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Captain Marvel: Female-led superhero film labelled ‘perfunctory’ by critics

Captain Marvel: Female-led superhero film labelled 'perfunctory' by critics

Brie Larson was named best actress at the 2016 Oscars for her role in Room

 

Published in BBC, on Mar 7th, 2019,

Captain Marvel is an “entertaining” and “robust” superhero movie but is not the game-changer Black Panther and Wonder Woman were, according to critics.

The film, the first from Marvel to have a stand-alone female lead, stars Oscar-winner Brie Larson as an intergalactic warrior with untapped super powers.

According to the Telegraph, the Room actress gives a “terrific” performance that is “big on girl-boss attitude”.

Yet other reviewers are less impressed, calling the film “perfunctory”.

“The picture is not dull, exactly, just mundane,” writes Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter.

In a review headed with the words “It’s no Black Panther”, he accuses Captain Marvel of “unimaginative plotting, cut-rate villains [and] a bland visual style.”

Screen Daily’s Tim Grierson expresses similar reservations, calling the film “fun and breezy but also a tad familiar” and its action sequences “sturdy but unspectacular”.

Jude Law and Brie Larson in Captain MarvelImage copyright DISNEY/MARVEL
Image caption Britain’s Jude Law co-stars in the film as the leader of an intergalactic security force

 

Directed by indie film-making duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel is the 21st instalment in the series of Marvel blockbusters that began with 2008’s Iron Man.

Only one of its predecessors, last year’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, has had a female superhero as a title character.

The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin is not alone in remarking that 2017’s Wonder Woman – made by rival company DC Entertainment – “beat it to the punch” in having a female superhero as its main protagonist.

 

Yet Empire’s Helen O’Hara – one of the few female critics to review the film – still regards it as an “essential… feminist fable” that “delivers in a more satisfying way than almost any other superhero film of recent years.”

Several critics express admiration at the digital effects used to enable Samuel L Jackson to play a younger version of the Nick Fury character he has played in previous MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) features.

Samuel L Jackson and Brie Larson in Captain MarvelImage copyright DISNEY/MARVEL
Image caption Samuel L Jackson reprises his role as agent Nick Fury, minus his signature eye patch

 

“Jackson’s CGI facelift is hands-down the best example of digital de-aging yet seen in movies,” writes Total Film’s Matt Maytum.

Metro’s Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, meanwhile, salutes the film for having “a black single mom… who also happens to be an ace fighter pilot” play a pivotal role.

“Ultimately Captain Marvel stands both as an introduction to the MCU’s most powerful superhero and a unique bridge to even greater things,” she continues.

“Captain Marvel isn’t exactly marvellous,” concludes Brian Viner in the Daily Mail. “But it doesn’t disappoint.”

“Best of all there is an orange cat,” writes the New York Times’ A O Scott, referring to a feline called Goose who becomes Nick Fury’s four-legged sidekick.

“I will never hate a movie with an orange cat.”

Captain Marvel opens in the UK and US on Friday, which has been designated International Women’s Day 2019.

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