I saw Captain Marvel and figured I’d toss out some thoughts about it. Spoilers!

Brie Larson is super good. She makes Carol’s humor and detachment really work. I bought her as he cocky pilot type without needing to even see her doing much of that.

I liked how it leans on our understanding of male cocky pilot types from other movies to get us into position to understand what she and Maria fought to overcome in flight school.

There’s speculation as to whether Carol and Maria were supposed to have been a couple in the flashbacks. I think it works either way – I buy them as close friends or as girlfriends – but if the story is going to end with her leaving Earth for 24 years, you’d have to spend more time developing their relationship, Carol’s reasons for staying with Maria vs. going to help the Skrulls, etc. That would take time, but it might have made it a better movie? Also it would echo Steve leaving Peggy, which has always been a high mark for these movies.

Of the now 21 MCU movies, there’s a definite set of good ones, many in middle of the pack, and bottom. Captain Marvel is probably in the upper-middle? I think Larson and Sam Jackson work well together and elevate it but something winds up making it feel like it’s ultimately just another superhero action movie in a long line of these. I haven’t figured out what the “third heat” is that it needed.

The effects to make Jackson look young were wholly convincing. I immediately stopping looking for cracks in the façade.

I was disappointed it ended with Nick Fury actually losing the eye. I liked the gag better that stuff would keep happening to his face but we wouldn’t actually see him lose it, just that it’ll be gone by the time he shows up in Iron Man. All the cat stuff was great, though.

I was mildly concerned that using the Tesseract as the MacGuffin might turn off more casual MCU viewers. Like Black Panther, this is a movie that stands alone pretty well (as opposed to Infinity War which requires you to know that characters already). Will audiences see the blue cube and be turned off, thinking they’re supposed to know what that thing is and remember its role in other movies? After my wife saw it with our older daughter, I asked her and she didn’t have any problem with it. She remembered it was a thing in the other movies but its usage in this movie was explained well enough she didn’t need to remember its several other appearances.

I like that they got Lee Pace to blue himself for like three scenes.

One of the effective ways to challenge a high power level superhero (think Superman) is to put several different obstacles in the way that all need to be dealt with at once. When the Kree ship fired its dozen+ giant missiles at the Earth, I was actually worried for Carol. How’s she going to stop them all? Is she going to have to get her Kree squad to help? Will the Skrulls be able to neutralize some? Maybe we’ll get a moment for the US Air Force to join in? Instead, the movie choose to not swerve and just show that Carol is way more powerful that we might have guessed. It’s a good moment to show that both she’s finally come into her own and that her power level befits its cosmic cube provenance. It sets her up to immediately be able to jump into the ring with Thor and Hulk. That, along with her decades of experience, gives her the cred to take the reins from Captain America in the MCU going forward, if that’s where the story goes.

Edit, another thought: I was adequately thrown when the Skrulls were revealed to be not the baddies, but thinking about it, it cleverly lets Marvel step away from some dangerous places Skrull stories can go. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is often read to be a metaphor for the Red Scare in America. “These aliens can look just like anyone,” meaning: “anyone could secretly be a communist. Be alert!” Skrulls provide the perfect fodder for this sort of story, only nowadays the metaphor would probably be for immigrants. If the MCU went forward with, say, a “Secret Invasion” storyline, there’s a real danger it could be read to have anti-immigrant sentiments. Instead, Captain Marvel leans into this, with its hero unquestionably taking the side of refugees. The movie isn’t interested in shining a huge light on this – it doesn’t for example go out of its way to say “the Kree are ICE!” – instead, it just presents it as obvious that the hero would protect these Skrulls who are being hunted just because of their race.