Marvel is out with its first Avengers movie based around a woman. Captain Marvel, opening on International Women's Day, stars Brie Larson as a warrior of the Kree civilization who, when suddenly deposited on Earth, must unlock the secrets of her past. The film from directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the 21st in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, isn't the best or the worst of the bunch, with an 81% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Four takes:
- There's "reason enough to wish a return engagement," writes Bruce DeMara at the Toronto Star. There's a "somewhat unwieldy conclusion," but lots of surprises and "a rich streak of sly and cheeky laughs throughout to remind us not to take things all that seriously," he writes. Plus Larson is "sublime," creating "a fully fleshed character of pluck and intelligence, self-doubt and tenacity."
- "Larson excels … communicating equal parts uncertainty and steeliness with precious little dialogue," writes John Wenzel at the Denver Post. She "can turn a moment as slight as walking into frame and blowing a strand of hair out of her face into an uproarious, powerful visual beat." The film itself avoids "overstuffed distractions" and "has fun with itself" so that it "feels inviting to both kids and hardcore [Marvel Cinematic Universe] devotees," he adds.
- "What took you guys so long?" asks Ann Hornaday at the Washington Post, noting the female-focused story "feels like too little, too late." Larson has "an easygoing chemistry" with co-star Samuel L. Jackson, but the supporting actors have more "emotional pull," she writes. Plus "the visual effects, while serviceable, are underwhelming, and the action sequences feel clunky and awkwardly choreographed."
- Still, AO Scott was pleased. Captain Marvel is "not too long, not too self-important, and benefits from the craft and talent of a cast that includes Annette Bening, Jude Law and Ben Mendelsohn," he writes at the New York Times. Larson and Jackson are enjoyable to watch, too. "And the overall vibe, for all the fireballs and fisticuffs, is decidedly friendly." All in all, "it's pretty good fun."
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