The latest Marvel movie — Captain Marvel — has just hit theaters today (Mar. 8), and it's sure to have people arguing online. I saw it for myself, despite early reviews (it's up to 82 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) reading as negative.
And for the most part, I enjoyed the movie, which is carried by a solid cast that includes one clever cat. But for those wondering about any reasons to avoid the film, I've put together the most-spoiler-free review I could, breaking down the seven reasons to see Captain Marvel, and three reasons to skip it.
Reasons to See Captain Marvel
Brie Larson is great
If you've seen her work in movies such as The Room, or her small role on the sitcom Community, you know that Brie Larson is a mighty talent. With great delivery and pose, she elevates a script that can sometimes fall a little flat.
Whether it's her banter with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury or Jude Law's Yon-Rogg, or her frustration with her incomplete memory, Larson makes you care about her character, even when the rest of the movie doesn't.
A different side of Nick Fury and Agent Coulson
If you've loved Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg in previous Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies, you'll get a kick out of Captain Marvel. You've seen these guys be the smartest dudes in the room, but Captain Marvel shows us their earlier days, and where they're often the least informed persons in a scene.
This allows both to act as the geek chorus of the film, commenting on its events on behalf of the audience, to hilarious effect. You get more of Fury than Coulson, though, as Jackson spends a lot of time on screen, as he plays a central role when things get more interesting.
The spirit of the 90's is alive in this soundtrack
For as much as we got a kick out of seeing Capt. Marvel land on a Blockbuster video in the trailer for the movie, the soundtrack is the true piece of throwback brilliance. I won't spoil any of the song choices, but I have to applaud the song choices.
The Skrulls are the best MCU alien race yet
Comic book movies are often defined by their baddies, and the Chitauri from The Avengers were so bland and worthless that their presence was an issue in that much-beloved movie. The Skrulls of Captain Marvel buck this trend, providing tension throughout the film, and Ben Mendelsohn, as Talos, delivers a ton of great moments.
Get a good Avengers: Endgame tease
Captain Marvel features two post-credits sequences and the first will have you begging for tickets to the fourth Avengers movie. Also, the film itself sets a series of potential players to make big impacts in the next MCU film, not just Captain Marvel herself.
Goose, the cat, is great
You've seen Samuel L. Jackson fight a ton of snakes, but have you ever seen him handle a cat? Captain Marvel features a furry feline named Goose, who spends a ton of time with Fury, and it often leads to tremendous comedic success. I'm not even a cat person and I found myself appreciating this camera-friendly furball.
A top Stan Lee cameo
While Captain Marvel doesn't feature the final Stan Lee cameo — that appears to be set for Avengers: Endgame — it has probably my favorite one to date. I can't say much more than that without spoiling it, but those familiar with his full body of work will get a strong laugh out of this one.
Reasons to Skip It
A slow start
Since the film tells its story in a non-traditional manner, the first act of Captain Marvel will leave many (including myself) wondering when the story picks up. Those who love a darkly-lit sci-fi drama, with planetary exploration will have more reason to stay focused, but these early parts might not be for all.
On top of that, Captain Marvel allows audiences to learn characters' names and roles naturally, rather than delivering exposition in giant monologues. While I personally prefer it, I remember that was an issue people had with early episodes of The Wire.
Movies that use amnesia and incomplete memories always illicit a groan out of myself and many folks I know. It often feels cheap and tacky, as a narrative device that needs to rarely (if ever) used.
It also produces some incredibly convoluted moments, including one that practically breaks the fourth wall. This may be the kind of thing you'll love, or it might send you to the concession stands for a break.
The classic Marvel Cinematic Universe movie problem
Captain Marvel can feel like two films: an interesting tale of self discovery and a cog in a multi-billion dollar project that's spanned a decade. If you've accepted these movies as a series of chain links that tie together for a rewarding experience, you may not mind this, but it often times just feels in service of the greater bottom line.
This leads to a frustratingly shallow story for Captain Marvel herself, as her personal triumphs and turmoils don't feel that great, as the film isn't entirely in service of her story. This led to two of the film's dramatic moments feel unearned and a bit hollow.
Sure, there are some structural issues in Captain Marvel, but the good definitely outweighs the bad. If you go in with expectations set at mid-range Marvel movie, you'll be properly entertained and not surprised when the movie doesn't live up to the heights that Larson's character soars to.