The 21st installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and the first to feature a female protagonist – comes out Friday in the form of Captain Marvel. And the film, which stars Academy-Award winning actress Brie Larson as the titular character, has been getting mixed reviews from critics.

On the one hand, critics are lauding Marvel for finally putting a female superhero at the forefront (albeit it’s been way too long without one already). “A riot grrrl power pulses through at every frame,” writes Peter Travers for Rolling Stonewhile The New York Times praises Marvel for its depiction of a complicated female protagonist. On the other hand, though, critics seem to be disappointed with the final result.

Framed as backstory to the upcoming Avengers: End Game in which Larson’s Marvel will play a large role, the film serves mainly to provide Marvel fans with a load of background information. “As a film it’s only halfway there, filling in nerdy details about the larger cosmic concerns of the Marvel world but failing to stage one outstanding set piece in the process,” writes The Atlantic‘s  David Sims. Richard Lawson from Vanity Fair expressed frustration that the story spent too much time on background, saying “I wish the studio had felt confident enough in her story to let it stand alone, rather than yoking it to the birth of something larger.” Other critics bemoaned the way the story-heavy film let its female protagonist fall to the side, so much so that IndieWire‘s David Ehrlich finds that “Captain Marvel is far and away the least compelling thing about Captain Marvel.”


Nevertheless, the film still has an 83% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with most critics ostensibly concluding that it’s not the best Marvel movie to date, but it’s a solid piece. “Captain Marvel feels as substantial as any of the other stand-alone Marvel Cinematic Universe films, even if it does things at a more relaxed pitch,” writes Lawson.

Alongside Larson, the film stars digitally enhanced versions of Samuel L. Jackson playing a young Nick Fury (who Sims says “gives his most committed Marvel performance in years”) and Clark Gregg as a young Phil, and newcomers to the MCU Annette Bening, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch and Ben Mendelsohn, who plays this film’s villain. The film was directed by indie veterans Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Mississippi Grind, It’s Kind of a Funny Story) from a script penned by them and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider).

See the full trailer for Marvel’s Captain Marvel here:


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