Just right off the bat, I can tell that with more appearances in the future, Captain Marvel will truly come into her own. I would argue a lot of MCU heroes struggled to have a perfect "batting average" in their first outing. Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Doctor Strange, some of the Guardians all more or less had an okay to average beginning. Not every character can hit immediately like Downey Jr.'s Iron Man or Evans' Captain America, but with more appearances they became more and more better. I think the same applies to Carol Danvers. This movie suffers from what I like to call "first movie syndrome."
The characters are great, but there are some problems within the film. It's very muddled and disjointed in the first and middle act, and to be honest the story is pretty basic and by the books. But it picks up steam near the end and flows a lot better. Characters and the character moments are really what salvage the film overall.
Brie Larson is very good as Carol Danvers. I like this everywoman quality about her, the film doesn't make a point about her being an attractive woman, she's just a weird and kinda quirky superhero, with a bit of sass, which was nice to see. Her dynamic with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is dynamite. Jackson also has a lot of fun with a cat named Goose, which I believe will be everyone's favorite aspect of the film. Lashana Lynch is also great. She has a nice tender moment with Carol in the film.
The main surprise, but it shouldn't have been is Ben Mendelsohn. Pretty much hijacked the film for his performance as Talos the Skrull leader. The Skurlls themselves looked great as well. Jude Law has meaty role and also shares nice banter between himself and Carol. I can't say the same for the Starforce Team. I would have liked to explore Hala and the world of the Kree a little more than what the film offers.
I was also disappointed in Clark Gregg's and Lee Pace's roles. I obviously knew they weren't going to be large, but I expected more from them. Especially Lee Pace. Being that I am a fan of his performance as Ronan in GUARDIANS VOL. 1, I really thought we'd get just a little more on his backstory. I believe a lot was cut from the film as there were set photos of Pace, Law and Larson together at one point.
Also there are some cool and neat twists and turns within the film. Being that I am a fan of comics, I was able to piece it all together quite quickly, but I liked how they handled it. Not exactly comic-accurate but it was a nice reveal.
For the record I have no problem with CAPTAIN MARVEL, none of which involved the ridiculous hate the fans expressed. Brie Larson is her own person with her own beliefs, and if you carefully exam her quotes, she doesn't mean any malicious intent. She probably could have handled or worded it better. The media and the toxic fans can easily take her quotes out of context. Haters will hate.
However, I've echoed this before, and I'll say it again. I had only one concern and that concern is that she can't be the reason why Thanos is defeated. I trust the Russo Brothers to not make her the savior of AVENGERS ENDGAME. It would cheapen the ORIGINAL SIX - Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, & Hawkeye who started the MCU together. Certainly she can absolutely have her moment and she absolutely should kick major ass, but...
INFINITY WAR strongly sets up Tony Stark as the key figure that Doctor Strange gives up the time stone to save. Stark is more important than an infinity stone. ENDGAME sets up an intense and emotional arc for Steve Rogers a man who gave everything up, his own life, his own time, and his own love for the world. It has to be the original six, especially Stark and Rogers, as the MCU revolves around Iron Man and Captain America. It is closure to two of the greatest characters to ever grace the Marvel screen whom we invested with for 10 years as it is quite possibly their last hoorah. They deserve this more than Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, etc.
I only say this because, when she eventually masters her abilities it came across too easily. She is quite powerful a little too fast, and dare I say it, it is almost within the same territory as Rey from STAR WARS. Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck do a commendable job, but like Ryan Coogler and others, the character dynamic and the character moments shine, but the action is severely lacking. Yes there are some cool moments, but we've seen it all before. There is nothing truly memorable compared to what the Russo Brothers are able to do in their films, and even Whedon and Gunn to an extent.
To sum it up, it's a Phase 1 film in a Phase 3 slate. Like I said before, the MCU struggled to their characters going with the exception of Iron Man and Captain America, but I think with more appearances from her will definitely help. If we're comparing, DC's WONDER WOMAN did it better, but it's a good start for Carol. I don't have to tell you to stick around till the end. You really don't want to miss it.