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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Captain Marvel: Big Box Office, But Boring, Flawed Story

by Ray Keating
March 10, 2019

DisneyBizJournal.com Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars  
DisneyBizJournal.com Box Office Rating:  $$$$ out of $$$$

Captain Marvel excelled during its opening weekend in terms of box office numbers. The same cannot be said for the movie in terms of story and performances.

(Before I dive into the business and artistic aspects of this movie, it seems necessary to offer a disclaimer. Today, in terms of certain movies that are favored by one political camp or another, negative criticisms often lead to accusations hurled at the critic. In the case of Captain Marvel, criticisms seem to lead to accusations, from certain feminist camps, of the critic being anti-woman. Well, people who have read my novels know very well that they feature strong female characters. So, let’s get back to actual points on the film.)

The opening weekend box office numbers amount to a huge success. As Variety reported, for example, the film’s opening weekend North American box office is estimated at $153 million, and when combined with $302 million internationally, that’s $455 million, which tallies up to “the sixth highest global debut of all time.” Disney obviously has to love these numbers.

As for the movie itself, however, it ranks as one of most boring Marvel films. It lacks the heart that many Marvel movies possess. There is little joy, nor much gravity.

And for the most part, Brie Larson’s performance as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel is rather flat. She seems to be going through the motions.

And then there are the story problems. (SPOILER ALERT going forward from this point.)

Beyond the problems already noted, the biggest issue from a story standpoint with Captain Marvel is that the character’s enormous powers undermine much of the Marvel movie universe storyline that came before this movie. Captain Marvel is a prequel set in the mid-1990s, and at the end of the movie, Danvers gives Nick Fury the ability to contact her in case of emergency, as she leaves Earth to undertake a mission across the universe. Therefore, throughout all of the enormous threats and, yes, emergencies, that came in the previous Marvel movies, Nick Fury only decided to call on Captain Marvel at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. Really? That’s simply preposterous. Either SHIELD needs a far more competent leader, or this movie needed better writing.

For good measure, in Captain America: Winter Soldier, in a poignant moment, Fury talks about trust. He tells Captain America, “Last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye.” And then we see in Captain Marvel that Fury loses his eye because of a cat. That’s not funny; instead, it’s just an astoundingly poor story choice.

Captain Marvel doesn’t disappoint because of some political agenda being advanced, as some have claimed or might think. Instead, the movie comes up short simply because it’s a flawed, flat story.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with the three books - Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant NovelHeroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story and Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story – published in 2018. In addition, the second edition of Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel was published in January 2019. He can be contacted at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

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