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”.
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”).
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.
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.