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So How’s ‘Big Feminist Movie’ ‘Captain Marvel’? The Early Reviews Are In.

Marvel’s newest installment to its cinematic universe has garnered a lot of buzz over the last few weeks, some of which hasn’t been particularly good. In fact, backlash against star Brie Larson touting her efforts to make sure the film was “a big feminist movie” and the press junket wasn’t “overwhelmingly white male” got bad enough that Rotten Tomatoes decided to make some big changes. But just a few days away from the film’s release Friday, the early reviews are streaming in — and it’s a mixed bag, but far more good than bad.

With 68 early reviews in, Rotten Tomatoes currently gives “Captain Marvel” a strong 91% approval. As evident by the score, most of the reviewers found the film to be largely a success, though even those positive reviews usually score the film as mediocore, often rating it between a 3.5 or 4 out of 5. A few pull quotes from positive reviews provided by the review site:

  • “Captain Marvel takes a while to find its pace, but when it does, it doesn’t dissapoint.” — Attitude’s Joe Passmore (Score: 4/5)
  • “This movie is no Black Panther or, if we’re expanding the field of comparison, Wonder Woman… Luckily, Captain Marvel doesn’t have to be better than all of the MCU’s previous films to be something enjoyable.” — Den of Geek’s Kayti Burt (Score: 3.5/5)
  • “Survives a bumpy ride of origin story tropes and sci-fi jibber-jabber to become a supernova of a superhero movie sure to shake up the MCU.” — Matt’s Movie Reviews’ Matthew Pejkovic (Score: 3.5/5)
  • “Captain Marvel has all the usual MCU humor and action (with a few surprises), and plenty of girl power moments in Larson’s strong performance.” — ScreenRant’s Molly Freeman (Score: 4/5)
  • “‘Captain Marvel’ mostly plays like a perfectly solid addition to this massive commercial franchise. It’s fun and breezy but also a tad familiar.” — Screen International’s Tim Grierson (no score)
  • “Liberating. Cute. Forgettable.” — Movie Nation’s Roger Moore (Score: 2.5/5)

A few excerpts from more critical reviews:

  • “The picture is not dull, exactly, just mundane, marked by unimaginative plotting, cut-rate villains, a bland visual style and a lack of elan in every department.” — The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy (no score)
  • “The first female-led movie of the MCU deserved more.” — Associated Press’s Lindsey Bahr (Score: 2.5/4)
  • “Only the most dedicated Marvel fans will follow this Captain.” — Newsday’s Rafter Guzman (Score: 2/4)
  • “The character, even when kicking ass, is a total bore.” — New York Post’s Johnny Oleksinski (Score: 1.5/4)
  • “It’s everything you might expect a sci-fi superhero movie to be, if you hadn’t seen one in a long time.” — AV Club’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (Score: C)

Larson made headlines in early February when she told Marie Claire UK’s Keah Brown that she has taken steps to make sure the movie’s press junket is not “overwhelmingly white male.”

“About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male,” said Larson. “So, I spoke to Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of colour, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses.”

In another interview in February, Larson told Entertainment Tonight that she met with the studio about making “Captain Marvel” a “big feminist movie.”

Larson’s comments prompted a backlash online, with some would-be viewers visiting Rotten Tomatoes to let the site know that they weren’t interested in seeing the movie anymore. The work of the “right-wing trolls,” as left-wing outlets branded them, ended up inspiring the review site to scrub its “want to see” score and disabling its pre-release comments function for films.

Related: ‘Captain Marvel’ Star Gets Political; ‘Trolls’ Hit Rotten Tomatoes, So Site Makes Changes

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