Carol Danvers: I have nothing to prove to you.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
Man the whole movie community got heated up over this movie didn’t they? Personally I’m not one to take a side over something like this. As long as there is a good story with a good character and message and some fun moments I can dig it. Now that the movie is out is it possible that we all were getting heated over nothing? Well while the Internet was out of control over this whole thing, this is still a heavily flawed movie.
The story involves Kree warrior Vers (Brie Larson) who is in a battle with her fellow people against the Skrulls. After an ambush she finds herself captured by the Skrulls and in attempt to escape inadvertently winds up on Earth in 1995. While on Earth she finds herself acquiring memories of another life as a U.S. Air Force Pilot Carol Danvers. With the help of SHIELD Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) she sets out to get some answers while using her powers to end the war between the Kree and the Skrulls.
The movie does its opening credits with a beautiful Stan Lee tribute showcasing a montage of all his cameos and it is a nice thing to see given this is the first MCU movie since his passing.
One of this movie’s strongest points was the chemistry between Jackson and Larson. They had some clever and funny banter and the two worked very well off each other. And considering that Larson is a newcomer to the MCU, this is pretty impressive. She gives a fiery and playful spirit that contrasts perfectly with Fury.
Another strong aspect of this movie was the CGI de-aging on Samuel L. Jackson. It very much blends in as the movie goes on. Jackson’s performance also shined through the movie. He still brings his A-game as Nick Fury and is enjoyable every second.
Even though Clark Gregg as Coulson was in the movie for a mere couple of minutes and was rather pointless, for me it was nice to see the character again considering that he’s now died a second time and this was the last time we would get to truly see him. And much like Jackson, the CGI used to make him look younger is well done.
Ben Mendelsohn as Talos was an enjoyable character as the lead Skrull in that he’s threatening and funny but also has a chance to showcase some depth into his character as we see more of what he and his kind want and his family.
With the movie being set in the 90s there’s a lot of reference to 90s stuff like arcade games, Blockbuster, classic computers, etc. And it got a little bit of a chuckle out of me in some areas and it didn’t feel like the movie was trying to drive itself on sheer pandering.
Many people pointed out that Goose the alien Cat saved the movie and they are right. This thing is just such a cute and mysterious creature in his nature. Marvel has had a penchant for amazing comedic relief characters in their recent solo movies and they came through here.
The main problem with the movie lies in its story. The way it’s set up with Danvers learning the secrets of her past and the reveals that are made along the way such as the truth regarding the Skrulls and Carol’s friendship with a fellow Air Force Pilot named Maria Rambeau, are established but very little of things like these are delved into and play in defining our hero. In other words we see these things but we don’t experience them. And this comes as a detriment as the greatest strength of a superhero movie these days (particularly in Marvel) is the character defining the hero. We see Carol as a snarky and confident character but that’s pretty much all we get. The greatest strength of several superheroes on the big and little screen, men and women alike, is that while they are powerful and stoic we get to see the layers of emotional vulnerability they may have and how relationships to friends and family define their heroism and make them feel human so that the audience can relate to them. These layers are not very present within Carol Danvers and therefore it’s difficult to connect to the character. Brie Larson’s performance does what she can with the character it’s just that what she can do isn’t much and when she does showcase the aforementioned vulnerability it always feels like it’s behind a wall that never comes down. Some scenes like Carol’s with Maria’s daughter Monica show a bit of a different side to her but feel glossed over.
Given that the movie is set in the 90s it does give way to a couple of aspects that led up to the events of the MCU. Sometimes it works such as where Fury gets the idea for the Avengers Initiative. Some people may find the idea ridiculous but the thing about inspirations for art, names, etc. is that they can come from the most unexpected of places and that’s kind of what this movie did. But of course there’s the story of how Nick Fury lost his eye (due to Goose scratching him). The way Fury described it in Winter Soldier it taking an intriguing and intense line of dialogue and removing all of that for something downright goofy.
In regards to the action it is a mixed bag. When Carol gets to showcase her powers in the climax it is a spectacle to look at not only in showcasing the fighting itself but also in the various ways Carol uses her powers. However some of the action scenes take place in the dark, which makes it hard to make out the characters. On top of that, the action, while entertaining, lacks a unique style in its direction in comparison to other various Marvel movies.
Finally there’s Jude Law as the villain Yon-Rogg. Law was a good choice for a villain and while they establish him they don’t fully follow through with him or attempt to make him that interesting. Much like the rest of the characters, it didn’t really feel like there was much for him to work with.
On the whole this isn’t the worst MCU movie. It has a couple of good characters and some memorable moments but the writing of the story and characters doesn’t give the cast and characters much for them to work with. The movie wanted to make its title character powerful but didn’t flesh much of her out in the process. We are still having the origins for various Marvel characters today and given how much we’ve progressed this is rather disappointing.