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HALA — Marvel is moving its cinematic universe forward yet again this weekend with the release of “Captain Marvel.”
This is the first Marvel movie of 2019, but it will not be the last. “Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters in April and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” arrives in July. That’s just Marvel — there are two X-Men movies headed to theaters this year, as well as some DC Comics offerings.
Regardless, 2019 has a lot of superheroes headed to the theater, but “Captain Marvel” is the first and I’m here to tell you it’s OK.
I have not jumped on board with the superhero craze as most of the world has. So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that I wasn’t in love with “Captain Marvel.” It’s not a bad movie, but it’s nothing too terribly special.
Here’s what’s right and what’s wrong with “Captain Marvel.”
The second half
For me, “Captain Marvel” was a tale of two halves. I had a rough relationship with the first hour or so, but the back half of the film turned things around.
The last hour of the film changes direction and starts getting us interested in characters and storyline, and finally gets entertaining. There are second-half twists that keep you engaged and, finally, some stakes that you actually care about.
The second half strikes the right balance between playful and serious and makes for one of the stronger parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Again, that’s just the second half; we’ll get into why the first half of the film makes for one of the weaker Marvel entries later.
Fight scenes are well choreographed and over-the-top, which is what we want in these films. The aerial dogfight scenes are dizzying and engaging while tension is built in the right moments.
One scene, in particular, in an archives room with motion lights is particularly well done and made for one of the tensest moments of the film.
This is an action movie and I felt it delivered on that promise.
The first half
I told you we’d get here. The first half of this movie is an odd mesh of scattered flashbacks and off-world storylines that get too convoluted and forced to really be enjoyable.
I understand the story calls for this confusion, but it wasn’t played out well and makes for a pretty boring first half. There are some fight scenes and a few things blow up, but that can’t make up for the poor execution.
It also seemed like all of the actors started caring about their performances in the second half of the film and not the first. I just wasn’t buying any of it.
Overall, everything from the character motivations to the jokes in the first half felt really forced. I didn’t buy any of the relationships and felt like most of the characters were cardboard cutouts that we really couldn’t care less about.
It’s no “Wonder Woman”
This is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to focus on a female hero.
There have previously been female heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but none have had their own film.
This was a benchmark moment for Marvel and they turned in a film that kind of did it justice. They try hard with the girl-rock soundtrack and message that when people push you down or tell you that you can’t do something because of your gender, you get back up and prove them wrong.
For my money, however, “Wonder Woman” did it much better and was just a better film overall.
I did like the message “Captain Marvel” conveyed, however, I just think DC Comics did it better this time. I am looking forward to showing my daughters “Captain Marvel” and getting them excited about another female superhero, so I definitely appreciate that.
Truth be told, it’s getting difficult to write the reviews for these superhero flicks.
Now and then, we get one that really surprises us and gets us excited about the genre again. But more often than not, they’re much like “Captain Marvel” and end up being another copy of a somewhat entertaining film that we’ve seen dozens of times already.
I look to be entertained with these Marvel Cinematic Universe films and I can say “Captain Marvel” kept me entertained for an hour of its two-hour run time.
Check KSL.com on Friday for a parents content guide for the film.
“Captain Marvel” is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief suggestive language.