By John H. Foote
Despite beautiful, lavish visual effects, the very presence of the sanctimonious #MeToo zealot Brie Larson made this a very difficult film to like. The hypocrisy of Larson taking on a super hero film, then making clear her disdain for the fanboys who will make her film a hit, was hard to stomach. It threw me back to her presenting the Oscar to Casey Affleck for Best Actor, refusing to smile for him, refusing to enjoy the moment with him instead drawing attention to allegations made against the actor. There is a holier than thou attitude working against the actress which distracts from attention that belongs on her performance. She seems to be judge, jury and executioner.
You do not want the fanboys? Don’t make such a film! Why bite the very hands which feed her? If the film is a hit, which seems likely, she surely has points in the film and her price will go up with her success. She benefits directly from those fanboys she seems to hold in disdain. Does she truly believe we live in a world where it is absolute guilt by accusation?
Larson is a gifted actress, no question. She has won an Academy Award for Best Actress in Room (2015) and deserved a nomination before that in Short Term 12 (2013). Why would she choose to follow a superb performance in Room with a super hero film when she has made it clear she hates the very fans who will see the film.
Her arrogance is blinding, her contempt pathetic and very sad.
My feelings about Miss Larson are my own, and while I admire her as an actress I do not think much of her as a person.
On to what matters, the movie.
It ain’t no Wonder Woman (2017).
Marvel was hoping for a major film with a female super hero, but Captain Marvel will not be it.
Are people not tired of origin super hero films? I am, in fact I am sick to death of them, if tomorrow they stopped making such films I would be OK with that. Now haters, let me be clear: I loved Superman (1978), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Spider-Man 2 (2004), The Dark Knight (2008), Iron Man (2008) and Wonder Woman (2017). The rest? Nope, not interested. Their massive budgets leech money out of the studios from other films, meaning many original films are not getting made because of these films. Further, they are essentially critic proof because even if they are weak movies, see Batman vs. Superman (2015), they will be a massive hit at the box office.
I have no doubt Captain Marvel will be huge and of course tie into the upcoming Avengers film as Captain Marvel challenges the bad guy Thanos who killed off a number of Avengers in the last installment. In a deeply moving and frightening sequence, members of the Avengers were turned to ash by the snap of Thanos fingers. Most shattering was young Peter Parker, aka Spider Man, realizing he was about to die, allowing his fear to come through as he was cradled by Iron Man.
Carol Danvers is Captain Marvel, whose beginnings are set in 1995, well before everyone carried a cell phone, the internet had not taken over the world, and movies were rented on VHS tapes from your local Blockbuster. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) was around, and still had both eyes. The film explores the origins of the hugely powerful Captain Marvel, out to do good, eventually joining The Avengers.
The film is entertaining, even fun, and the creators were smart enough not to make a super hero film reeking of self importance.
Larson is very good as Marvel, we believe her which is essential for such a film. She has always had a strong screen presence, and perfect brown eyes that betray her emotions. Does she surpass Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman, no, not at all, but it is a solid start for her in the role.
Jackson is, as always terrific as Fury, who must have developed his snarl when he lost his eye. Yes, we find out how. No, you are not going to read it here.
Annette Bening looks lost in the film, wondering how the hell this happened to her?
The film is not bad but breaks no new ground other than the Marvel Universe continues to expand, which I am not sure is a good thing.
Most frustrating is seeing the film, taking the time to write a review that in the end will not matter. The film will be huge, good or bad. Captain Marvel is neither, just disappointing and unnecessary.
One of Canada’s best-known film critics, he spent 10 years on TV as co-host of Reel to Real, and another 10 in education (still writing as a critic) as Director of the Toronto Film School, where he created the curriculum for three programs and taught film history. Film has always been his passion. He has written for magazines such as Toronto Life, Fashion and Hollywood North, been quoted in the Los Angeles and New York Times, as well as the major Toronto dailies. Online he has written for such sites as The Wrap, In Contention, Awards Circuit and The Cinemaholic. His first book Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker, was published in 2010. His second Steven Spielberg: American Film Visionary, a massive volume, has just found a publisher and he’s working on American Film Renaissance – 1967-2018 with Nick Maylor. As a critic, he has had the good fortune to interview directors and stars such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Emma Stone, Jane Fonda, and countless others. As he quips, “Everyone but Jack Nicholson!”