So where does Captain Marvel slot into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Well, in terms of abilities, the character is hands down the most powerful out of all the MCU superheroes. As a movie experience though, it’s less Black Panther and more Ant Man, with a dash of the original Iron Man.

Despite the galactic scope of the film, which transports you to different planets and several spacecraft, Captain Marvel feels oddly constrained – a lower-budget Green Lantern. Its story also shares some similar beats to that DC Comics title as it follows human fighter pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) who barely survives a plane crash in 1989. She is saved, hauled off to space and given special powers by an elite Kree military force, under the leadership of Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). Amnesiac Carol is largely happy in her new life until a botched mission brings the war between the Kree and their shape-shifting arch-enemies, the Skrull, to Earth in the mid-Nineties. Dropped in the middle, Carol must resolve the conflict and uncover the mysteries of her past, while grudgingly working with new SHIELD agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

That sounds like a marvelous setup, but Captain Marvel doesn’t really have any moments of cinematic grandeur; of eye-popping, breath-stealing “comics as art” or “superheroes as gods” wow though. Then again, unlike the DC movies, the Marvel films, for the most part, have never been big on that.

Instead, they’re about providing two hours of breezy popcorn movie fun sprinkled with a few surprises and a deft handling of increasingly complex universe lore (pro tip: you may want to revisit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 before watching this one). Captain Marvel doesn’t deviate from the formula at all. Despite being the first MCU movie to centre on a female protagonist, it doesn’t strive to stand out the way Black Panther did last year. Good news for some guys though: Captain Marvel doesn’t come with a heavy-handed feminist agenda (although there is a hilarious nod to a certain Internet controversy triggered by the movie).

What you’ll find is considerable amount of humour, a depiction of actual female friendship and mentorship (the emotional heart of the movie), Ben Mendelsohn’s entertaining yet layered Skrull commander, serious 90s nostalgia value (with an amazing period soundtrack to boot) and a delightful bond between Samuel L. Jackson’s de-aged Nick Fury and Goose the cat.

Captain Marvel just lacks deeper resonance, thematically and emotionally. As much as I loathe to pit two women against each other, the Marvel film didn’t give me wish fulfilment chills the way Wonder Woman did. The montage of Brie Larson’s title character falling and getting up through her life forms part of a longer scene of inspiring personal triumph, but it still feels like visual shorthand. It’s no crossing of No Man’s Land.

Then again, Carol Danvers is a very different character to Gal Gadot’s charming and graceful Amazon Princess. Although they share the same moral code as highly trained warriors, Carol is a smart-mouthed impulsive rule-breaker. Broadening representation a bit, she’s another type of female hero for women to identify with – the childhood tomboy-turned-scrappy-fighter who routinely finds herself in the midst of trouble. Oh, and she actually smiles a lot, normally when she’s blasting holes through things and flinging about enemies. So there may be no finely-crafted No Man’s Land moment but Larson gets to show Carol celebrating her powers with pure, unadulterated, holler-at-the-sky joy à la Spider-Man. There’s also no unnecessary love story crowbarred into proceedings.

It’s still a little disappointing though that Captain Marvel plays it so safe and close to MCU formula, instead of embracing the daring of its lead character. For a significant entry in the franchise, it’s neither ambitious nor exceptional. It might be different for little girls dazzled by an inspiring, likeable heroine but I’m sure for the most of the adult audience it will be a case of watch, have fun, stay for all the credits scenes, go home, forget.

Note: Look out for Kervyn’s review as a hardcore comics fan and eagle-eyed Marvel easter egg hunter tomorrow.

Last Updated: March 6, 2019

Captain Marvel
Despite featuring the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first woman lead character, Captain Marvel sticks to the overarching franchise formula. It's two hours of breezy popcorn movie fun sprinkled with a few surprises and a deft handling of increasingly complex universe lore. Enjoyable but unambitious and unexceptional.
7.0
/10
64/ 100

142 Comments

  1. Llama In The Rift

    March 6, 2019 at 10:15

    Wonder Woman > Captain Marvel

    Yeah i said it

    Reply

  2. Alien Emperor Trevor

    March 6, 2019 at 10:15

    Hearing it’s standard, safe & formulaic Marvel movie just doesn’t inspire me to put on a pair of pants & trek to the cinema to watch the same movie I’ve seen a bunch of times already. I think I’ve got real Marvel fatigue instead of the imaginary Star Wars fatigue. That feels wrong, but there it is.

    Reply

    • RinceThis

      March 6, 2019 at 10:50

      Star Wars fatigué is real !

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        March 6, 2019 at 10:50

        No it’s not. It’s a made up term for people to justify why they don’t like the new movies much instead of just admitting that they’re simply not that good.

        Reply

        • RinceThis

          March 6, 2019 at 10:50

          Rubbish. People are just tired of space religion.

          Reply

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 6, 2019 at 10:57

            You leave the Scientologists alone!

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 10:58

            No!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 6, 2019 at 10:58

            You’re a tricksy suppressive hobbit.

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 11:05

            Star wars has always been meh. Orville. Is where it’s at.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 6, 2019 at 11:06

            That’s true. Quality dick jokes in that show.

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 11:06

            Superior to trek in all ways!

          • Captain JJ

            March 6, 2019 at 11:06

            Yea. The Orville is tasteful, clever and generally just a better sci-fi.

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 11:13

            Finally someone with sense.

          • Admiral Chief

            March 6, 2019 at 11:19

            How does it compare to The Expanse?

          • Skoobaz

            March 6, 2019 at 15:01

            Aww dude, The expanse.. Read all the books, seen all of S1-S3. C’mon S4 with Amazon. Cannot wait

          • Admiral Chief

            March 6, 2019 at 15:01

            I’ve only watched S1-S2

            Where to get them though? (LEGALLY)

          • Skoobaz

            March 6, 2019 at 15:20

            You mean, that guy that told me about that place over there to download them links..was actually a a a pirate?”? cos the closest i got listed on netflix was “the epic tales of captain underpants”!

          • Admiral Chief

            March 7, 2019 at 10:40

            Same here, I really want to watch it in full subtitled glory

          • Skoobaz

            March 7, 2019 at 12:51

            Subtiitles for the belters?
            “that fucking cool, Sabaka..”

          • Admiral Chief

            March 7, 2019 at 15:13

            Yeah, the *ahem* version I have, the vocals are really difficult to hear. Also, its cool to read the belters ‘language’

          • Skoobaz

            March 7, 2019 at 16:08

            gimme an email addy, I’ll share the link with you

          • Skoobaz

            March 7, 2019 at 16:08

            gimme an email addy, I’ll share the link with you

        • Captain JJ

          March 6, 2019 at 11:20

          Sometimes you say things and I like it.

          Reply

  3. Original Heretic

    March 6, 2019 at 10:15

    Still gonna watch the crap outta this. Necessary before End Game!

    Reply

    • For the Emperor!

      March 9, 2019 at 15:30

      It is a fun watch!

      Reply

      • Original Heretic

        March 10, 2019 at 15:36

        Definitely going this week!

        Reply

  4. FAQyoumate

    March 6, 2019 at 10:22

    Marvel’s first female superhero movie

    Ehm, Elektra? This movie sucks, but you can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist…. Ow, in this case you couldn’t chant your mantra «FIRST FEMALE SUPERHERO MOVIE» on every corner

    Reply

    • Kervyn Cloete

      March 6, 2019 at 10:29

      Simply put, Marvel didn’t make Elektra. They had very little to do with it, in fact. Fox owned the Daredevil cinematic rights back then, which included Elektra.

      Reply

      • Captain JJ

        March 6, 2019 at 11:06

        I think the argument is that it’s a Marvel hero.

        Reply

      • Ithica Jones

        March 6, 2019 at 13:11

        Are you trying to tell us that Elektra wasn’t a Marvel movie or based on a Marvel character? Are you dof?

        Reply

      • FAQyoumate

        March 6, 2019 at 10:37

        I like how you separate Marvel Comics and Marvel cinematic universe when it doesn’t fit with the modern trends

        Reply

    • The D

      March 6, 2019 at 10:29

      Two different eras I think. The current Marvel Cinematic Universe is leagues different from what 20th Century Fox produced in the 2000s. Captain Marvel is basically Disney’s first female superhero Marvel flick.

      Reply

      • FAQyoumate

        March 6, 2019 at 10:29

        You know that it doesn’t work this way, right? You can’t change facts

        Reply

        • The D

          March 6, 2019 at 10:36

          I’m not changing facts. Is Elektra the first flick based on Marvel’s material with a female-lead? Unfortunately, yes.

          But I look at the Disney franchise, the series that actually matters in the grand scheme of things and Brie Larson takes that honour.

          So yes, Captain Marvel is the first female-led flick in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a film that was made by Marvel and Disney.

          Reply

          • FAQyoumate

            March 6, 2019 at 10:50

            Well me personally, and I can bet other comics fans, are not separating the Marvel Comics from the Marvel cinematic universe and I don’t consider Captain Feminism the first FEMALE SUPERHERO MOVIE

          • The D

            March 6, 2019 at 10:50

            Okay my dude, good for you.

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 10:57

            Captain Feminism? That says more about your stance than anything else here hahaha!

          • FAQyoumate

            March 6, 2019 at 10:58

            AHahhaha. That’s hilarious. Almost like Larson’s performance. By the way, I don’t need to see the movie to know that it’s shit. Trailers show almost everything these days — the effects, the plot, the performance. Brie has a brick for a face. Lame, boring and lacking emotion, and that’s everything I needed to know before going to see a movie with her as the protagonist

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 11:05

            8chan is that way bud.

  5. Dutch Matrix

    March 6, 2019 at 10:22

    Wonder Woman is without a doubt, one of the best movies ever made. I was hoping Captain Marvel would be of the same caliber?
    Ah well. Still going to see it, nontheless. In the cinema, nogals.

    Reply

    • RinceThis

      March 6, 2019 at 10:50

      Hahaha! Are you high?

      Reply

      • Dutch Matrix

        March 6, 2019 at 11:13

        Ag Rince. There is this thing called having a personal opinion on a matter. I know my taste may seem pedestrian to you but that is what it is.

        Reply

        • RinceThis

          March 6, 2019 at 11:20

          You are saying wonder woman is the BEST movie ever made. That isn’t an opinion, that’s doff haha! tralalal!

          Reply

          • Pariah

            March 6, 2019 at 11:28

            People often forget that a simple addition of “I feel” or “I think that” changes everything, and they won’t get replies like this.

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 11:28

            yup, that is what I am teasing him about. hehe!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 6, 2019 at 11:28

            Not for Rince, he doesn’t have feelings or thinkings.

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 11:28

            blatant lies!

          • Pariah

            March 6, 2019 at 11:28

            Well I did start the sentence with “People”, so I thought that precluded him?

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 6, 2019 at 11:29

            This is an excellent point. I read way too fast.

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 11:29

            like most things you do

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 6, 2019 at 11:35

            Shut up, you’re a weirdleaner.

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 11:35

            where’s my dog?!

          • Dutch Matrix

            March 6, 2019 at 11:28

            Or you know, people with half a brain can assume I am speaking for myself about my own taste in stuff, without having to add “I think” or “I feel”

          • Pariah

            March 6, 2019 at 11:28

            People with a whole brain don’t assume. Ever.

          • RinceThis

            March 6, 2019 at 11:29

            THIS!

  6. G8crasha

    March 6, 2019 at 10:29

    This review doesn’t surprise me. When I watched the trailers, the movie gave me the impression of a bog-standard viewing experience. I guess it’s necessary viewing if you’ve committed to almost all of the previous MCU movies!

    Reply

  7. Pieter Kruger

    March 6, 2019 at 10:29

    If this DOESN’T tank the internet will explode….??? Looks great, definately gonna watch it!

    Reply

    • Kervyn Cloete

      March 6, 2019 at 10:36

      It won’t tank. Not a chance in hell. Pre-release ticket sales are high. Last I saw it was looking like a $350+ million global debut.

      Reply

      • Pieter Kruger

        March 6, 2019 at 10:37

        Fantastic news! Now we wait for all the “I was wrong about Captain Marvel” pieces…. All these hate campaigns seem to follow a strict script.

        Reply

  8. Admiral Chief

    March 6, 2019 at 10:37

    “There’s also no unnecessary love story crowbarred into proceedings”

    Noooooice

    Reply

  9. Pariah

    March 6, 2019 at 10:37

    “a lower-budget Green Lantern”.

    Ouchies.

    Also a note on context -> don’t take that quote in isolation please. Read the article.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      March 6, 2019 at 10:42

      Context, hah, we don’t care bout no context here on Lazygamer CH

      Reply

      • Pariah

        March 6, 2019 at 10:42

        * ’bout

        Reply

        • Ithica Jones

          March 6, 2019 at 13:19

          Is he canadian?

          Reply

          • Pariah

            March 6, 2019 at 13:27

            He’s way too mean to be Canadian.

    • For the Emperor!

      March 9, 2019 at 15:38

      That is a “sick burn”, but undeserved in my opinion 🙂

      Reply

  10. Captain JJ

    March 6, 2019 at 11:06

    “Marvel’s first female superhero movie”
    Objection!
    There was Red Sonja in the 1980s and there was Elektra. Sure, both aren’t great, but they exist.
    This is the whole Black Panther thing all over again when everyone conveniently forgot about Spawn and freaking Blade.

    Reply

    • FAQyoumate

      March 6, 2019 at 11:06

      Shh, they were not made by Marvel so technically they are not Marvel movies

      Reply

      • Captain JJ

        March 6, 2019 at 11:13

        Marvel heroes. Sure, I get the heading could mean either or both, but it’s ambiguous enough for anyone to make this assumption. So I’m just being THAT person.

        Reply

        • FAQyoumate

          March 6, 2019 at 11:13

          I’m also old enough and not braindead to remember Elektra and not to consider Captain Marvel the first Marvel movie with a female lead

          Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      March 6, 2019 at 11:13

      You’re being pointlessly pedantic. This is obviously referring to the MCU. 😛

      Reply

  11. Mielies the Magnificent

    March 6, 2019 at 11:13

    Less Black Panther and more Ant Man?? Sign me up!

    Reply

  12. Ithica Jones

    March 6, 2019 at 13:10

    Ok, so swipe left on Captain Marvel?

    Reply

    • Marigold's Revenge!

      March 6, 2019 at 14:03

      Swipe Left!

      Reply

  13. Marigold's Revenge!

    March 6, 2019 at 13:19

    I’m so disappointed. I was hoping that given all the drama, controversy and troll baiting that it would at least deliver something.

    Reply

    • For the Emperor!

      March 9, 2019 at 15:38

      It delivers enough. Some of the things that had me slightly worried, makes perfect sense after watching it. The “Mary-sue” part, the lack of smiles etc. Really liked it.

      Reply

  14. For the Emperor!

    March 6, 2019 at 22:11

    “doesn’t come with a heavy-handed feminist agenda” – that is good news for all I think. Personally, I did not really expect a “heavy-handed feminist agenda” at all, but some things said in the press by those involved with the movie made me doubt it. And I do hate it when actors/directors/etc try to push an agenda. Not doing that is something Wonder Woman and all involved there got RIGHT!

    Already have my tickets for Saturday. I just want to enjoy it with popcorn and friends without feeling like I am sitting in some SJW propaganda movie. As long as I get that, I will not complain too much.

    Reply

  15. For the Emperor!

    March 9, 2019 at 15:30

    After seeing the movie:
    “hands down the most powerful” – it makes total sense now!
    “hilarious nod to a certain Internet controversy” – I caught that! Made me laugh 🙂
    “No Man’s Land” – I think a certain line later on is MUCH more relevant and comparable to that.
    “she actually smiles a lot” – the “lack of smiling” is ALSO explained in the movie!

    The trailers did NOT do this movie justice at all. I really enjoyed it, even if it was “not made for me” 😉

    Reply

  16. For the Emperor!

    March 9, 2019 at 15:30

    After seeing the movie:
    “hands down the most powerful” – it makes total sense now!
    “hilarious nod to a certain Internet controversy” – I caught that! Made me laugh 🙂
    “No Man’s Land” – I think a certain line later on is MUCH more relevant and comparable to that.
    “she actually smiles a lot” – the “lack of smiling” is ALSO explained in the movie!

    The trailers did NOT do this movie justice at all. I really enjoyed it, even if it was “not made for me” 😉

    Reply

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