On the one hand, it’s so cool that the Marvel universe finally has a female superhero in the lead role, and on paper, Brie Larson sounds like a great casting choice. But it’s hard not to notice that the finished product is rather underwhelming from the get-go: Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck don’t seem to have a grasp on tone and atmosphere, as the movie meanders from scene to scene with little cohesion or narrative flow, never establishing a pace that can match its ambitions. Additionally, Larson is rather miscast in the titular role: She can handle the dramatic and comedic demands of the role, but she lacks the natural chemistry to carry this type of blockbuster with aplomb. Overall it’s not a misfire, but there’s just a noticeable lack of “oomph,” although the chemistry between Larson and Samuel L. Jackson brings a spark of life that’s otherwise missing, and the climax is powerful and engaging.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)