3/10 It must be really awkward for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to hit such a low point in between two of their biggest and most climactic films but here we are. Before I begin, I will get the positives out of the way, because there really aren’t many to be found here. The best aspect is probably the visual effects and in particular the de-aging effects used on Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg. I remember in “Captain America: Civil War” when they de-aged Robert Downey Jr. in a scene and you could still tell it was CGI and came off as a little awkward but just a few years later, the technology looks incredible and they killed it. Samuel L. Jackson also gives the best performance in the movie and has a lot of fun here. Some of the action is well done and some of the film score works as well. That is all I can say that works here. The rest of this extended review will explain why this is not only a bad movie but probably the worst Marvel film in the MCU (or at LEAST bottom 3). I rightfully complained when I reviewed “Doctor Strange” that Doctor Strange was way too similar to Tony Stark as a character so we had already seen this character before. In that same regards, Captain Marvel is essentially Diet Captain America. She is charisma free, doesn’t have much of a personality, does some mean spirited things (1. I think stealing someone’s vehicle makes you worse than being a person who tells women to smile and 2. She destroys a juke box for no reason/causes property damage to a local business owner’s place of business) and like this movie, comes off as really bland. Having such a bland lead character and such a forgettable villain really help to sink this movie. There are two elements in this movie which are also extremely forced. The first of which is the girl power/feminism. You know how the guy at the bar who acts the toughest and says he can kick everyone’s ass is actually not the toughest guy but instead all talk and the quiet guy who doesn’t boast or brag is the one you have to look out for? Well stay with me on this because that relates to this movie. There have been many, badass feminist women in films. The Bride from the “Kill Bill” films, Sarah Connor from the “Terminator” franchise, Ripley from the “Alien” franchise, etc. Even recently, “Alita: Battle Angel” had a badass female lead. All of those badass females didn’t have to tell you how badass and feminist they were. They were just being themselves, kicking ass, being strong and we as the audience already knew. This movie has to tell and show you how progressive and feminist it is which is just so forced and cringe worthy. Look at that jerk telling her to smile but she ignores him! So empowering! Listen to her tell the villain in the end how she doesn’t have to prove herself to him! Stunning and brave! The movie tries way too hard to tell you what a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man she is, instead of just giving her an actual personality and having her kick ass and be awesome. The other and more painfully forced aspect of the movie is its 1990s setting. Oh look, a troll doll! Oh look, a Rubik cube! Oh look, Blockbuster! Oh look, Radioshack! Oh look, a Fonzy lunch box! Oh look, arcade games! The movie can’t go 10 seconds without beating the audience in the head with a nostalgic 90s reference because the audience must be too dumb to remember what decade we are in. Ironically, some of it doesn’t make sense. We see in a flashback to 1989 Carol playing Street Fighter II, which wasn’t released for another three years. Flaws like that are so easy to avoid if you are a film maker so it is really lazy to let that slide, despite it being minor. The forced nostalgia also infects the movie’s soundtrack and doesn’t work. A song or two would have been fine (I still absolutely loved when “Iron Man 3” opened with “Blue” by Eiffel 65 for a flashback scene) but they not only force all this 90s music in but it just doesn’t go with what is happening on screen. I could probably forgive all of the 90s music if it matched up with what was happening on screen but it really doesn’t. So when “Just A Girl” by No Doubt comes on during a fight scene, the song doesn’t match at all with the fight going down and there is just no subtlety with its feminism and 90s nostalgia and it is eye rollingly cringe worthy and painful to watch. The whole Goose the cat character was also really stupid for a lot of reasons. First off, despite Samuel L. Jackson’s great performance, him being obsessed/lovey dovey with a cat was completely out of character from everything we have seen his character do across all of these Marvel films. They see the cat in a hallway of a building that requires finger prints to get through most doors and yet later the cat mysteriously appears on their ship as they fly away. I wondered how the cat was able to get through so many closed doors when cats can’t open doors and half of the doors need finger print security clearances. But they had to force the cat to be in more scenes because cats are cute or something. Also, we see how Nick Fury gets his eye messed up and needs an eyepatch and not only is it really stupid but it is the most unnecessary piece of information since we found out how Han Solo gets his name in “Solo: A Star Wars Story”. I would have rather not known what happened to his eye than had it be handled this way for failed comedic effect. Since Captain Marvel has no romantic interest in this movie (a wise decision), they try to make the emotional relationship between her and her black female friend from the Air Force. When they are reunited, her friend is so emotional because she thought Carol had died. It could have been this really emotionally strong moment between two best friends but we as the audience feel absolutely nothing because we haven’t seen the two of them in any scenes bonding as friends. We don’t get to know them and watch their friendship blossom. We just see second long flashes of the two of them but we don’t see their relationship so when they are reunited, it means nothing to us and is devoid of emotion. So even that friendship aspect doesn’t work. Brie Larson has given some terrific performances (“Short Term 12” and “Room” come to mind) but due to this script, even her performance falls a little flat and lacks personality. I could go on about the many, many problems this movie has but I think I have gotten my point across. An occasionally boring movie with bland direction, an unlikable lead, a forgettable villain, forced feminism and 90s references and no wit or humor adds up to a complete artistic failure for the MCU. I’m sure the character of Captain Marvel deserves better than this. The film’s first post credits scene is fantastic and gets us super pumped up for “Avengers: Endgame” but the second post credits scene at the very end is really stupid, as all the Marvel post credit scenes that happen at the very end tend to be since they are there for humor instead of plot. Marvel needs to stick with one post credit scene that happens for plot’s sake and ditch the second, dumb ones that make you waste eight minutes of sitting through credits to see. If you have seen all the Marvel movies, I am sure you will see this one but if there is one Marvel movie you should skip, it is definitely this dud.
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