Captain Marvel

3.5 out of 5 stars

Though I had been reading comic books before, I’ll never forget my first encounter with «Captain Marvel»:

Well, Mar-Vell was a dude back then, and sadly about to die in the very same issue. No spoiler, there – it was right on the cover: «The Death of Captain Marvel» by Jim Starlin.

I couldn’t believe what treasure I was holding in my hands, witnessing origin, live and DEATH of a superhero! “This must be a mistake!”, I thought to my much younger self: Multiple grave errors must have been made to lead to this: A boy, not even seven years old probably shouldn’t read this: Cancer – killing – a superhero – in a comic book? And then, all those wonderful panels featuring a plethora of dozens, even hundreds of characters, most I’ve never even had seen before! My mind was blown🤯!…

Photo of my original issue of «Der Tod des Captain Marvel» (Jim Starlin, Condor Verlag, 1983)

…blown! With this latest «Captain Marvel» movie – not so much. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fine. More than fine: Brie Larson is perfect in the title role, exploring a different, younger, more grounded aspect of the Super-Heroine I’ve learnt to respect and treasure with Gal Gadot’s «Wonder Woman»*.

Also Samuel L. Jackson seems to enjoy his much bigger part and, as a bonus, two intact eyes and it works like a charm. (Even Jude Law gives me hope in proving that not everything is lost with a receding hairline not unlike my own).

And yes, there’s a cat, and Ben Mendelsohn, and that’s ok, but I’ve honestly seen better work of both of them😺.

Almost everything else in this movie seems to be falling in place quite nicely: The VFX are bombast-top-notch, of course. And music, sound and story are as solid as we’ve come to expect from Kevin Feige and his team.

But nonetheless, the result seems somewhat unfocused in the beginning and then, once the story gains momentum, still remains oddly flat, without much sense of drama or impact – muted, almost compressed in scope – if you will – unsuiting for a movie about one of the most powerful characters in the MCU.

I didn’t want to go here in this text, but I must admit, while I don’t condone the badmouthing on social media and rotten tomatoes even before «Captain Marvel» was released, it’s hard to ignore that in some scenes the movie really seems to halt and announce: «See what we’ve done there? Yeah girl! You go girl, YOU’re our target audience! Women can be strong, too!»

That’s not too bad per se, Marvel and others have done a similar thing for years, calling it «fan service», but I can’t shake the impression that this time around a more focused, better movie might have gotten lost in the process. What makes this worse is the fact that it wouldn’t even have been necessary: With Brie Larson as the perfect strong, female lead, no additional distracting shenanigans would have been needed, no matter what song is playing in the background…

…you’ll know what I mean when you watch the movie, which you should, ’cause while «Captain Marvel» remains on the weaker side of MCU-Movies, it’s still very entertaining and Brie Larson, especially sporting the iconic suit, is worth the admission price alone.

  • Storytelling: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷

ASIDE: I can’t help to think of the hilariousity we all got robbed of when DC decided to release their movie as «Shazam!» and NOT «Captain Marvel» (not that this ever was a possibility, but still). I guess the outcome would have been even more disastrous and entertaining than «Batman v Superman»’s multiple million dollar CGI moustache removal they had to do on Henry Cavill who wasn’t allowed to shave for reshoots because he had to wrap «Mission: Impossible – Fallout»!


*) As much as I love Black Widow or Jessica Jones, they’re in a different, minor league, compared to «Captain Marvel» or «Wonder Woman».

Glass

3.5 out of 5 stars

For a moment there I really thought M. Night Shyamalan was finally back for good in all his former glory. But then «Glass» got a little clumsy and lost me somewhere along the way – just to win me back in the end.

As enjoyable and original the movie might be in general, Shyamalan once again tries a little too hard for my taste, lacking the elegance of his earliest work and for that matter, the charm of «Split», the movie that got me back on board for this one in the first place.

(In case you didn’t know, «Split» and «Unbreakable» are absolutely mandatory to see before «Glass» – it’s a whole thing now).

And though I love me some James McAvoy (I got so lucky to experience his wonderful stage performance as «Macbeth»), I’m sad to say, less «Horde» would have been more this time around.

All in all, revisiting Mr. Glass’ Meta-Comic-Super-Hero-World (almost two decades after «Unbreakable») in the weakest but still solid part of the trilogy, is absolutely worth its admission price.

M. Night really seems to be redeeming himself lately. Let’s be nice and give him just a little bit more time, he’ll get there again…

James McAvoy in Macbeth (Trafalgar Studios London, 2013)

Aquaman

1 out of 5 stars

The only good thing I can write about «Aquaman» is that it ends. (Which is true in more than one way; the final 10 minutes of the movie where almost enjoyable).

But since this appalling piece of crab (yes, I just wrote that) presented itself as such an offending incoherent mess, I really don’t feel like making an effort here, either. So let’s just open the floodgates, shall we:

  • Can we let the DC Extended Universe die now, please? At this point it’s just intolerable cruelty.
  • This movie has the pacing and elegance of a very bad «Family Guy» episode.
  • «Uncanny Valley – The Movie»
  • You know you’re in trouble when Patrick Wilson steals the movie. (Not that he’s bad or anything, but you know, he’s Patrick Wilson).
  • On the bright side, «The Shape of Water» is no longer my most hated water-related film of late.
  • Poor Jason Momoa wasn’t given anything to work with whatsoever.
  • You know you’re in trouble when I think Jason Momoa was underused. (Not that he’s bad or anything, but you know, he’s Jason Momoa).
  • This movie feels longer than Willem Dafoe’s dong. And it’s almost as painful to watch as its scene in Lars von Trier’s «Antichrist».
  • Like watching eight awful movies in parallel – while sitting on a trident, and not the comfortable way.
  • You had to cram «Black Manta» into this, did you? BTW, have you even seen «Black Panther»?
  • You know you’re in trouble when Dolph Lundgren’s hair becomes the most fascinating thing in the scene.
  • Sicily, reaally? You don’t say?!
  • Harry Gregson-Williams has a brother?!
  • Directed by James Wan does this garbage end?
  • Amber please stop, it Heards!
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by children in the winter. It’s called «Snowman».
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by dogs in the winter. It’s called «yellow snow».
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by my anus in the winter. It’s called «shit».
  • Aw, just Faqu,man!

Comic Film Universe

Next stop in the «Infinity War» week:

My completely redesigned interactive visualization of more than 333 comic book movies and TV-series containing thousands of characters and performers. Check it out on www.blick.ch/8227617 or directly via https://storytelling.blick.ch/infografik/2018/comicnet.

This year, Marvel Studios celebrate the tenth anniversary of their cinematic universe, which began in 2008 with «Iron Man» and now culminates in the spectacular «Avengers: Infinity War».

The perfect time to analyze the properties of Marvel, DC and everything in between.

Black Panther

3 out of 5 stars

I agree that the success of «Black Panther» (and «Get out», for that matter) is an important step in the right direction for an industry (as well as an audience) that has to redefine itself to stay relevant and acceptable today and in the years to come. Way to go!

But entertaining as it is and giving the genre a new, interesting spin once again, for a Marvel movie, the Panther seems tame, on the weaker side of things. (But I guess I’m not the main audience they where going for anyway).

Happy though that it’s my beloved Marvel Studios, now ten years in the run, that are doing the right thing (too).

This in mind, I’m looking forward to a strong female protagonist in «Captain Marvel», hoping the makers stay focused and won’t overdo it because of the ongoing #meToo discussion. (Something I won’t hold my breath for at this year’s Oscar celebrations. Given the circumstances and having seen the nominations livestream, I fear the Awards show will present itself chumming and even more unpalatable than usual).

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

1 out of 5 stars

Just another very gorgeous looking, very soulless version of how Luc Besson thinks movies are made. I more and more wonder how he managed to create «Léon» where he still seemed to care about characters and storytelling (I think, at least; haven’t watched it in ages).

Wonder Woman

3 out of 5 stars

Um,… Miss Woman? I wonder if you’d marry me?

[  ] Yes

[  ] No

[x] I see you more as a friend

The movie’s not bad, either. All thanks to Gal Gadot. I think I’d watch her watching paint dry. 

Punisher (Netflix)

Torturing a non-nerd friend who just happened to have mentioned once that he kinda liked «The Punisher» (Thomas Jane). 

Correction:

Just realized know, that’s the first Netflix Punisher Season. His character was so strong in Daredevil Season 2 that my memory tricked me. (My friend wouldn’t know any better, of course).