Captain Marvel: The first reviews for Brie Larson's blockbuster are seriously divided

Tanya Cunningham
March 6, 2019

But what you didn't think of is how to look cool, as Brie Larson found out when she was training for the role of Captain Marvel.

Would Captain Marvel have been made - or considered a box office threat - without the irrefutable success of Wonder Woman? She's amusing, whip-smart, and takes no crap. This is like if, in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, while you struggled with the new information about Luke's parentage, Lucasfilm dished you a movie about C-3PO's origin story and a side quest about Yoda's dad. It's a formula that has been tried and tested since Iron Man blew up the scene in 2008, and has been overused by the studio to the point of fatigue. As far as Captain Marvel goes as its own franchise, it will certainly be interesting to see how Marvel tackles future installments for this now overpowered but compelling godlike intergalactic warrior. Words like badass and kick-ass, used to describe women, have been trotted out so often that they've come to mean nothing. The bond that two women can share reaches deep into their core and is not just about who will support you, but also about the one person that will call you on your shit when you need them to. By comparison, Captain Marvel's bravado feels earned, a result of a woman who's had to work twice as hard for everything she's ever received and never backed down from a challenge.

Thanks to Marvel's end credit scenes we have gotten some of our biggest teases for Marvel's next projects. Without spoiling them, I'll just say that both of them are very important. Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) urges her to keep her emotions under control, but Carol senses that she has a hidden past. It's odd to feel the MCU suddenly pivot back to the pure origin story routine after the last two years have been so experimental, and it's hard not to walk away wishing that Carol would have gotten the Black Panther or Spider-Man treatment with an introduction built into a previous movie to help add a bit more narrative weight. He doesn't quite fall in line with other recent villains like Zemo with his devious plot and tragic past or Vulture with his take-no-prisoners family loyalty, but he's cut from a very similar cloth with motivations that stem from complicated, surprisingly nuanced places and give him a real depth of character. Carol Danvers reunites with a pilot friend named Maria (Lashana Lynch) from her former life on Earth but it surprisingly doesn't carry much weight. Larson imbues her with an edge, for sure, but Carol is vulnerable and sarcastic, and - as seems to be in the contract with every Marvel superhero - she's quippy.

"It was a game changer for me because I'd read the comics, and Carol's fierceness and her wit, and also - despite her being cocky - her humbleness too", Larson said.

One supposes it's a double-edged sword, critically speaking, to make so many choices that don't feel gender specific in a story that outwardly remains an outlier in terms of the quantity (and quality) of superhero films that are not focused on white men.

Captain Marvel's powered by a dynamite performance by Oscar victor Brie Larson (Room) as Carol Danvers.

But we know immediately that there's something different about Carol, because the blood dripping from her nose is blue. Her scenes with Jackson are the best in the film, they have a great chemistry that at times gives the film a buddy-cop atmosphere. The two partner up after Carol crashes into a Blockbuster store, with Fury at first in pursuit of this errant alien soldier before allying himself with her upon witnessing a Skrull attack. That's one of many familiar tropes in epics like this. Last but not least, let's talk about Mendelsohn.

During an operation against the Skrulls on an alien world, Vers finds herself captured.

Brie Larson attended the world premiere of Captain Marvel at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Monday. Boden and Fleck aren't yet first-rate action directors. In Captain Marvel he gets to be more fun, and willing to go along for her journey with an open mind.

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