Review: ‘Captain Marvel’ is good, but not worth the ‘cultural battle’

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Sam Stroud

Staff Writer

Ever since the “Captain Marvel” movie was announced and Marvel Studios began to indicate that this character would become the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there has been a of cultural battle between two opposing camps of Marvel fans.  

The first group are people want this movie to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. The second group wants it to sink faster than the Titanic — the ship, not the film. 

Some see “Captain Marvel” as a cultural landmark for women and female empowerment since this is Marvel’s first MCU film to center around a single female superhero. 

Others take this character to be one of the worst cinematic “Mary Sues” of all time and are worried they will be force-fed identity politics throughout Captain Marvel’s tenure as a lead character in the MCU. 

With all of this in mind, is the movie which is sparking all of this division good? Or even worth the hype or hate it is receiving?

To cut straight to the chase, in my opinion, the movie is the textbook definition of mediocre. I didn’t hate it; I didn’t love it. 

In fact, after leaving the cinema, I didn’t feel much of anything toward the movie. 

First, the positives: the acting is great almost entirely across the board, with one major exception. The plot works and does enough to keep the audience engaged throughout the film as well as to develop characters in the story and flesh others out more. 

The humor is on point, and jokes which are attempting to relax the audience after tense situations are well written and usually land. 

The movie also adds quite a bit of backstory to the MCU, which makes sense and fits in perfectly with the rest of the pre-established universe. 

All in all, there was only one thing that kept this movie from being very good. 

Brie Larson’s performance as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel is awful — there is simply no other way to put it. Multiple times throughout the film, I cringed at some truly awful line deliveries from her which killed potentially great scenes. 

Her inability to communicate emotions besides anger and defiance also hinder the movie. The scenes which are supposed to convey her vulnerability and humanity don’t work because Larson isn’t acting vulnerable; she just acts slightly less angry than usual. 

While the story and cast around Larson are fine, they aren’t good enough to overshadow her dismal performance, which severely hampers the film’s quality. The writing and actions are there in the film to make a very compelling character. 

It’s just painfully clear Larson can’t handle the material she is given. The movie suffers badly because of this flaw. 

Once you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, this movie sparked more controversy than it was worth. The movie is a solid B+ without Brie Larson, but when one takes into account her awful performance, the film downgrades to a C. 

“Captain Marvel” does not create a paradigm shift in the MCU the way “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” did, and it’s not good or bad enough to vindicate either the die-hard supporters or haters. 

In the end, it’s a decent movie with a terrible lead, and that’s nothing to have a cultural war over. 

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