Captain Marvel (**) PG-13     

The all mighty and all powerful Marvel Cinematic Universe kicks off its eleventh year of doing this sort of thing with their latest entry Captain Marvel. This is somewhat of a big deal for those keeping score as it’s the studio’s first attempt at putting a female character at the center of one of their films. I guess I don’t have to remind you that their chief competitor for putting butts in movie theater seats, DC Comics, beat them to the punch with that same idea, which resulted with the resounding financial smash of 2017, Wonder Woman. I found that film to be decent in fits and starts but seriously undermined by its special effects, which rendered the title character weirdly cartoonish looking in pivotal action scenes, taking me out of the movie’s spell.

Captain Marvel has that same problem at times as well but, alas, it isn’t the only problem. I would like to report that Captain Marvel breaks new ground in some way, shape or fashion but that would be a lie. If this were one’s first encounter with a super hero film I’m sure it would be an impressive affair. For those of us who’ve been following these films for the last decade and some change that’s a different story. The only thing that really sets this one apart is that it happens to take place in the 1990s, which is assuredly a calculated move to appeal to certain members of the audience who are nostalgic for a certain period of time in the not too distant past. It also provides an excuse for the folks at Marvel to trot out characters that have been retired in current installments taking place in the present.   

Oscar winner, Brie Larson (Room), who seems intent on distancing herself as much as possible from the type of roles that got her that coveted award in the first place, leads the cast as the title character. She’s fine, I guess, or as much as she’s allowed to be in the context of these things. Then again there’s just so much you can do when the script mostly calls for emoting against an endless sea of CGI. It’s a thankless task but someone’s got to do it I suppose.   

The plot, such as it is, and one that we’ve seen too many variations of in recent times I might add, concerns shape-shifting aliens. Captain Marvel, AKA Carol Danvers, is sent back to the 1990s to stop those pesky body snatchers from obtaining a power source they seek. She teams up with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Shield agent extraordinaire, in an effort to stop the critters and along the way comes to learn how to harness the power she possesses. Of course, characters are introduced who aren’t what they initially appear to be and so on. Then again that’s just par for the course in the Marvel Universe and it all adds up to a tepid time at the movies, even by Marvel standards.

This movie is playing everywhere in this area. 

Photo: Brie Larson in Captain Marvel

Questions or comments? Write Adam at [email protected].