It’s So Safe
This is not a cinema in the typical, historic classic genre style. We know by now that MCU superhero films have become their own little subgenre, and this newest one is just the next stage in the metaphorical rollercoaster that is the Marvel universe; it’s thrilling, brightly-colored, loud, enjoyable, but ultimately completely safe. For any moment you may begin to think they’re taking a big risk with this film’s deviation from MCU norm, there’s another moment to mercifully neutralise that.
It's all given away by that classic, cynical MCU humour littered throughout - every joke and snide comment reading as though they’ve got Ryan Reynolds locked up in a basement somewhere pumping out one-liners in return for food and sunlight. Yes, of course I’m aware that Reynolds doesn’t actually write for Marvel (this film being penned by Michael Waldron, best known for working on Rick and Morty and Marvel’s Loki), but it’s all the same kind of Hollywood-tame comedy that tries to come off as edgy. I’m fairly sure as far as Disney is concerned, Rick and Morty is the peak of edgy! And so from the same character that brought us “Scooby-Do this crap,” we now get a quirky love-hate relationship between a know-it-all magical kid and a self-hating pseudo-mentor.
Chavez-MacGuffin Speaking of said know-it-all, let’s just get it out there straight up: they may as well have given our newest MCU female superhero a double-barrelled surname and just called her America Chavez-MacGuffin. You’ll see a lot of criticism of this exact character and how they utilised her, and it’s all valid – but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have a good ride with her anyway. Xochitl Gomez does a good enough job with what she is given and they gifted her just enough back-story to get by, meaning she’s not totally two-dimensional but she’s certainly not 3D. She’s embossed at best.
Essentially the problem is that the whole Chavez character felt lazy. Early on we get an exposition dump that was just one wink-to-the-camera short of being outright satire, and we sort of just have to let it happen. A plot entirely based on a MacGuffin character is bound to feel lazy, and at multiple points you could almost hear a sigh in the theatre as we collectively agreed that this was bottom-tier writing as far as the MCU goes.