue and flashy editing weren't enough to convince me. I've been shown so much more and so much better in a bunch of these films, so I expect more. The visuals were crisp, sure, but this was a time where "show don't tell" was not executed with enough character development which led to lackluster emotional weightlessness — just an empty human shell. A Danvers cadaver. (#DadJoke) But this only applies to Carol. Who she was before doesn't seem to be too important to the filmmakers because the focus appears to be on her merely being a human but not what kind of human she was? I'm obviously guessing here and rambling. NEXT!
The villain. Ummm. No. I love Jude Law. Great actor and never disappoints but the writing here failed him. He was just a cookie cutter villain, and his stakes, goals, reasons were all familiar. SIDEBAR: How does this guy keep growing his hair back? I need his hair doctor or meds or money. He was just being the bad guy to be the bad guy. There's a reoccurring motif going on with the Kree in the MCU, and they need to remedy that at some point soon. Stop making them so predictable. And WTF was up with all the communication interference!? Are you serious? At least show me someone creating it so I know there's a reason this super advanced race can't build stable communication devices. Ridiculous.
Back to the Captain. When Veers (Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers) appears on screen the first time, there's this emptiness to her. She seems curious but robotic. Very terminator-like if you ask me. I can tell she's not comfortable being who she is, so she uses humor to make herself feel better. The human inside her is trying to wake her up without knowing it since she believes she's a Kree. She doesn't know who she is and that's very clear to me. The nuances in Brie Larson's performance are clearly being overlooked. She's playing a woman stripped of her life, her memories, her existence and going along for a ride with a new purpose because of implanted beliefs and transfused Kree blood. She's essentially playing a robot seeking an explanation for her existence. She has to continually put on a front because she's not only fighting in her day to day life as a warrior, but she's fighting her own mind that's trying to wake her up from dare I say her own "sunken place?" She has interior and exterior conflict. That's what makes her character work! She's a trained soldier on earth and then a trained soldier in the cosmos. Soldiers have a demeanor, a set of codes to follow when it comes to their self-presentation. I see that very clearly here.
She has two people living in her head! Two completely different versions of the same person are fighting for the driver's seat in the cockpit, (imagine she called it a snatch-box- I know inappropriate but imagine?) and she has to find a way not to look crazy and lose control. She has to "be cool" I'm in the face of internal and external adversity. Brie Larson pulls that shit off masterfully. From the beginning of the movie she told she can't and shouldn't do something, anything but what she's told to do. I have heard people complain that she didn't have enough of an arc. I liked that she was bad-ass and realized she had the potential to be even more powerful than anything she could imagine. She still changed but her change was from good to great not from negative to positive. It's a strange way to explore this story, but it follows the rules of storytelling in a way where it made ME care about her.
I loved the Skrulls twist. I won't blow my load about it here. The Stan Lee Cameo was the sweetest thing ever and considering how much I love him and Kevin Smith it hit me on so many levels. Ronin was useless. Again. The cat/Nick Fury thing annoyed me, but I love that Fury doesn't confirm or deny what happened to his eye. The movie is fun, and it's what I wanted. See it if you haven't. That's it for now! Someone made a poopy. GTG!