Captain Marvel is a sci-fi Superhero film developed and released by Marvel Studios as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel.
The events of the movie takes place during 1995.
The Kree are a military alien race that control a large amount of the galaxy. One of their soldiers is Vers, a woman with incredibly powerful cosmic powers but amnesia. The Kree have a long lasting war with the Skrulls, a race of shapeshifter aliens that stand against the Kree empire and are known to inflitrate planets by taking the form of the planet's inhabitants. Vers is assigned to the Starforce squadron and sent to a mission to rescue a Kree agent that was captured by the Skrulls. Ronan the Accuser recomends bombing the planet with ballistic missiles but Starforce leader Yon-Rogg denies him.
Vers is captured during the mission and taken to a Skrull ship where Talos the Skrull leader uses a device to look into her memories, during which Talos finds certain memories of Vers' previous life prior to her amnesia and a scientist on planet C-53 named "Wendy Lawson" who the Skrulls are interested about. Vers escapes and crash lands into planet C-53, which is planet Earth. She lands on a Blockbuster store and causes a ruckus, but for some reason Vers feels planet Earth is familiar. The Skrulls also land on Earth and shapeshift into humans.
Nick Fury, a low ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and his assistant Phill Coulson are assigned by S.H.I.E.L.D. director Keller to investigate the strange woman that crashed into Blockbuster. Fury confronts Vers who rambles on about "The Skrull invaders who can shapeshift", Fury intends to arrest her but Vers locates a Skrull and chases after him. Fury and Coulson also chase after Vers, but during the chase Fury receives a call from Coulson who is still at Blockbuster, making Fury realize that the Coulson sitting next to him is an impostor before they get into a crash car that kills the fake Coulson who reverts to his Skrull form. Vers also loses the Skrull she was chasing so she decides to find some leads on "Wendy Lawson". Vers soon gets flashbacks were she had a life on Earth before, prompting her to also investigate who she was prior to her amnesia. Yon-Rogg instructs Vers to continue tracking the Skrulls until the rest of the Starforce can arrive.
Nick Fury tracks down Vers and asks her about the Skrulls, she explains that Skrulls have shapeshifting powers which they use to blend with the natives of planets with the goal of conquering them, their transformations are so accurate that DNA tests would be unable to tell any difference and they can replicate the memories of those they imitate, however they can only copy the short-term memory. After confirming that both Fury and Vers aren't Skrulls, the two agree to work together to get rid of the Skrulls and find Wendy Lawson before the Skrulls do. Fury and Vers travel to a S.H.I.E.L.D. base where important archives are stored to investigate Lawson, Fury also covertly calls director Keller using a pager. While exploring the base the two find a cat named Goose who takes a liking for Fury.
Studying the archives makes Vers realize that Wendy Lawson was actually a Kree scientist, she was a member of project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. and was secretly working on a device called "The Light-speed Engine", however Lawson was killed six years ago during a failed experiment with a spacecraft that crashed and the pilot flying the spacecraft also died. To her shock, Vers finds a picture of herself about to pilot the spacecraft Lawson had built and was standing next to a woman named Maria Rambeau, making her realize that she was the pilot in that failed experiment. Director Keller arrives at the base alongside multiple S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but Fury deduces that Keller is a Skrull when the latter calls him "Nicholas" instead of Fury. Realizing that his cover is blown, Talos, still imitating the S.H.I.E.L.D. director, attempts to kill Fury but Vers uses her photon blast to save Fury. Vers and Fury avoid the Skrulls disguised as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents with Coulson's help and flee in a jet, to their surprise Goose snuck into the jet. Vers shows Fury the picture of herself and Wendy Lawson and decides to find Maria Rambeau for answers. Meanwhile Talos finds a recording of the incident were Wendy Lawson died and realizes something. Upon reaching the Rambeau residence, Maria and her daughter Monica are both stunned to see their friend "Carol" still alive, but also find out she's lost her memories. Maria explains that Vers' real name is Carol Danvers, she was a USA Air Force pilot alongside Maria, the two were close friends with Dr. Wendy Lawson and Carol had been chosen to fly Lawson's spacescraft but during a test flight something went wrong and Carol was presumed dead. Carol is confused by how she ended up at the Kree's homeworld with cosmic powers and no memories, at that moment Talos appears in his Skrull form, Carol attempts to attack him but Skrulls insists that he's coming peacefully with the answers Carol wants in the recording he found at the S.H.I.E.L.D. base. Fury and Carol cautiously decide to let Talos explain himself and starts the recording. The recording reveals that the ones that attacked Carol and Dr. Lawson were actually the Kree, at that moment Carol's memories are triggered, making her remember everything.
After their spacecraft had crashed Dr. Lawson told Carol that her real name is "Mar-Vell" and instructed her to destroy the ship before the Kree can find it but Yon-Rogg killed Mar-Vell. Carol, in a moment of desperation, shot the ship's engine causing an explosion that released a large amount of cosmic radiation that Carol absorbed, giving Carol her comsic powers but also wiping her memories. Yon-Rogg then kidnapped Carol and transfused Kree blood into her to make her a Kree-Human hybrid. The Supreme Intelligence that rules the Kree placed an inhibitor that restrains Carol's powers and took advantage of her amnesia to make her into "Vers" with the intention of her being a Kree weapon. Talos also explains that the Skrulls are actually refugees trying to evade the Kree empire after their homeworld was destroyed, they use their shapeshifting powers to hide in other planets but the Kree have been spreading a fraudulent propaganda that depicts them as evil invaders. Mar-Vell was planning to use the Light-speed Engine to help the Skrulls reach a far away galaxy were the Kree couldn't find them but now Mar-Vell is dead, the Skrulls had come to Earth hoping to find what's left of her research and complete the light-speed engine.
Carol is horrified to learn that she had been misled by the Kree this whole time and vows to correct the wrongs she had done to the Skrulls. Talos informs her that Mar-Vell's laboratory were the Light-speed Engine is stored is still near Earth's orbit and they have a ship ready to go there, he then sees Goose and calls her a "Flerken" and one of the most dangerous creatures in the universe much to everyone's confusion. Carol, Maria, and Fury all agree to go with the Skrulls to Mar-Vell's laboratory, however Carol also decides that she can no longer wear a Kree Soldier uniform and with Monica's help she redesigns it into a new battle uniform for herself. As everyone departs to Mar-Vell's laboratory, the Starforce reach Earth and Yon-Rogg realizes that Vers has figured out the truth about his deception, prompting him to contact Ronan the Accusor and instruct him to bring a whole fleet to attack Earth.
At Mar-Vell's laboratory the group find a large amount of Skrull refugees including Talos' family and the energy source powering the Light-speed Engine: the Tesseract, Carol realizes that the Tesseract is also the source of her power, however they are ambushed and captured by the Starforce. The Supreme Intelligence uses the inhibitor to immobilize Carol and taunt her that without the Kree she's useless, but Carol refuses to give up and manages to destroy the inhibitor, allowing her to overpower the Supreme Intelligence and unlock the full extent of her power. Carol becomes incredibly powerful and swiftly takes down most of the Starforce except for Yon-Rogg. Kree soldiers attempt to attack Fury and Maria but Goose suddenly spawns massive tentacles out of her mouth and devours all of the soldiers. Carol asks Fury and Maria to take the Tesseract while she distracts Yon-Rogg so the Skrulls can escape but Goose swallows the Tesseract, despite the inconvenience everyone continues with the plan while Talos disguises himself as a Kree solider so he can help the Skrulls reach the ship with everyone so they can fly back to Earth. On the way back Goose is angered and scratches Fury's eye.
Ronan the Accusor arrives with a massive fleet ready to destroy Earth while Yon-Rogg takes an escape pod intending to go after the group and the Tesseract. Carol is thrown off Mar-Vell's lab and nearly crashlands again but she uses her near unlimited power to fly back into orbit and utterly destroy Ronan's fleet forcing him to retreat. Carol returns to the surface and confronts Yon-Rogg personally, Yon-Rogg is proud of Carol for unlocking her true power and challenges her to a fair fight but Carol defeats him with a single photon blast. Carol chooses not to kill Yon-Rogg however and instead tells him to go back to Hala and tell the Supreme Intelligence that she intends to take down the Kree empire when the right time comes.
With the Kree deafeated and the Tesseract still inside Goose, the Skrulls are offered to stay on Earth as they still don't have a new planet to inhabit, but Carol, wanting to finish what Mar-Vell started, offers to help the Skrulls find a new home. Before leaving, Carol gives Fury, who now has a blind eye due to Goose's scratch, an improved pager he can use to contact her while she's on a different galaxy but asks that he only calls her during an important emergency, Fury accepts and briefly calls her "Captain Marvel", a name she took a liking to.
Fury learned from recent events that there are many other alien threats out there that Earth is completely incapable to defend themselves against, but also witnessed first hand what a superpowered individual can do to protect Earth. With Danvers a couple galaxies away however, Fury created the "Protectors Initiative", a protocol meant to find more people around the world with superhuman abilities and gather them to be Earth's protectors. After learning that Danver's call name at the US Air Forces was "Avenger", he renamed the protocol into "The Avengers Initiative". Shortly after that Goose vomits the Tesseract.
For the next 23 years Fury kept the pager for himself as a secret, opting to only call Captain Marvel as a last resort and instead rely on the Avengers to protect Earth. It isn't until the Avengers failed to stop Thanos from erasing half the population of the universe that Fury decided it was time to call Danvers right before Fury himself also succumbed to the decimation. The Avengers that survived the Decimation found the pager and took it Avengers HQ, where Captain Marvel soon appeared and asked about Fury's whereabouts.
Why It Rocks
- As a brief homage to Stan Lee, who passed away a few months before the movie's release, the usual MCU introduction logo features multiple of Stan Lee's cameos throughout the franchise. His cameo in this film is also one of the most touching ones.
- The movie has fun with its 1990s setting, taking subtle jabs at aspects of the 90s culture such as Blockbuster, primitive computers, phone booths, dial-up internet, among others.
- On that topic, it has a great soundtrack consisting mostly of 90s alt rock songs like Just a Girl by No Doubt and Come As You Are by Nirvana.
- The original soundtrack is also very solid, having an epic outerwordly tone to it.
- Kelly Sue Deconnick (The writer of the very run that kick-started Carol's years as Captain Marvel in the comics) makes a cameo.
- Amazing visuals on Hala.
- Samuel L. Jackson makes a very strong performance as a younger Nick Fury, giving insight to why he's so devoted to finding individuals with supernatural powers to be Earth's protectors.
- The de-aging CGI used for Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg is very effective.
- Characters from previous MCU movies such as Phil Coulson and Ronan the Accuser make a guest appearance.
- The Skrulls are very interesting characters, especially Ben Mendelsohn's Talos and their characterization fits the comic version of the characters. It also marks the first time an element from the Fantastic Four comics was done well in film while being relevant to the plot. The twist of the Skrulls not being evil but rather refugees trying to hide from the Kree imperialism is also effective, as it subverts the stereotype green aliens being the bad guys.
- As a callback to the phase one MCU movies, S.H.I.E.L.D. once again takes the role of supporting allies.
- Has some nice nods to the Kree Skrull War in the comics. It also shows more of the Kree empire, which prior to this movie had appeared occasionally as minor antagonists in other MCU films and shows.
- Goose the Flerken is memorable and often steals the show.
- Similar to Bill Foster in Ant Man and the Wasp, Monica Rambeau (The second Captain Marvel in the comics) appears as a secondary character but this time as a child, which is a nice way to reference an important character in the comics.
- The plot structure is very formulaic, a recurring problem with most MCU films.
- Carol Danvers becomes rather overpowered after she fully becomes Captain Marvel.
- Ronan the Accuser is underutilized.
- The CGI sometimes can be fairly mediocre and the action uses way too many quick cuts which sometimes makes the movie feel more like an indie film rather than a big budget production.
Captain Marvel received mixed-to-positive reception upon release, with critics praising the 90's feel, its solid characters, the backstory of Nick Fury, and how the movie answers some questions prior to the release of Avengers: Endgame, but were critical over its formulaic structure that felt repetitive after more than 20 Marvel films.
A controversy was sparked when Brie Larson made some pro-women comments during interviews prior to the movie's release, after which some people began boycotting campaigns claiming that Brie Larson "doesn't want white males to watch the movie", this resulted in multiple attempts to review bomb the movie in Rotten Tomatoes. It was quickly noted that those notions were a complete overreaction as Brie Larson never said such quotes and Rotten Tomatoes deleted most of the review bombing attempts.
The boycotting attempts proved to be largely ineffective, however, as the movie had a very strong opening weekend and moderately positive reception from regular audiences. The movie would the go on to be one of the second most financially successful MCU to date, just behind Avengers: Endgame, though it still also became one of the more controversial ones due to the misunderstanding and overreactions over Brie-Larson's previous comments.
The DC Comics character Shazam was originally named "Captain Marvel" before its name was changed due to a legal dispute with Marvel Comics who also own a character named Captain Marvel. By complete coincidence, both Captain Marvel and Shazam had their first live action film adaptations released around the same time in Spring 2019.