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Captain Marvel: Early Reviews Are Mixed, But Promising

Captain Marvel Brie Larson poster

Since the end of Avengers: Infinity War, fans have been eager to see what Captain Marvel has in store, and this is a special one, as it's the first MCU film with a female lead front and center.

It's likely that you've heard a lot about Captain Marvel in the past two months, some of it bad and some of it good, mostly because the film and its star, Brie Larson, have been surrounded by backlash from Internet trolls who either doubted Larson's charisma or -- on the more extreme side of things -- misguidedly reacted to Larson's attempts at encouraging diversity in the press and threatened to protest the film and sabotage its audience score on the review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes.

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For any other film, all of this negativity might affect its performance, but Captain Marvel isn't any other film. The superhero genre as a whole is immensely popular right now, and Marvel Studios has a generally great track record with its ever-expanding list of interconnected films. This recent entry in that list currently holds a critic score of 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Does that mean audiences should expect a great cinematic experience going in? Let's take a look at what the critics are saying.

Brandon Zachary, CBR: "It's one of the best movies Marvel Studios has released, and it will probably be a longtime favorite for an entire generation of fans. If Captain Marvel is indicative of the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, than the franchise is more vital and impressive than it has ever been."

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair: "Captain Marvel is a chatty film, as beings from different worlds learn the terms of each other’s lives and form wary partnerships. Boden and Fleck often shoot Captain Marvel like it’s one of their smaller projects (Half Nelson, Sugar)—nicely composed but lo-fi, a character piece instead of a blare of whiz-bang action. [...] We’re so well versed in the superhero genre by now that it’s kinda fun to see the same rules and stakes poured through a different filter, though I’m not sure that everyone will take to it."

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: "Marvel has come to recognize, as this film proves, that even effects-heavy behemoths can benefit from a directing touch that is human not programmatic, that understands character and nuance and can create scenes with an emotional heft we might not expect."

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: "This is an engaging and sometimes engagingly odd superhero action movie from directors and co-writers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, a weirdly nonlinear mashup of past and present, memories and present experience, Earth and non-Earth action."

Lindsey Bahr, AP News: "There are some twists and turns and a scene-stealing orange cat that would be difficult to discuss here without spoiling everything. All-in-all it’s fine, but nothing to get too excited about. And it could have and should have been so much better..."

Owen Gleiberman, Variety: "[Boden and Fleck] barely retain a vestige of their signature style. Yet they have brought off something exciting, embracing the Marvel house style and, within that, crafting a tale with enough tricks and moods and sleight-of-hand layers to keep us honestly absorbed."

Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend: "Overall it marks another tremendously exciting addition to the expansive big screen universe, the anticipation for her next adventure is immediately at maximum."

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Susana Polo, Polygon: "Faithful, but standing alone from the MCU, Captain Marvel is a propulsive, cosmic mystery that slowly but surely pieces together a new character — and then unleashes her in a most spectacular fashion."

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: "the storytelling is perfunctory at best: The characters are not dramatically introduced with any sense of interest or intrigue, the writing, dialogue and direction are pedestrian, and the visuals are sometimes, albeit not always, muddy."

April Wolfe, The Wrap: "Captain Marvel, the first Marvel adaptation both to star a woman and to be co-directed by a woman, is an obvious, crude, and transparent film. And it’s also quite enjoyable and evocative — most of the time."

Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jude Law as Yon-Rogg, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos and Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau. In theaters March 8.

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