Captain Marvel (2019)
Despite enjoying multiple films from the now legendary Marvel Cinematic Universe I still can't say that I really care deep down about the franchise. Similar to how I feel about Star Wars I am excited to see where the story goes next but have no deeper feelings or connections to the franchise which often leads to me lacking excitement for upcoming releases, that was 100% the case with Captain Marvel. I had no real hype built for this film but nonetheless I actually really liked Captain Marvel and see it as a standout from the MCU in general. Not quite on the top tier with films like Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok but still probably in my top third of all MCU films.
A lot of that comes from the plot in this movie, instead of having just a standard superhero plot this is actually quite deep and engaging. This movie has multiple twists and turns throughout it that keeps the audience guessing and thinking, it never feels like the plot settles down and feels safe which I love. It felt like anything could be around the corner and change the entire complexion of what was going on. The character of Captain Marvel herself I found to be interesting, she starts the films with more questions than answers regarding who she is and as you learn more so many things come into question, this is a character who is stuck in the middle of war and she (along with the audience) doesn't really know what to do or who to support. She has to ask herself if what she is doing is right and I found that dynamic to be really interesting. A lot of this comes from the villains in this movie who also feel very unique. They are far from the standard Marvel villains and even how their story is told is very unformulaic and I love that. Where I wouldn't say the villains themselves are the most memorable they help build a very memorable plot that stands out compared to most MCU movies.
The technical elements in this film are also extremely well done as is the case in most Marvel movies. Sure you get some rough moments here and there but for the most part, all the alien worlds and space action look just fantastic. I also have to give a huge shoutout to the costume design and makeup in this film. The costumes are all fantastic and do a great job adding to the aesthetic in multiple scenes and the makeup (especially on the Skrulls) looks amazing and blends right into the CGI elements. I really hope that the makeup especially can get some love towards the end of the year in awards season as it is of just such a high quality.
Like I said though there are just a few things holding this film back from breaking into that top tier of MCU film, the main one being the actual tone of this movie. This is a film that tries to be a lot of different things, it has a character with a pretty deep and dark past yet also is very charismatic, the plot itself also has multiple moments where it plays into the standard MCU humor and doesn't take itself too seriously. This is also a space action movie that has to set up multiple worlds and alien races. Despite each of these individual elements being strong, I found that they failed to really come together. This movie feels tonally confused and struggles to find its own identity in them, I think a lot of this comes from it being the 21st film in this universe. Any element it tried to play into would feel very similar to a previous film in the MCU so it tries to stay in the middle ground to stay unique, but it doesn't work. I fear that as the MCU continues to grow that this is going to be a much more common issue. I think Brie Larson has a ways to go as Captain Marvel, where she is far from good her performance with all of these conflicting tones also can feel messy and where I do believe she will get better in time she is stepping into Avengers: Endgame next, a huge film filled with an A-list cast who are completely in sync with their characters. I am really worried she is going to stick out much more because of that and feel like the odd one out. Still, I have to give Captain Marvel props, it creates one of the most engaging and interesting plots the MCU has seen and sets up a character who I could see becoming a huge part of the franchise with the new era of the MCU right around the corner.