Captain Marvel

Fanatic film followers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will enjoy the studio’s latest superhero rollout more than laymen theater-goers desiring an interesting plot and top-tier acting. But if Marvel Studio movie faithfuls are honest with themselves over the gigantic production company’s first-female lead in 21 films, they’ll realize Brie Larson’s debut as “Captain Marvel” shockingly underwhelmed and missed a successful orbit within the franchise universe.

Despite the Academy Award-winning Larson and four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening, “Captain Marvel” disappoints repeatedly. Both Hollywood superstars are shackled by lackluster characters roles and a dull script that never challenges their sensational acting skills or allow for either of the strong women to truly shine. 

While Larson makes the most of her weak script and fallback martial arts fighting, it’s Bening’s acting that’s most disturbing to watch. Her Wendy Lawson role is instrumental to the film’s outcome, yet Bening never nails her part convincingly.

The first impression of Larson’s Carol Danvers, the 1989 U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, is overshadowed by her extraterrestrial Kree warrior alter ego, Vers. In typical Marvel fashion, repetitive action sequences drown out the opportunity for meaningful and significant plot development, which is unfortunate because an obscure duo of co-directors and writers missed a perfect opportunity to showcase one of the movie industry’s most talent-rich actresses.

Likewise, DC Comics’ spectacular debut of “Wonder Woman” in 2017 showed how studios can envelop strong female actresses into the lead superhero role. Gal Gadot impressively owned that film from start to finish. Better writing, and like Marvel’s “Iron Man,” a much more attractive storyline minus the full-court press of action sequences wins the day every time.

When “Goose,” a cat named after the ill-fated character in 1986’s “Top Gun”, steals the movie over top-shelf, award winning actresses it becomes clear that “Captain Marvel” is a subpar film. 

Unfortunately, Goose didn’t write the script or have a paw in more of the storyline’s flow. Larson will return as Captain Marvel, and I hope film newcomers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck don’t collaborate again on that movie’s script and direction. I’m not sure even “Captain Marvel” can survive that pain once again. 

Grade: C

“Captain Marvel” is rated PG-13 with a running time of 2 hours and 4 minutes. 

Patrick King is a resident of Tucson and writer for the Reel Brief movie blog at reelbrief.com. Email him at reelbriefmoviereviews@mail.com.

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