Mishal Shuhaiber’s review published on Letterboxd:
First of all I want to thank the internet, as well as both the Marvel & DC fandoms for damn near killing any interest I had in ever wanting to watch this movie prior to its release date. Thankfully I kept my eyes off places like Twitter in the last few days leading up to this, even though the situation for this movie amongst both fandoms only seems to have gotten worse since that time.
Anyway, enough about the 16 people bickering about how Brie Larson apparently 'hates white men' because they clearly have nothing better to do with their lives, and onto the movie itself. I'm also going to ramble on for a little bit, because I want to cover as much ground as possible considering the hostility this movie brings with it, and there is a lot to say.
Captain Marvel had a lot to live up to, not just acting as the first female-lead superhero movie under the MCU banner, but also serves as the final stop on the road to Avengers: Endgame in roughly 7 weeks from now. A movie like this isn't just one you can judge based on how it functions on its own, we must also take into account its effect on the wider MCU & everything that's been built up so far.
So, does it live up to its hype you ask?
Considering how various people across social media are treating this movie as the worst thing since well, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I can confirm that it is nowhere near the trainwreck you've probably made it out to be based on several irrelevant opinions on the internet (much like this review, actually). Brie Larson portrays our titular hero fairly well for the most part, clearly looking the part but sadly missing that standout quality that really makes you feel like you're watching that next big hero in the MCU, who's actually supposed to be the 'strongest' according to Kevin Feige. I personally felt more attachment to her more human side, that of Carol Danvers, as opposed to when she geared up in her star-spangled attire to shoot some lasers out of her fiery fists. Both personas felt slightly off-balance at point, never really coming together as one like I'd hoped they would. Her character thankfully does have some really good moments of heart & can hopefully be built upon the more she is used in the MCU.
The rest of the supporting cast do a fine job as well. Samuel L. Jackson is once again fantastic in reprising his role as Nick Fury, giving Brie Larson some of her best scenes, and is brought to life as a younger version of himself through probably the best de-aging effects I have seen in a large scale film over the last number of years. We also get a few figures from Carol Danvers past, some of whom get more screentime than others, that tend to add a lot to her more human side but can come across as a tad forgettable outside of a few select moments, due to some of the material they're given within the script not really landing. Goose the Cat however, manages to light up any scene that little ball of fur is in (partially due to the fact that I have 4 myself, so might be a tad bias on this one) with a couple of moments towards & in the films 3rd act that are utterly hilarious & unexpected.
We also get one of the more memorable MCU villains with Ben Mendelson who portrays 'Talos' with a tremendous level of charisma, a very welcome change. He manages to not only be a villain with a personality, but one that has a lot more depth than I was ever expecting him to have, really adding that extra layer the majority of this universes antagonists seems to be sorely lacking. His character also has a neat nod to Pulp Fiction, which stood out at least to my film-obsessed mind. Also introducing the element of the Skrulls is something I hope we see more of down the line, as it is an angle that can create some really unique storylines & twists which could drastically shake up the MCU.
Now onto the part that everyone hates, the flaws.
Captain Marvels flaws come from two major aspects, the first being the films lack of style, at least compared to other MCU movies. Other properties within the MCU (such as Guardians of The Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok or Black Panther, for example) display a distinct vision & idea to the audience, embodying a very different feel when put against other heroes around them, the issue here is Captain Marvel doesn't really have much to say about itself. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty well shot, with some solid visual effects, decent set pieces (aside from a really murky scene in the 1st act) & good action sequences, but really has nothing else going for itself stylistically speaking. It feels like just another superhero movie, displaying the simple one-note, drab aesthetic of something like Ant-Man when it should've looked a lot more like the aesthetic of Guardians of the Galaxy, which boasts an insane amount of colour, energy & vibrance to almost every shot, something I felt could have helped this movie really stand out. Thankfully its score does have some really good tracks, at least separating its sound from the really forgettable music that the MCU usually provides with most of its releases.
My second quarrel with this movie, is it's lack of focus & some really awkward decision making. While we do spend time with Carol Danvers, delving into her past and understanding her characters origins, it's other areas where the film needs some tweaking. Despite this movie ultimately being an intergalactic sci-fi epic, the world-building here was noticeably weak. The world surrounding the Kree civilization in particular seems so vast & fascinating, yet is barely built upon with the exception of a few scenes spent there in the 1st act. And considering this film takes place in the 90's (which I really enjoyed, just shoving that in there), it has the opportunity to actually explain certain events that have happened in the MCU, and when it does take this leap, it can be extraordinarily stupid at times. I won't explain any of the decisions or events happening here, but many of them don't really fit in with what's occured so far, especially to those of us who have truly invested into this universe from the beginning. A few of the decisions do kind of work based on what impact they have on certain characters, but come across as just plain silly in retrospect.
I'm not going any futher into this movie for the sake of spoilers, because saying anything more will have to go into that territory. All in all, the hatred for Captain Marvel seems massively overblown. It has its problems, but nothing that other superhero movies haven't suffered from in some way or another. Sadly it doesn't go near the upper-tier of MCU movies to date (at least for my liking) & could have been far better than its final product, but will surely entertain most audiences who haven't stuck their head down the rabbit hole that exists on many social media platforms. Go into this movie, take your head out of your ass, just sit back & enjoy yourself. It's a solid, fun time at the movies. Maybe just the one time.