CAPTAIN MARVEL: Throughout the narrative, the title character a.k.a. Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) spends most of her scenes trying to figure out who she is in a movie that feels like it’s trying to do the same. At the very outset, the unnecessarily complicated plot finds her as part of an intergalactic group called the Kree who are taking on a shape-shifting gang of extraterrestrials known as the Skrulls, who despite their talents, never appear to be too difficult to find. An orbital battle crashes the photon energy shooting Danvers back on Earth circa 1995 which is described as “a real s _ _ _ hole” (Hmmm. Where have I heard that before?). Following a nifty car chase after an elevated train a la THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971), the plot meanders away from the protagonists’ origin story and becomes a more comically compelling one about how S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) became a Cyclops. As is the case with most Marvel movies, the production design of Andy Nicholson is extremely well-done and mood setting with an assist from the make-up department who make the Skrulls in their regular bodies similar to the comic book characters. To be playing such an empowered female character, Larson (ROOM, FREE FIRE), who’s a more than capable actress, feels almost like a background player who’s given very little to do other than exchange the occasional quip with Jackson (PULP FICTION) and look mildly puzzled in a performance that can best be described as “generic”. The screenplay, authored by four different writers in search of a theme, incorporates one of these professional wrestling type storylines where bad guys become good and good guys eventually are revealed as the true villains. I will say that the film’s final portion does add some needed depth but this is a work with the same Achilles heel as BLACK PANTHER (2018) where everybody else is way more intriguing than the lead character. In short, this is a movie that’s far from being “marvel-ous” (Sorry…couldn’t resist.). CRITIC’S GRADE: C+
CLOSING CREDITS: This movie’s first post-credit sequence is set up by a scene near its’ conclusion where Carol upgrades Fury’s pager telling him that the range is now “a couple of galaxies”. Jump ahead now to the initial closing credits scene where the surviving superheroes from AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018) are now wringing their hands in possession of Fury’s pager and attempting to find where he might have disappeared to at the end of the aforementioned film. When the pager dies, Captain Marvel suddenly appears looking disheveled and immediately asks, “Where’s Fury?” Like most of Marvel’s post-credit vignettes, there’s a likely tie-in with the next flick which is AVENGERS: ENDGAME where Larson’s character will probably play a more crucial role (Lord, let’s hope so.). The second sequence of this kind is far more amusing with Goose the wonder cat, who’s actually an alien creature known as a flerken that shoots octopus-like tentacles from its’ stomach, swallowing the Tesseract with the Space Stone to hide it from the invading Kree. In a hilarious moment readily identifiable to anyone with a cat, Goose coughs up the Tesseract, hairball style, which may prevent a cat-astrophe (Oh geez, there I go again.).