Phil's Quick Capsule Review

My Problem With Captain Marvel by Motion Picture Maniac

Well here’s a review (well, kind of review) I didn’t want to write, the first ever MCU movie I don’t like and it’s the one released under circumstances dictating that if you don’t like it then you’re a sexist! Guess I should address that too – of course I’m not sexist you peanut! Any movie that I think has boring cinematography, badly shot fight scenes, a generic and underwhelming story and more than a few silly scenes to shake out of even the silliest of superhero celluloid (meow) is going to disappoint me whether it stars a male or female. Do I hate Captain Marvel? No, definitely not, in fact I understand the appeal completely, Marvel, the studio, has put forth a female superhero after many years of awkwardly dancing around such a venture and she’s connecting with people – good stuff, Sam L. Jackson says fuck the haters and rightly so, good for him, but me personally? Regarding my own opinion? I would be lying if I said Captain Marvel… “clicked”, I didn’t really like it all that much but the reasons I’m feeling more anger than the problems I have with it seem to warrant is to do with something bigger than just this single movie.

Let me explain from the beginning:

There’s been talk of the Marvel formula running out of steam for some time now, while still good, Doctor Strange was criticised for basically being Iron Man all over again, Ant-man and the Wasp was a straight up comedy with no depth whatsoever etc. And, for the most part, they’ve gotten away with it, there was barely an original bone in Black Panther’s body regarding plot but it was fun and, to many, revolutionary enough so that didn’t matter; I myself was only noticing this issue as opposed to being truly bothered by it. Then Infinity War rolled along and suggested that maybe, just maybe, all that formula floundering was going to change, with Captain Marvel, however, I think they’ve gone backwards in too many areas and the film, for me, was just very same old – same old.

Not in all areas of course, it’s great that they’ve finally pulled their finger out and for Christ’s sake just cast a female lead already, but am I the only one who thinks it draws attention to their previous attitude that doing so before was some kind of “ooh, I don’t know about that” difficult obstacle to overcome? I mean what was all that not doing a black widow toy about when Age of Ultron was making the rounds? We shouldn’t giving them points just because they finally grew up and did it at this point, if it’s turned out so good then why aren’t we demanding to know why it took them so long, like what was the problem before if it’s always been a big deal? Not to mention Wonder Woman having beaten them to it but Marvel’s is the arse to kiss so let’s just ignore it when DC does it first (and better) because that’s the trend right?

That’s what I am angry about in all this, the one thing that I do hate about Captain Marvel, it represents the double standard behind the whole DC vs Marvel thing, which I wouldn’t be that bothered about if A: I was still getting now scrapped DC movies I was looking forward to that were in play before everyone started bitching. And B: it didn’t mean good filmmaking has nothing to do with effort but rather the name of the brand. You wanna make a film everyone will hate no matter how hard you try? No matter how well shot it is or how high the level of production value? Well then just make a DCEU movie of course, and be sure to take it in original directions and do something new with the tired old material because they’ll really loath you for that! You wanna make a film everyone will just agree is good no matter how much you slack off? Then Marvel is the studio for you.

Marvel hasn’t exactly been a safe haven for auteur filmmakers with ideas of their own for some time now and as a result their films have gotten more and more workman-like over the years, the cinematography is becoming almost non existent, the stories are getting more and more familiar and therefor: underwhelming, their SFX have started to nose dive in quality; and if I was feeling pretentious I’d say they’re almost not even real films at this point but financial-minded merchandise products of themselves first and foremost. The days of the first Iron Man are over, and DC , starting its slate with risk taking, doing things differently and new ideas, gets ripped apart for daring to do so despite being better made films (shut up, yes they are, a fictional character abandoning their moral compass and going on a killing spree does not automatically mean bad filmmaking by definition, get a grip). To make a long story short, I’m a bit miffed that Captain Marvel has no style or artistry but everyone loves it anyway, while films that do have style and artistry and tones not broken up with awkward humour to break the tension, like Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, get torn apart regardless because “Superman didn’t smile enough” and now I don’t get my Justice League sequels because you people couldn’t stop moaning for five minutes – THANKS!

Captain Marvel has no art, personality, no passion, nothing much to say outside of “we’re doing a female superhero movie, aren’t we great!” It’s a film that looks like the two directors were never present, it’s a corporate machine, a conveyor belt of a movie that doesn’t take any risks, try anything new or even look that well made if I’m being honest, it didn’t do it for me. From a pedestrian view point I didn’t think Brie Larson was giving 110%, some of her line delivery felt a bit wooden at times, I thought the cinematography was just plain bad, there were times the editing was very mechanical: like during a scene early on in which Larson gestures her fists at Jude Law while they were talking between close-ups, but when she gestures it cuts to a wide shot dollying backwards that clearly wasn’t meant to go there before awkwardly cutting back to close-ups again.

Some of the fight scenes are shot very badly and way too close (but hey, they’re not hand held like man of steel so they’re automatically good right? Honestly, fuck all of you!) the humour was a bit out of place here and there, the various twists and turns scattered about the story did nothing for me, the way Nick Fury lost his eye was insultingly stupid and while his young CGI was very good and the action scenes you can actually see are indeed entertaining, I’m sorry to report Captain Marvel just wasn’t for me, although I am a white guy so maybe that was intentional (I’m kidding, I’m kidding, I’m kidding).

I felt similarly about Shazam too, while I think that’s a better film because the story of a boy with the power to turn into a super powered grown-up should appropriately be very silly and funny (and it found success on those fronts), the direction and look was rather generic and uninteresting, but no one seems to care! Mainstream movies with darker tones are being punched in the face regardless of how well made they are because the definition of good filmmaking nowadays has nothing to do with original ideas, deeper stories and directors with personality, but rather depends on just whether or not they’re “fun”.

I’d like to see The Dark Knight receive its masterly reputation if it came out today, and why is this the case? Why are films with so-so style, look and production getting a pass as long as they’re fun/funny while better made films get ripped apart just for wanting to be a bit more serious minded? I’ll tell you why: the same reason making a badly received film apparently seems to warrant online abuse because your daughter commits suicide, it’s just one more way the human race SUCKS!


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Motion Picture Maniac

Motion Picture Maniac

Writer, film lover and blogger. And now sadly retired from this site (rumour is he went to Russia live with the Tsars.)

Favourite Film: Touch Of Evil (used to be se7en but kinda fell out of love with it after this whole thing with Kevin Spacey came to light), Most underrated movie: everything by Zack Snyder. Most overrated movie: Carrie