Review – Not So Marvel-ous (“Captain Marvel”)

Confused? I was. I grew up where young Billy Batson spoke the word,”Shazam!” and then turned into an adult superhero called Captain Marvel. BUT! In 1991, trademark conflicts between DC and Marvel had Shazam and Captain Marvel separate into two different characters, each with their stories. Oy! What a mess!

And speaking of confused, so is Vers (pronounced “Veers”); she’s a human (Brie Larson) living on the planet Hala with the race of Kree warriors somewhere out in the galaxy. But how’d she get there? Why is she training so hard with her buddy, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law)? And why does the A. I. Supreme Intelligence there look like someone called Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) in her past that she can’t remember? Don’t worry, all will be revealed after Vers and others go on a mission to save one of their own from the evil Skrulls, a race of shape-shifting alien creatures. But that rescue mission goes south and Vers is catapulted to 1995 Earth.

There she meets SHIELD agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson looking quite young) with both eyes and newbie agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) who try and track down this crazy blonde who can shoot blaster-beams from her hands. Pretty soon Nick learns from Vers that the Skrull are here on Earth to steal vital info for light-speed travel and somehow Dr. Lawson is the key. But after a Skrull trap, Vers and Nick check out Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), an old friend and Air Force buddy of Vers who tells her that she’s really Carol Danvers from Earth. Surprise!!

Carol gets a bigger surprise from Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) that their mission on Earth is not all that she thinks it is and that he’s really uncomfortable being around her pet orange tabby cat, Goose. Carol suddenly recalls that Dr. Lawson was in fact Mar-Vell of Hala, a Kree operative on Earth and that she’s got a mission of her own to carry out, and it looks like all that Kree blood in her and super-energy coursing through her body is gonna come in handy.

Writers & directors Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson, Sugar), along with writer Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider) are not superhero writers, as you can tell by their body of work, which is quite forgettable. Whereas the other Marvel films have a certain richness and tempo to them, this one seems to be the red-headed step-child of the group. In fact, Captain Marvel as her name, isn’t even mentioned in the movie! Vers/Danvers plays your archetypal superhero that is almost too cock-sure in her swagger and lacks the hero’s humility like Steve Rogers or Diana Prince. Although the story does have that comic-book feel, the dialogue has fan-fiction overtones, which goes over well for the comedy aspect, but gets weak for the rest of the time.

But that doesn’t mean this movie doesn’t deliver; quite the contrary. Jackson and Larson (friends IRL) are fun together and their chemistry shines. Larson, in all her spandex jumpsuit glory, delivers a superb superhero and formidable badass in the fighting dept. She’s got the goods all right, and I look forward to seeing her in Avengers: Endgame in a few months.

I just wish she had better direction in this film; if you’ve seen her in Room, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, or even King Kong: Skull Island, you know what I’m talking about. And Goose the cat? Personally, I’m hoping for his own spin-off movie with Rocket Raccoon & Groot! Also, there’s a loving tribute to the late, great Stan Lee in the opening credits that is very nice and, in case you were wondering, yes, his cameo is in this movie, too.

Green Lantern (2011)

The movie that Ryan Reynolds wished would just go away. In fact, in Deadpool 2, his character of Deadpool murders Ryan Reynolds holding the Green Lantern script; that’s how much he hated the movie. Was it all that bad? Did the movie have any redeeming qualities at all? Could it have been saved from the $5 bargain bin at Walmart?

In a movie that has been vehemently eviscerated by every critic and fanboy alive, the DCEU’s superhero of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern have longed to be on the silver screen, but this movie touched off a firestorm of hatred the likes I’ve never seen. Reynolds plays the cocky Air Force test pilot that, one day at a crash site, is handed a ring by a glowing green alien and is told that he “is the chosen one”. Well, no sooner than he puts the ring on, then he’s whisked away to the Green Lantern Corps home planet of Oa where he meets the other alien Corps members. Team leader, Thaal Sinestro (Mark Strong in partial CG) believes that Hal is too weak as a human to be part of the Corp, but trains him anyway.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, berated scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) is told by his demanding father, Senator Robert Hammond (Tim Robbins), to perform an autopsy on that alien crash victim. But Hammond gets infected with some bad alien spores, not only giving him telepathic/telekinetic powers, but making him go mad and giving him a bulbous forehead as well! Hector attempts to kill his father at a party, but Hal (back from the cosmos and wearing his Green Lantern super-suit) saves the senator and the party guests, including his childhood sweetheart, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively).

While Hall is enjoying his newfound superhero powers and showing them off to his friends, he’s made aware that an evil called the Parallax is on its way to Earth. Uh-oh! If that wasn’t bad enough, Sinestro has forged a yellow power ring to help protect Oa from the Parallax by letting it destroy Earth! Hal, getting no help from the Corps, takes on the Parallax and destroys it, and almost himself in the process. Oh, and that crazy Hector gets all weird and kidnaps Carol yadda-yadda-yadda.

What is so puzzling is that writers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg, and Michael Green are some the THE best writers around! Berlanti & Guggenheim are noted for the CW’s popular Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow TV shows, Goldenberg co-wrote Contact and Harry Potter/Order of the Phoenix, and Green wrote Logan and for TV’s Smallville. So what went so horribly wrong? The director? That was Martin Campbell, who gave us the terrific Casino Royale and Mask of Zorro, so it couldn’t have been the direction. What then? Beats me. I’m guessing one too many writers with too many ideas?

The story was flooded with SO much information and SO little character development, as if the movie itself didn’t know what it was doing. Then there were the SPFX and CGI which were SO bad, lazy, and cartoony it was laughable. Heck, I’ve seen the WB’s animated Green Lantern cartoon look (and act) better! Reynolds, clearly not understanding where to take Hal Jordan, just floundered. Green Lantern fans cried bitter tears at this, but take heart! With the resurgence of the DCEU and hints of a new Hal Jordan in Justice League, the all-new movie Green Lantern Corps is scheduled for a 2020 release.

Tasty Trivia: In the CW’s recent cross-over TV special, Elseworlds, the character of John Diggle (who stars on Arrow) is more than hinted at that he will become a future member of the Green Lantern Corp.

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