Film Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (dir. by Peyton Reed)


I once read somewhere that in joining Marvel Comics, you could never get started writing or drawing any of the top tier characters like Spider-Man or any of the X-Men. Instead, you were left to work with some of the lesser known (or less famous) characters like the The Fantastic Four, Moon Knight or Namor and then work your way up to the big wigs. I don’t know if that’s true, but after having completed both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the MCU feels like it’s in the same position for me. Most of the S and A-Tier level heroes and villains were used in some way. Even their B-Class characters are in play (like who was the Multitude of Madness‘ Black Bolt, anyway?), so all they really have left are characters only the deepest comic fans know. It might be great for the movie fans who are just learning about them all (like myself, who primarily danced in the Spider-Man circles), but I wonder about the comic book fans and whether it’s all still holding up for them.

All that aside, it’s still better than getting a reboot of the same two or three heroes we keep getting over at DC – though they are learning. I’ll give Disney/Marvel credit for the attempt. I’m still waiting for DC to give either Green Arrow a try on film or Green Lantern another chance.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (or just Quantumania) finds Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) enjoying his life after the events of Avengers: Endgame. He’s a best selling author now, a welcome change from being unknown in Avengers: Endgame. He has a wonderful family in Hope Van Dyne (Evangelline Lilly), along with her parents, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) & Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). If only his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton, taking over for Endgame‘s Emma Fuhrmann) wasn’t getting into trouble all the time, things might just be perfect.

Cassie explains to Scott that with her free time, she’s been studying the Quantum Realm and managed to create a device that can track objects within it. At hearing this, Janet balks and demands Cassie shut down the device. This leads to a malfunction that pulls the entire family in to the Quantum Realm. The realm is full of life, much like the alternate dimensions that Doctor Strange has travelled. There is also a great evil dwelling in Kang (Jonathan Majors, Creed III), who hopes to escape. Can the family find a way back home, while dodging the threats that lie within?

The acting in Quantumania is fine. We’re introduced to some interesting supporting characters with William Jackson Harper (Midsommar) and Katy O’Brian’s (Syfy’s ZNation) performances. We’re also reunited with some familiar faces. Paul Rudd is charming and funny as always, as is Evangelline Lilly. Although we won’t get to know how Emma Fuhrmann would have done as Cassie this time, Kathryn Newton’s good here. It’s Marvel, I get it. Recasts can and do happen. We could argue that we’re a bit out of touch with this new casting, butCassie is given a lot to do in this installment, which really brings her full circle with some of the conversations she had with Scott, pre-Blip and all.

They all take a bit of a back seat to Michelle Pfeiffer, however. Janet Van Dyne is tight-lipped about the Quantum Realm, and Pfeiffer carries her experience there flawlessly. Her character is scared at the thought of returning, but once she arrives, Janet has layers of secrets that peel back. She and Kang were the most interesting characters of the group. There’s almost a covert agent quality to Janet, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a backstory of more of her adventures. An animated Adventures of The Wasp in the Quantum Realm, Disney?

And then there’s Jonathan Majors. You can’t have a good hero without a good villain, and his portrayal of Kang is scary. Anyone who watched Da 5 Bloods, The Harder They Fall or HBO’s Lovecraft Country knows that Majors can easily shift between quiet and reserved to explosive. He’s also physical enough to back his character’s words. I’m not entirely convinced of Kang’s motives for doing what he’s doing, but Majors’ presence is definitely felt when he’s in a scene.

Quantumania is basically 2010’s Tron: Legacy with a fresh coat of paint. Family gets pulled into another realm. Said realm is ruled by a major villain who wishes to spread their evil outside of the realm. Family must find a way to escape realm, yet ensure that the villain doesn’t get out as well. Quantumania‘s execution of the plan is far better than Tron‘s and I found myself truly worrying about the fates of the Lang/Van Dyne family in some of the scenes. I have to give a bit of kudos to whoever had the idea to have “the little guy” in Ant-Man be the first to square off with such a villain like Kang. For me, the end result was the opposite of watching the Hulk’s first interaction with Thanos. Back then, audiences may have thought that if the Hulk was dispatched so easily, what would that say for everyone else? In Quantumania, Scott and Hope give it their all, despite only really having their wits, fists, family & science. It was a bit more rewarding for me. There’s also something of a heist element to Quantumania, but it’s unfortunately weaker than the first two films. I would have loved to see a plan/info gathering/execution chapter to it all, but it never gets there.

Musically speaking, it’s nice to have Christophe Beck back on board for another installment. He’s taken the Ant-Man theme to new heights and the music throughout fits the film well. While there aren’t any standout songs like “Anthropodie” on the last film, the score overall turns a simple heist theme into an epic fight of good vs. evil.

Although the 3D in the film is nice, it’s not really required. For me, the effect faded after a while, only to resurface in key sequences. That could be mostly my fault for sitting in the front row, or perhaps the Avatar films have spoiled me. There’s a lot of CGI at work with the Quantum Zone, and I thought they did okay with it, for the most part. There’s nothing to complain about. Then again, we’ve kind of seen it before in every other multiverse story leading up to this.

Overall, Quantumania is a fun ride into the Quantum Zone. We’re given a chance to see Janet Van Dyne shine in her element. Every member of the entire Ant-Man family has something to offer (even Michael Douglas, who is smooth with the one liners), and it wasn’t particularly bad, as third films go.

Here’s The Trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3!


To be honest, I’ve been a little bit bored with the MCU lately.  I mean, the Spider-Man films were fun and WandaVision was certainly better than I was expecting it to be but, for the most part, it’s been hard to shake the feeling that, post-Endgame, the MCU has lost a bit of its spark.  Endgame was such a logical place to stop that everything that’s come after it has felt a bit superfluous.

Still, if anyone can respark my interest in the MCU, it would be James Gunn and the Guardians of the Galaxy.  And, fortunately, they’ve got a new film coming out next year!  Here’s the trailer, which seems to promise that the Guardians will continue to poke subtle fun at the conventions of the MCU while also using those conventions to their advantage.

At the very least, it should have a good soundtrack.

 

Marvel releases the Ant Man & The Wasp: Quantumania Trailer!


Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hope (Evangeline Lilly), Cassie (Kathryn Newton, Detective Pikachu) and the Pyms (Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas) are back for another adventure. This time, it appears they’re all pulled into the Quantum Zone and meet some strange creatures, one of which is the variant of Kang The Conqueror (Jonathan Majors, The Harder They Fall). Peyton Reed returns as well to direct the film, which also includes Bill Murray and Samuel L. Jackson.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will be released next year.

Marvel releases the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer!


With November just a few weeks away, we now have the full trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. With the full trailer, it looks like we’re focusing more on the clash between Namor’s people and the Wakandans. We also get a glimpse of Riri Williams Ironheart in the process, along with a better look at the new Black Panther.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theatres November 11.

Spider-Man: No Way Home (dir. by Jon Watts)


This is basically where we are.

If you haven’t seen a film on the Thursday preview night, chances are every online publisher is going to share spoilers by Friday Evening. I get it. It’s the Nature of the Beast. It makes for news, and there are people out there who either don’t mind being spoiled or need to know what they’re seeing going into a film. It’s partially why sites like Movie Pooper, and Does The Dog Die are popular. I usually try not to say anything about a movie on Twitter because of this. Everyone deserves to feel that sense of awe and surprise when the lights come down in their cinema.

These are as spoiler free as I can make them. I may write something else to focus on my thoughts with spoilers down the road.

If you managed to stay off the Internet and avoid any spoilers to Spider-Man: No Way Home (outside of the trailers themselves), then you are in for some grand fun that is almost on the level of Avengers: Endgame. I’ve been to the theatres a few times during the pandemic. Perhaps because it was an After-Midnight showing, but the audience was fantastic. The film comes full circle, with an adventure that celebrates Spider-Man’s guest appearance in the MCU for Disney/Marvel, while still building on the character for Sony’s purposes in the future. As a Trilogy, Jon Watts and the team deserve a round of applause for sticking the landing so very well here. The third film in a series is never easy, and even Sam Raimi found that out with Spider-Man 3. By the time the movie was done, I was soaking up the applause like Colin Robinson in What We Do In the Shadows.

The film picks up right at the last end credit from Spider-Man: Far From Home with Quentin Beck’s Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) proclaiming to the world (through J. Jonah Jameson, played by J.K. Simmons as usual) that Spider-Man was in control of the Stark Drones and that he is really Peter Parker. Normally, my first thought here would be to own it – like Stark did. However, with murders tied in, it’s a bad rap for our webbed hero and anyone associated with him. Peter decides to make things right by visiting Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, Power of the Dog) to make everyone forget that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. This gets botched and pulls through some villains that our Peter (Tom Holland) isn’t quite ready for.

As you’ve seen in the posters and trailers, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2), and Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man) along with a few others are pulled from their universe into Peter’s. When Peter discovers their fates in their own universes, he makes an attempt to save them, which puts him at odds with Doctor Strange. Can Peter find a way to change their futures, and clear his name in the process?

Of course, the gang’s all here. Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, Marisa Tomei, and Jon Favreau are all on hand for this third one. Everyone has something to offer, with Zendaya, Batalon, and Tomei carrying the most weight. The only awkward character in the whole bunch is Favreau’s Happy Hogan, who is regulated into kind of a silly comic relief here. I don’t know. I just remember Happy being a bit more capable than they way they have him this time around.

From a writing standpoint, it’s somewhat innovative. If we didn’t already have the 2019’s Academy Award winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse, I’d say No Way Home was walking into uncharted territory. The film makes up for this by allowing our Peter to choose differently, compared to what we historically know about Spider-Man and these villains. I honestly enjoyed that angle and thought it helped to drive home the whole “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility” motto that defines Spider-Man.

Musically, Michael Giacchino weaves his own form of magic here. Pulling themes both from Doctor Strange and what he’s done with the previous films, there are a number of great sequences. When all is said and done, the score for this film may very well rival Shirley Walker’s Batman: Mask of the Phantasm score for me.

At the time of this writing, it sounds like NYC is headed for another lockdown. I’m hoping that’s not the case. If this is the last movie I get to see in a theatre for a while, I’m thankful for it. Spider-Man: No Way Home completes a great handoff from Disney/Marvel to Sony. The character did what he needed for Disney/Marvel’s MCU, and Sony still holds the movie rights to the character for where they want to take him. I’m hopeful for Spider-Man’s cinematic future.

Our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man’s going to be okay.

Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner hit their marks in the Hawkeye Trailer


Hawkeye finds Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) back in the spotlight when a vigilante similar to the Ronin appears in NYC. This leads him to Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld, Bumblebee), an archer who’s just as good as our Avenger. What she’s into, we don’t know, but it makes for an excellent team up. The show bridges the character we know with the 2005 comic counterpart (with some changes to tie things into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe). With a Christmas setting, part of me hoped that Shane Black had a hand in it some where. Not to worry, as Mad Men and Bridgerton writer/producer Jonathan Igla is the showrunner here.

Hawkeye also stars Brian d’Arcy James (Spotlight), Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring), Zahn McClarnon (Doctor Sleep), Ava Russo (Avengers: Endgame), and Florence Pugh (Black Widow).

Hawkeye premieres on Disney Plus on November 24th.

Marvel releases the teaser for Chloe Zhao’s Eternals


Hot off her Oscar win for Nomadland, Chloe Zhao and Marvel released the teaser for her newest film, Eternals. Again, this was something where I had to delve into the Marvel Encyclopedia to fully understand. Originally, the Eternals are a group of humans gifted with accelerated evolution by Celestials to help guide others (perhaps similar to the angels in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire). I’m not sure where the MCU is taking this, but they’ll definitely need to explain why they’re only showing up now.

Eternals showcases quite a cast, including Captain Marvel‘s Gemma Chan (pulling a Chris Evans and playing a second Marvel character), Richard Madden (1917), Kumail Nanjiani (Stuber), Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones), Brian Tyree Henry (Godzilla v. Kong), and Angelina Jolie (Those Who Wish Me Dead)

Eternals is set to release this November.

Simu Liu & Tony Leung are at odds in the Shang-Chi Teaser


Actor Simu Liu (Meeting Mommy) dropped some teaser images from Entertainment Weekly for Marvel’s upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, where he plays the lead. As I’m unfamiliar with the character, I found myself where I always go for information on Marvel Characters – my hardcover version of The Marvel Encyclopedia. 

According to the Encyclopedia, Shang-Chi premiered in Special Marvel Edition #15 back in 1973, and while that version of the character didn’t have any superpowers, the trailer suggests this may be a little different. After all, he was also given an Ultimates treatment (where many Marvel characters were brought up to date with new stories and even new origin variants).

Shang-Chi also stars Awkafina (Jumanji: The Next Level), Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians), Ronny Chieng (Bliss) and Tony Leung (Hero, Hard Boiled), who is trying to pull Shang-Chi back to a world he’s walked away from. Murmurs across the internet say that Leung’s character is tied to the Mandarin (or is the True Mandarin instead of Ben Kingsley’s fake one in Iron Man 3) We’ll have to wait and see. The fighting action looks great so far. 

Marvel Studios is pushing for a September 3rd release. Whether that is on Disney Plus and in Theatres remains to be seen.

Film Review: Avengers: Endgame (dir by the Russo Brothers)


(Minor Spoilers Below!  Read at your own risk.)

So, how long does the no spoiler rule for Avengers: Endgame apply?  There’s so much that I want to say about this film but I know that I shouldn’t because, even though it had a monstrous opening weekend, there are still people out there who have not had a chance to see the film.  And while this review will have minor spoilers because, otherwise, it would be impossible to write, I’m not going to share any of the major twists or turns.

I will say this.  I saw Avengers: Endgame last night and it left me exhausted, angry, sad, exhilarated, and entertained.  It’s a gigantic film, with a plot that’s as messy and incident-filled as the cinematic universe in which it takes place.  More than just being a sequel or just the latest installment in one of the biggest franchises in cinematic history, Avengers: Endgame is a monument to the limitless depths of the human imagination.  It’s a pop cultural masterpiece, one that will make you laugh and make you cheer and, in the end, make you cry.  It’s a comic book film with unexpected emotional depth and an ending that will bring a tear to the eye of even the toughest cynic.  By all logic, Avengers: Endgame is the type of film that should collapse under its own weight but instead, it’s a film that thrives on its own epic scope.  It’s a three-hour film that’s never less than enthralling.  Even more importantly, it’s a gift to all of us who have spent the last ten years exploring the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The film itself starts almost immediately after the “Snap” that ended Avengers: Infinity War and we watch as Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner, returning to the franchise after being absent in the previous film) finds himself powerless to keep his family from disintegrating.  After often being dismissed as the Avengers’s weak link, both Clint Barton and Jeremy Renner come into their own in the film.  As one of two members of the Avengers who does not have super powers, Clint serves as a everyperson character.  He’s a reminder that there’s more at stake in Endgame than just the wounded pride of a few super heroes.  When Thanos wiped out half the universe, he didn’t just wipe out Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and Groot.  He also left very real wounds that will never be healed.

When the film jumps forward by five yeas, we discover that the world is now a much darker place.  When we see New York, the once vibrant city is now gray and deserted.  Our surviving heroes have all dealt with the Snap in their own way.  Clint is now a vigilante, killing anyone who he feels should have been wiped out by Thanos but wasn’t.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) drinks and eats and feels sorry for himself.  Captain America (Chris Evans) attends support groups and, in one nicely done scene, listens as a man talks about his fear of entering into his first real relationship in the years since “the Snap.”  Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is living as a recluse and is still blaming himself.  Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is now an avuncular, huge, and very green scientist.  Only Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) remains convinced that the Snap can somehow be undone.  She’s right, of course.  But doing so will involve some unexpected sacrifices and a lot of time travel….

And that’s as much as I can tell you, other than to say that the film takes full advantage of both the time travel aspects (yes, there are plenty of Back to the Future jokes) and its high-powered cast.  With our heroes — which, along with the usual Avengers, also include Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper) — hopping through time and space, we get a chance to revisit several of the films that led up to Endgame and it’s a thousand times more effective than it has any right to be.  Yes, one could argue that the cameos from Robert Redford, Tom Hiddleston, Hayley Atwell, and others were essentially fan service but so what?  The fans have certainly earned it and the MCU has earned the chance to take a look back at what it once was and what it has since become.

Indeed, Avengers: Endgame would not work as well as it does if it hadn’t been preceded by 21 entertaining and memorable movies.  It’s not just that the MCU feels like a universe that it as alive as our own, one that is full of wonder, mystery, sadness, and love.  It’s also that we’ve spent ten years getting to know these characters and, as a result, many of them are much more than just “super heroes” to us.  When Tony Stark and Captain America argue over whether it’s even worth trying to undo the Snap, it’s an effective scene because we know the long and complicated history of their relationship.  When the Avengers mourn, we mourn with them because we know their pain.  We’ve shared their triumphs and their failures.  Tony Stark may be a guy in an iron suit but he’s also a man struggling with his own demons and guilt.  Steve Rogers may be a nearly 100 year-old super solider but he’s also every single person who has struggled to make the world a better place.  As strange as it may be to say about characters known as Iron Man, Captain America, and the Black Widow, we feel like we know each and every one of them.  We care about them.

Needless to say, the cast is huge and one of the great things about the film is that previously underused or underestimated performers — like Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, and Karen Gillan — all finally get a chance to shine.  As always, the heart of the film belongs to Chris Evans while Robert Downey, Jr. provides just enough cynicism to keep things from getting to superficially idealistic.  Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo get most of the film’s big laughs, each playing their borderline ludicrous characters with just the right combination of sincerity and humor.  Of course, Josh Brolin is back as well and he’s still perfectly evil and arrogant as Thanos.  But whereas Thanos was the focus of Infinity War, Endgame focuses on the heroes.  If Infinity War acknowledged that evil can triumph, Endgame celebrates the fact that good never surrenders.

As Endgame came to an end, I did find myself wondering what the future is going to hold for the MCU.  A part of me wonders how they’re going to top the past ten years or if it’s even possible to do so.  Several mainstays of the MCU say goodbye during Endgame and it’s hard to imagine the future films without their presence.  It’s been hinted that Captain Marvel is going to be one of the characters holding the next phase of the  MCU together and, fortunately, Brie Larson is a quite a bit better in Endgame than she was in her previous MCU film.  Hopefully, regardless of what happens in the future, Marvel and Disney will continue to entrust their characters to good directors, like the Russo Brothers, James Gunn, and Taika Waititi.  (Wisely, Disney reversed themselves and rehired James Gunn for the next Guardians of the Galaxy film.  Of course, Gunn never should have been fired in the first place….)

And that’s really all I can say about Avengers: Endgame right now, other than to recommend that you see it.  In fact, everyone in the world needs to hurry up and see it so we can finally start talking about the film without having to post spoiler warnings!

For now, I’ll just say that Avengers: Endgame is a powerful, emotional, and entertaining conclusion to one of the greatest cinematic sagas ever.

Film Review: Captain Marvel (dir by Anna Bolden and Ryan Fleck)


Captain Marvel was …. well, it was okay.

I know that’s potentially a controversial opinion.  Since the movie was released last week, I’ve seen it described as being the greatest comic book movie ever made.  I’ve also seen it described as being, if not the worst film of all time, than certainly the worst chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Really, it depends on who you ask and how they voted in 2016.  Myself, I would argue that both sides are incorrect.  Captain Marvel is neither the greatest nor the worst movie ever made.  Instead …. it’s okay.  It’s a middle of the road MCU film, one that has more in common with the first Thor, Ant-Man, and The Incredible Hulk than with Black Panther or Doctor Strange.  It has its moments but there’s a reason why everyone’s favorite character is a cat who only has about 15 minutes of screen time.

Brie Larson plays Vers, who is an elite warrior for the Kree Empire.  The Kree are an alien race.  We know they’re aliens because they have blue blood and their planet looks like a more cheerful version of Blade Runner.  The Kree are at war with another group of aliens, the Skrulls.  The Skrulls are green shape-shifters and, for some reason, they have Australian accents.

Anyways, Vers can’t remember anything about her past but she’s haunted by nightmares that suggest that she might not be a Kree at all.  Instead, she might be an Earthling!  Vers gets a chance to investigate that possibility when, while escaping the forces of the Skrull general Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), Vers plummets to Earth and ends up crashing into a Blockbuster Video.  Working with a youngish Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Vers sets out to discover the truth about her past.

Ever since this film was first announced, Brie Larson has been the target of a lot of unfair criticism.  A lot of it has centered around the fact that Larson rarely smiles in the film but you know what?  Brie Larson’s resting bitch face is the most empowering thing about Captain Marvel.  Vers is a warrior and she’s on a mission.  She has no reason to smile and giggle and jump around like some sort of manic pixie dream girl.  When Vers responded to a man telling her to smile by stealing his motorcycle, I wanted to jump up and cheer.  I mean, hell yeah!  Not only did she refuse to be pushed around but she also got a sweet ride out of it!  Seriously, the next guy who tells me that I need to smile more is losing his car.

Actually, regardless of what some people on twitter seem to believe, Vers does smile in the film.  She smiles when she’s talking to her best friend, Maria Rambeau (Lashanna Lynch).  She smiles when she’s talking to Maria’s daughter, Monica (Akira Akbar).  She smiles when there aren’t any men — or Skrulls — around, demanding all of the attention.  Both Maria and Vers are smiling because, finally, they can both be themselves.  It’s a scene that, like Vers stealing that motorcycle, feels far more honest and empowering than some of the film’s other more obvious and on-the-nose girl power moments.  Maria is a rather underused character, which is a shame because the brief scenes between Maria and Vers are some of the best scenes in the film.

That said, I still had mixed feelings about Brie Larson’s overall performance.  As good as Larson has been in so many other films, she often comes across as rather wooden and awkward here.  Larson delivers almost all of her lines in a rather flat monotone and she’s not helped by some painfully clunky dialogue.  Larson’s awkwardness is painfully obvious whenever she shares a scene with more experienced co-stars like Jackson, Mendelsohn, Jude Law, or Annette Bening.  Bening practically steals the entire film, to the extent that I would have preferred the film has been about her rather than Vers.

(Again, it’s easy to compare this film to the first Thor.  Just as it took the MCU a while to figure out what to do with Thor, one gets the feeling that they’re still not quite sure who Captain Marvel is supposed to be.)

The film’s main weakness is that, when compared to the more recent MCU films. there’s no sense of wonder to Captain Marvel.  Compare the blandness of the Kree homeworld to the vivid worlds of Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor: Ragnarok.  Ben Mendelsohn brings a little bit of depth to General Talos but, beyond the shape-shifting, there’s not much to the Skrulls, either.  When Captain Marvel flies into space, there’s nothing transcendent about the moment.  It’s actually kind of boring.  Whereas previous MCU films made space feel alive, the universe feels flat in Captain Marvel.

To cite just one example, one of the film’s biggest battle scenes is over the possession of a lunchbox.  The villains think that there’s something important in the lunchbox.  However, what they don’t know is that Vers has already emptied the lunchbox and is just using it to distract them.  For some reason, directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Bolden show Captain Marvel emptying the lunchbox before the big battle.  As a result, there’s no stakes to the battle and, from the start, we know that it doesn’t matter who wins.  When, after a lengthy fight, the lunchbox is revealed to be empty, Brie Larson mutters a weak one liner that has no impact because there was never any suspense to begin with.  This is pretty basic stuff and it’s somewhat shocking that this film manages to screw it up.

Despite those flaws, Captain Marvel is occasionally diverting.  Samuel L. Jackson brings flair to even the lamest of lines and Clark Gregg has a welcome cameo as Phil Coulson.  Annette Bening plays two different roles and she kicks major ass in both of them.  (One of her characters is named Intelligence, which leads to this hilariously awkward exchange of dialogue between Larson and Bening: “Vers.”  “Intelligence.”)  Despite being buried under a ton of makeup and prosthetics, Ben Mendelsohn does a good job and Jude Law is amusingly arrogant as Vers’s mentor.  Hopefully, Lashawn Lynch will get a bigger role in a future MCU film.

And then there’s the cat.

The cat is named Goose and …, well, look, I won’t spoil it.  Let’s just say that he’s a very special cat and he steals every scene.  In this film, we discover that Nick Fury loves cats, as well he should!

Anyway, Captain Marvel is okay.  There’s a few good scenes and there’s a few clunky ones and finally, there’s Goose and that stolen motorcycle.  One gets the feeling that the most remembered scenes will probably be the ones that were inserted during the end credits.  Captain Marvel will return in Avengers: Endgame and I hope that she doesn’t smile once.