REVIEW: CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019)

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CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019)

 

Latest MCU film begins with the tale of Vers (Brie Larson), an elite warrior for the Kree Starforce who are fighting an invasion by shape-shifting beings known as Skrulls. Vers is captured by the Skrulls and upon escaping her imprisonment, finds out they are looking for a woman named Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening), a scientist on planet D-53…Earth. Vers crash lands on Earth, where it’s the year 1995 and soon finds all is not what it seems and her strange dreams may be memories from her life there, as Air Force pilot Carol Danvers. With her team commander Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) out of reach and Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) in hot pursuit, can Vers/Carol find out who she really is and how she got her powers?

Superhero epic is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script and story by they, Meg LeFauve, Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Nicole Perlman. Five people on a screenplay is rarely good news and too many cooks do spoil the soup here. The story is choppy and feels like exactly what it is, a script Frankenstein-ed together by five different writers. Add to that, it is one of the most flatly directed of the Marvel epics and you have a disappointing first adventure for Carol Danvers. The action is bland and routine, there is little suspense or excitement and the 90s nostalgia is overdone, with too many songs shoehorned into the soundtrack and far too many pop culture references for it’s own good. The film seems to stop dead sometimes to almost scream out “Hey, look…it’s the 90s”. It’s obtrusive. Even Captain Marvel’s spectacular powers are presented without any of the awe and wonder they need to give them impact. The only thing that elevates this by-the-numbers epic is the veteran cast.

Here is where Captain Marvel gets it’s only luster. Oscar winner Brie Larson is a great choice to play Danvers and her confident swagger and disarming smile really help the audience warm up to her and she’s very likable despite a mediocre maiden voyage. She also is solid in the action scenes and we wish that action were more worthy of it’s leading lady’s charm and spinning back-kicks. She has a great chemistry with her Kong: Skull Island co-star Samuel L. Jackson, who returns as a younger, and somewhat less hardened Nick Fury. Jackson is jackson and he seems to be having a good time as Larson’s second banana. Ben Mendelsohn is good as Talos and the Skrull has a disarming sarcasm to his delivery and a few secrets of his own. Bening, Jude Law and Agent Coulson himself, Clark Gregg, all do well despite underwritten parts. We even get a few brief moments from Lee Pace returning as Guardians of the Galaxy’s Ronan The Accuser, along with his henchmen Korath, again played by Djimon Hounsou…and let’s not forget “Goose” the cat.

Overall, this is one of Marvel’s lesser efforts and sometimes feels thrown together just to introduce the Captain before she returns to kick Thanos ass in Avengers: Endgame. It’s bland and very routine and it’s only a stellar effort by the film’s cast that elevates it above an outright failure. You know a movie is in trouble when it’s mid-credits and post-credits scenes are better than the movie that precedes them. At least the film opens with a wonderful goodbye to Stan Lee, where images from all his Marvel cameos replace the usual heroes in the Marvel logo sequence. A very touching moment and one wishes the rest of the movie had as much heart.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) Marvels.

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW: THE AVENGERS (2012)

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THE AVENGERS (2012)

What better way to follow up a double feature of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger then with the movie they all lead up to!…

One of the most anticipated movies in years, The Avengers blasts onto the screen and lives up to every bit of the hype and delivers more of the goods, then any fanboy/girl could hope for. The story picks up from the earlier Marvel films with Thor’s brother Loki (the scene stealing Tom Hiddleston) stealing the Tesseract, the cube last seen in the hands of Captain America’s villain, The Red Skull, and plotting with an aggressive alien race to use it to conquer Earth and beyond. It’s up to Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), along with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and S.H.E.I.L.D. to save the world… if they don’t kill each other first. Joss Whedon (TV’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly) is no stranger to ensemble pieces and he perfectly handles the large number of characters, giving each their fair share of the spotlight and adding some nice background to those not focused on in previous films. Black Widow in particular is given some nice depth and some solid scenes after her small role in Iron Man 2. Whedon, who also wrote the script, brings his trademark humor to full use here providing some laugh out loud funny lines and hilarious moments between characters… none of which I will spoil. Joss also weaves in some intense drama and shows a gift for large scale action with the climactic confrontation in NYC being a cinematic spectacle as are the numerous action sequences that precede it. Avengers is a massive epic movie and Whedon’s camera captures it all without forgetting his characters. The cast all shine in their roles including new Bruce Banner, Mark Ruffalo, whose motion capture Hulk has some scene stealing moments, and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye seen only as a cameo in Thor. The Avenger’s can take it’s place as one of the greatest superhero movies yet and is the perfect summer blockbuster providing not only spectacular action and mind blowing SPFX but, a smart and witty story to give weight to all the eye candy. Sure it has some flaws and there are some plot holes but, with all the film does give us, those can be easily forgiven and forgotten. This is how films like this should be made. Awesome entertainment! Avengers also stars Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill and Clark Gregg and Stellan Skarsgård returning as Agent Coulson and Erik Selvig respectively with a cameo by Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. In true Marvel film fashion stay through the entire credits for not one but, two post-credits scenes. A real fun blast!

4 sexy superheroines!

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Drat! I was hoping for at least a cautionary spanking…

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