Reviews have been coming in for Captain Marvel, and even the ones that rate the movie highly have been critical of the film in between the opening and closing sentences.
No review, however, encapsulates the problems with the movie so nicely as National Review’s. While I usually dislike linking NRO, in this case, I’ll break my self-imposed rule:
Captain Marvel might be the first blockbuster movie whose animating idea is fear. Every page of the script betrays terror of what people might say about the film on social media. Give Carol Danvers a love interest? Eek! No, women can’t be defined by the men in their lives! Make her vulnerable? OMG, no, that’s crazy. Feminine? What century are you from if you think females should be feminine? Toward the end of the movie, when a villain preparing for an epic confrontation with Carol, the fighter pilot turned Superwoman, chides her that she will fail because she can’t control her emotions, there is no tension whatsoever. We’ve just spent two hours watching her be utterly unfazed by anything. Giving Carol actual emotions would, of course, lead to at least 27 people calling the film misogynist on Twitter, and directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are petrified of that.
Carol looks up an old friend, a fellow feminist fighter pilot named Rambeau. As played by Lashana Lynch, she is another Mary Sue, boringly capable, flawless, and stalwart. Rambeau is a single mom with a daughter, but when she considers leaving the planet to join Carol’s war with the aliens, the idea of abandoning her kid is played for laughs, not drama. The directors are afraid that suggesting women tend to put their children above all else will get them called out as retrograde by the Jessica Veryangrys on Twitter. They don’t realize that treating every potential obstacle as no problem whatsoever makes for a very dull movie.
Read the whole thing. Best review of the film by far that I have seen.