Captain Marvel critics call out “terrific buddy-movie chemistry” but some missed potential too

Captain Marvel is hitting screens this week, and the standalone debut of the most powerful hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has critics everywhere furiously typing. As both the last Marvel movie to hit screens before Avengers 4 (opens in new tab): Endgame and the first film to really introduce us to Captain Marvel as a person, not just a powerhouse, it has a lot riding on its armored shoulders. Let’s see what the critics think!

Captain Marvel delivers on its premise even if it isn’t an all-time great – GamesRadar+ (opens in new tab) (4/5) 

“The gag rate isn’t as consistent as the funniest Marvel movies, but there’s plenty of humor mined from the ’90s setting […]. After a slow build-up, once Captain Marvel starts to grasp her powers and untangle her past, the film soars, delivering in terms of epic action and emotional resonance. If it doesn’t quite go higher, further, and faster than recent standout standalones Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok, it also more than lives up to the brand name that it wears with pride.”

Captain Marvel gets fast and fun after she lands on Earth – Seattle Times (opens in new tab) (3/4) 

“Those not intimately acquainted with the comic books might find the film a bit slow to start – until Captain Marvel, sent to Earth to battle the Skrulls, crash-lands in a Blockbuster Video store. […] As soon as she meets Jackson’s Fury – the character’s just beginning his career as a government agent, and is called upon to investigate her unexpected arrival – things click into place; the two actors have an easy, funny chemistry, and the film nicely balances saving-the-day-swooping-around with charming character bits. (Also displaying star-quality chemistry: Jackson and the cat, who really should get their very own franchise.)”

Captain Marvel’s message is unsubtle but (mostly) effective – TheWrap (opens in new tab) (Unscored) 

“Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s take on the Carol Danvers origin story jettisons subtlety in its messaging of female empowerment and anti-imperialism to varying degrees of success. At times, the film has all the makings of a wildly effective Nike commercial. You know the kind, girls falling down and getting up again, withstanding jeers and taunts until you’re weeping on your couch? But the two co-directors, working from a script they co-wrote with Geneva Robertson-Dworet, have seemingly taken a tip from all that surrounds them in 2019 that renders subtlety obsolete and beats on some well-worn sexist tropes with a story that screams: ‘I guess you did not hear us when we said we don’t want to smile!'”

Captain Marvel’s a cool hero but not much of a personality – Associated Press (opens in new tab) (Unscored) 

“I spent over two hours with Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers and I still have no idea what her personality is. Sure, there’s a lot more going on in Captain Marvel, but it’s a pretty egregious failing considering that the creative bigwigs at Marvel had 10 years and 20 films to work it out. It’s hard to say whether that’s a flaw in Brie Larson’s performance or a failure of the script, but I came out of the film from writers/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck not caring all that much about her beyond what her dazzling powers might mean for the next Avengers film, which is perhaps the lamest way of all to experience these movies.”

Captain Marvel isn’t in charge of her own story – Vox (opens in new tab) (3/5) 

“Carol Danvers is a good soldier until Nick Fury tells her that she’s actually someone who isn’t afraid to buck authority and do what’s right. Carol Danvers drives fast because her Air Force co-pilot and best friend Maria Rambeau says she drives fast. Carol Danvers is fearless because Maria’s daughter tells her that she’s fearless. In the Captain Marvel comic books, what made Carol appealing is that she was the author of her own destiny. In the Captain Marvel comic books, what made Carol appealing is that she was the author of her own destiny. But in her first cinematic foray and this specific telling of her origin story, that part of her history has been skimmed off the top.”

Captain Marvel’s young Nick Fury and Agent Coulson are a treat – Chicago Sun-Times (opens in new tab) (3.5/4) 

“Larson and Jackson have terrific buddy-movie chemistry, whether they’re giving each other grief or covering each other’s behinds. We’ve seen ‘de-aging’ technology before, e.g., Michael Douglas in Ant-Man, Kurt Russell in Guardians Vol. 2, and Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War, but the magic reaches new levels here. The 70-year-old Jackson and the 56-year-old Clark Gregg, who plays Coulson, look 30 years younger. Even on the enormous Imax screen at Navy Pier, there was never a moment when I didn’t buy into these younger versions of Agents Fury and Coulson.”

See where this could all be going with quotes from the cast about the Avengers 4 ending (opens in new tab).

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