Captain Marvel's review embargo is lifting later than usual for a Marvel Studios project, but there's a good reason why. Starring Brie Larson as the titular hero, the next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will officially introduce Carol Danvers. Pitched to be the future of the film series, Captain Marvel will take the place of its founding members such as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) who are expected to bow out after Avengers: Endgame.
Set in 1995, Captain Marvel will predate the events of 2008's Iron Man and will feature young, still two-eyed Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) as they encounter Danvers. A member of Kree's Starforce, her adventures in Earth is linked with the ongoing Kree-Skrull war as characters from both sides of the conflict like Yon Rogg (Jude Law), Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Benning). As an important piece of the MCU lore, not to mention the fact that it debuts the franchise's first female headlining hero, the film is hotly-anticipated by fans. However, unlike its predecessors, the review embargo for the movie is lifting a bit later which may take some as a cause for concern.
The Captain Marvel review embargo lifts at 6am PST/9am EST/2pm GMT on Tuesday March 5, just two days ahead of the first public screenings. Lifting review embargos early is taken as a sign that studios are confident about the quality of their newest release and, conversely, having an embargo lift days or even hours before a film opens to the public is taken as a move to mitigate disaster. Powerhouse that it is, the MCU is known for lifting review embargos aat least couple of weeks before a movie hits theaters. This has become more apparent in recent years with Thor: Ragnarok's lifting two weeks in advance, while Black Panther got an 18-day lead time. Captain America: Civil War's reviews went live three weeks before the movie debuted to the public.
That Captain Marvel's reviews aren't dropping until the Tuesday of its week of release could be seen as a sign Marvel aren't totally confident in their latest film. Granted, Avengers: Infinity War also had a late embargo, but that was to protect spoilers; in fact, the Joe and Anthony Russo-directed film didn't fully screen until its L.A. premiere, unlike Captain Marvel which already screened for press doing interviews for the movie prior to its world premiere. So, is there any reason to be concerned about the film?
Not really. The social media embargo for Captain Marvel has already lifted after screenings for junket press, and the general consensus is that it's a worthy addition to the MCU portfolio with standout performances from Larson and Mendelsohn. While these tweets obviously can't provide a full, nuanced take, it's safe to say that Marvel Studios has another hit on their hands (and definitely not a dud). The delayed lifting of the review embargo is thus unlikely to be linked to quality fears.
Indeed, the main roadblock seems to be the film's premiere schedule. Captain Marvel's premiere is on March 4 (with many press screenings around the world happening the same day). It's safe to assume that Marvel Studios wants to have the review embargo lift after that event and for as wide a spread of critics to have reviews ready for the embargo. That, of course, raises the question of why the premiere wasn't scheduled earlier, and the culprit there is the Oscars. Since the 91st Academy Awards was on February 24 in the Dolby Theatre, there's little room for the L.A. Captain Marvel premiere until next week due to the cleanup.
While traditional embargo fears suggest Captain Marvel's reviews have been pushed back, the truth is that it's very much out of Marvel's hands and far from a sign to be worried.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019