I just got home from seeing Captain Marvel (the only person in the small-town cinema), and I have one major complaint about it—but it’s not what you think.

The Laundry List

I can see some merit in some of the complaints I’ve read. It gets a touch heavy with the “men are bad” angle in a couple places, but not to excess. I’m ambivalent about gender-swapping Mar-Vell. I would have liked to see the male version I grew up with, but Benning did a good job with it. I disliked the “Skulls are refugees” theme—but mostly because it removes the possibility of the Kree being a complex race and just makes them one-note “evil blue conquerors”.

My Complaint

Cinematography.

First of all, the 3D was over-done. The “depth of field” in some of the shots was so extreme that I couldn’t focus on anything. The initial scenes on Hala where a ship comes from “behind” and flies into a landing bay is a perfect example. Where was the focus supposed to be? I couldn’t focus on the ship at all (which was what I think I was supposed to do—it was “down center” flying to “center stage”).

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Secondly (and connected), a ton of shots were horribly framed. The perfect example is a heart-felt discussion between Carol and Maria becomes “Carol talking to a fuzzy brown blob” and “Maria talking to a fuzzy blond blob”. A full 1/3 of the screen is taken up by out-of-focus hair.

In the scene where Monica is showing Carol all the photos, her hair keeps intruding into the bottom of the screen. I though someone was standing up in front of the projector the first couple times, then I realized it was out-of-focus hair bobbing into and out of the frame.

Finally, the fight cinematography frequently fell back on the old “cut every 1.3 seconds and move the camera around a lot to show how exciting everything is”. I know that not everything can be River vs. Reavers or Daredevil in a hallway, but from the bits in first sparring session, it looked like Larson had the fight choreography down well enough to raise the excitement level in longer, more focused shots.

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Overall

Cinematography aside, it was an fun movie. Not my favorite (CA:First Avenger), nor did I hate it (Ragnarok). But I know I’m not the demographic they were targeting.