Captain Marvel" star Brie Larson publicly lamented last year that "67% of the top critics reviewing the 100 highest-grossing movies in 2017 were white males", and added, "I do not need a 40-year-old white dude to tell me what didn't work for him about 'A Wrinkle in Time.' It wasn't made for him.
But Brie Larson's heroine is no damsel-in-distress.
One element does fulfil the film's female-empowerment hype.
She's not alone in taking issue with the film's approach. Weird, considering Marvel Studios" Captain Marvel is set in the "90s while the shenanigans in the Avengers takes place in present-day.
"The picture is not boring, exactly, just mundane", writes Todd McCarthy from 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.However, in most superhero flicks, the girl is usually just the heroe's love interest. When she first arrives on Earth, Vers's steely martial alienness clashes charmingly against the earthlings of 1994, but as soon as the Skrull hit the fan that whimsy disappears and is replaced by brutal efficiency. Vers was taught one thing: to fight this way, for these people, for this cause.
Yet Empire's Helen O'Hara - one of the few female critics to review the film - still regards it as an "essential. feminist fable" that "delivers in a more satisfying way than nearly any other superhero film of recent years". Can she wake up from the oppressive (read: patriarchal) mind-set of the conventions that bind her?
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While most folks are looking forward to Captain Marvel, star Brie Larson's outspoken feminism and likely the fact that it's the first MCU movie to have a woman lead means that internet trolls are doing their best to damage the film's reputation.
But who is she? And that makes for a rouser of a journey.
Metro's Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, meanwhile, salutes the film for having "a black single mom. who also happens to be an ace fighter pilot" play a pivotal role.
Larson spoke about the idea of playing a female superhero who was complex, stating that she didn't think a flawless superhero was "realistic or something aspirational at all".
And Brie Larson was certainly feeling strong as she rocked a bold power suit on the way into Good Morning America on Wednesday in NY. Carol's arc is defined by shedding those bonds to that identity and to her mentor/father figure, speaking and acting with directness. Larson can quip and smirk and take a punch, Boden and Fleck can create a fully-realized and damaged character for her to play, with sharp dialogue and grounded storytelling. And what really sells this film is that playfulness. But all of this is more or less prescribed by the role. "I'm excited to share her with the world". The performance is fine, if not exciting or inspiring. This is when the skills of directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson, Mississippi Grind) really pop out from under the smothering fog of CGI and noise.
Ms. Danvers has no such luck, and Larson - an Oscar-winner whose natural protectiveness is poorly served by such a self-satisfied character - has little to do beyond mug for the camera and spout third-rate one-liners to any of the men who get in her way.
Enough second guessing herself, it's time to shut out the people who undermine her. So she settles for quips and second-hand glimpses into whatever life she used to live.
So what might Captain Marvel indicate about the present - and future - of women in film? Larson expanded by saying, "I think what they've gone through together, going through military training together, being the only women".