There are many movies in Marvel Cinematic Universe that are the equivalent of a king size candy bar: basically empty calories with very little nutritional value. They feel good while you’re eating them, but you afterwards you feel less than awesome. This is exactly how I felt watching Captain Marvel. As the credits rolled I wondered why I didn’t feel more satisfied. I had fun sitting there watching it, yet it was fairly forgettable.
It stars Brie Larson as the title character, a space soldier of the Kree empire with odd dreams and memories that she is told aren’t hers’. Shortly after learning a bit about her people and her job, she gets assigned a mission to stop an alien race from taking over another planet. Hijinks ensue and eventually she ends up on Earth (or Terran, as space people in the MCU refer to it).
As with most Marvel movies there are some pretty great action scenes, although not nearly as good as Black Panther, per se. And also regrettably like Black Panther, there are some really terrible special effects in the third act. Marvel could benefit from making more judicious decisions on the effects houses they hire for their solo ventures because it seems to be becoming a pattern.
The film had a lot of similarities to Guardians of the Galaxy, as the trailers suggested it would. Many of the same characters show up, despite taking place over 20 years earlier. And like Guardians it relies on pop music as much of its soundtrack.
It’s no secret that the film takes place in the 90’s and all of the songs featured are meant to reinforce the nostalgia that only the likes of REM and No Doubt can provide. This is Marvel’s first nostalgia pic, and it kind of shows. It really beats you over the head with it in parts, but was fun in others.
It’s easiest to compare this film to 2017’s Wonder Woman. And unfortunately Captain Marvel quite simply pales in comparison to DC’s super-heroine outing. It felt as if the filmakers at Marvel were so afraid to get called misogynists that they forgot to take any risks. They are an insanely risk-averse studio (which has paid off for them) and this movie is a prime example of it. The main character doesn’t have much an of arc. There really aren’t any themes explored. It’s just bland. Compare that with Wonder Woman, which defied the genre and leaned into its sincerity and vulnerability.
Captain Marvel is good popcorn fun. It isn’t nearly as good as any of the other recent films put out by Marvel Studios, but it is a good time.