by Philip Price
Director: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson & Jude Law
Runtime: 2 hours & 4 minutes
“Captain Marvel,” notable for being the first female-led Marvel Cinematic Universe film after 21 movies, is a fun and sometimes unique take on the super hero origin story that unfortunately never finds its groove enough to the point it's somewhat fearful the character won’t be able to get her groove back when it comes time for “Avengers: Endgame.”
For all intents and purposes, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s MCU debut is your boilerplate Marvel origins story which, by virtue of where we’re now at in this universe, makes it feel small in comparison to even the most recent additions. Falling somewhere in between the muddled middle of “Doctor Strange” and “Black Panther,” Brie Larson's Carol Danvers isn't a riff on an origin story we've seen before, but neither does it have the added elements of magic as in ‘Strange’ or the advantage of introducing us to a new world a la ‘Panther.’
In a Phase Three world, a mostly Earth-set origin story was going to have to give us a little something more than also doubling as the origin story for Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury or - at least - it was going to need to find a really cool, really fresh way to convey that story. For example, in the opening 20 or so minutes of “Captain Marvel,” we are treated to what is essentially a “Star Wars” or “Star Trek” like space opera with the full-on introductions of the Kree and Skrull races we've heard whisperings of for years as well as to the Kree home planet and their military force for which Danvers has been trained by her mentor, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). Such introductions lend the film something of a “Guardians of the Galaxy” vibe, but the tone is different enough that this could simply be yet another facet of the MCU we haven't yet seen. Were Boden and Fleck, who also wrote the script alongside Geneva Robertson-Dworet, to harness the momentum of this initial set-up and action sequence, executing it in the fashion of a genre flick of this type that was released in the decade their film is set, the film might have proven to be a more unique and odd side venture for the MCU, but unlike the flavor Taika Waititi brought to “Thor: Ragnarok” or the subversiveness James Gunn infused his “Guardians of the Galaxy” films with, “Captain Marvel” ends up being a perfectly serviceable, but highly average entry in the ever-expanding MCU; a movie that feels more like the pilot of a ‘90s spin-off series that never hits the same strides as the series that inspired it rather than the explosive debut it could seemingly have so easily been.