Captain Marvel producer Jonathan Schwartz says the film was inspired by classic 1990s action movies like Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Independence Day. The 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe overall, Captain Marvel doubles as an introduction to Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and a prequel to most of the MCU movies before it. Indeed, much of the film takes place years before the events of the original Iron Man in the '90s, at a time when the Avengers Initiative was barely a glimmer in Nick Fury's still-working two eyes.
Speaking of Fury: Samuel L. Jackson reprises the character in Captain Marvel, with the assistance of some CGI de-aging to make him look more like SLJ himself did in the '90s. The movie follows Carol as she makes her way to earth and teams up with Fury in an effort to stop the ongoing Kree-Skrull war and learn more about her past, before she became a member of the warrior Kree team known as Starforce. Fittingly enough, the film's creatives actually looked to movies from the '90s (or, in one particular case, the late '80s) for inspiration, when it comes to Captain Marvel's genre and tone.
Screen Rant got to visit the Captain Marvel set last year and spoke with several members of the film's cast and crew, Schwartz included. The producer had the following to say about how he would qualify the movie, in terms of its genre:
It feels weird calling it a genre but the genres is 90s action movie. Like if you think about movies like Robocop or Total Recall or Terminator 2 or Independence Day I think there are common action movie threads you can tease through those movies which are what we're trying to pick up on in this movie.
It's easy to pick out the "common action movie threads" these film share with Captain Marvel, when you break each one down. Terminator 2, for example, follows a battle-hardened human (Sarah Connor) and powerful part-human warrior (the T-800) as they join forces to take on a shape-shifting villain (the T-1000); change the names of the characters to "Nick Fury", "Carol Danvers", and "The Skrulls", and you basically have the plot to Captain Marvel. The sci-fi elements further link the latest MCU film to these movies, be it a story about the hero rediscovering their forgotten past - something RoboCop, Total Recall, and Captain Marvel have in common - or the alien invasion plot that connects Carol Danvers' solo adventure to Independence Day (though, obviously, the invasions play out very differently).
Of course, Captain Marvel is a film that looks back on the '90s and revisits these tropes from the vantage point of the present, unlike the movies that inspired it. That allows Carol Danvers' solo film to be a little more self-aware about these common threads and how to better subvert them, while at the same time delivering an intelligent mix of genre thrills and storytelling, in the same way that something like Terminator 2 did. It also sets Captain Marvel apart from the rest of the MCU in terms of genre, in addition to its historical setting and female protagonist (though, obviously, there's that too). All in all, it's good to know the '90s aspect here runs a little deeper than just having Carol crash-land in a Blockbuster Video store when she first arrives on earth.
- 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 02, 2019