Is Captain Marvel as bad as New Yorker magazine says?

The latest superhero movie gets a super bad review in New Yorker:

Captain Marvel” is like a political commercial—it packs a worthy message, but it hardly counts as an aesthetic experience. The message of the film is conveyed less through the story than through its casting: women and people of color need to have starring roles in major Hollywood productions …

Brie Larson plays Vers, a warrior from the Kree, a humanoid population from a distant galaxy, centered on the planet Hala, that is in age-old war with the shape-shifting Skrulls.

(A fierce warrior is played by an actress named after a cheese from the country most associated with military defeat?)

The movie sounds perfect for people my age:

The action, it’s soon revealed, is set in 1995, and the videotape-filled store (featuring a standing display for “True Lies,” among other contemporaneous titles) inaugurates a skein of nineties-nostalgia objects that figure in the plot, including a RadioShack, a quaint AltaVista search engine, the foot-tappingly fitful loading of a CD-rom, a pager,

I loved AltaVista!

Carol discovers that the Kree’s longtime battles were based on a false premise. The Skrulls, far from being evildoers (or, as one character calls them, terrorists), have been displaced from their homelands by the Kree; they describe themselves as “refugees” and are merely seeking a home. Carol comes to doubt the presumptive virtue of her own nation and to recognize the legitimate claims of its enemies; she decides to return to battle, not to win but to “end it”—to end “the wars, the lies.” In this thread of themes, the Marvel overlords make the political positioning of the movie clear. The marker is made all the plainer when Lawson tells her that the Kree are fighting to defend their “borders.” “Captain Marvel” wants to make clear that it is a Democratic movie.

If it is anti-Trump, New Yorker should love it! Except that they don’t…

The directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (who are also among the film’s co-writers) display as little style here as they do in their lower-budget and live-action films. The inert direction is amped up by a rapid pace of editing, resulting in a jumpy mosaic … The idea packs great dramatic potential, which makes its facile execution all the more disappointing.

Readers: What do you think? Is the movie as bad as the Official Magazine of Trump Hatred says?


8 thoughts on “Is Captain Marvel as bad as New Yorker magazine says?

  1. My favorite part of the movie was when she used the energy beams from her hands to cook a hot delicious meal for her husband and children.

  2. It is likely to be bad not because of overwrought political correctness but because it is infantile superhero claptrap. I have no intention of spending $15 to find out in theaters, or even 2 hours of my time when they eventually reach Netflix or HBO Now, I’ll just go to and not lose anything in the process.

    Hollywood is creatively bankrupt. For a while, they responded by buying out franchises like Marvel, DC or Star Wars, then strip-mining them to death, but even that is being tapped out. I find nowadays I watch far more shows or films on Netflix from Korea, Australia or Turkey than the cloying tripe made by bean counters in the US.

    • Totally agree, content content, content, we are told by Wall Street analysts to buy Disney stock because of the content, buy Sony stock because of the content, but what if the content sucks?

  3. Does anyone still care about the anti war message in Star Wars III? There’s still somewhat of an interest in the anti oil drilling message in Dune. No movie besides Chinatown has ever addressed anything that actually concerned anyone. A more engaging message for the current generation would have been the Krees getting impacted by runaway rent inflation & becoming homeless because of their Skrull landlords. Then the heroine could rescue them by creating a competing currency, forcing the Kree government to stop printing money & forcing property values back down to 2018 levels.

  4. Did they get paid to write that screenplay? How much of the $152 million budget went for that. A somewhat related question is why anyone would want to be paid for it, what with all its “Stakhanovite rigor?”

    I don’t think Brody disliked the film (or, at least, the idea of the film and what he hopes it portends for the future) so much as he was disappointed by the way it was made, especially its “…shallow vision of ethnic comity that even a Republican would have trouble arguing with…” and how it “…polices and filters its protagonists’ emotions with a Stakhanovite rigor.”

    Yeah, that’s why kids like some comic book superhero movies more than others: the merely “trivial” ones have too much Stakhanovite rigor! They gotta ease up on that.

  5. I actually saw the film on Tuesday this week. I had seen the bad audience review in Flixster and had decided to skip it. I only went because my 29 year old niece liked it so much.. Apparently there was an early, concerted effort to troll the Flixster ratings with low scores.

    I’ve seen almost all the recent Marvell movies because I had Movie Pass (I dropped it when they cut back the number of movie choices available each day) and, frankly, there wasn’t much too see at the movies over the past year.

    I actually thought the movie was one of the better ones in the Marvel series. True, that’s a low bar. I’ve got little use for political correctness, but I don’t think the criticism of the movie is warranted.

    • Yeah, I was thinking: OK, so the movie is jam packed with political pomposity from one end to the other (to paraphrase Alexis de Tocqueville) but the big question for a superhero movie has a really simple answer: “Was it fun to watch for a 10 year old? Would you take your kids and a group of their friends to watch it and have fun?”

      Because that’s what it’s supposed to be. I’ll step away from the idea of criticizing the screenplay authors, directors and even the critics. The question is: “How did your 10 year old like it? Did they think it was worth it to see in the theater? Did they tell you they had a good time?”

  6. I’d put it somewhere in the middle of the ever-growing list of Marvel “MCU” movies. Certainly not the best but not the worst either. The political message was definitely in your face though.

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