After a long-anticipated debut, Captain Marvel finally made her entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the 21st installment of the superhero franchise. The film is packed with a familiar blend of action, humor, and comic book nerdom that fans have come to expect out of the series, all while offering up a hero that is unlike any we’ve ever seen before.
Captain Marvel follows the story of Carol Danvers, a Kree warrior with incredible power who can’t seem to recall her past. While helping her fellow soldiers wage war against the Skrulls — an alien race who possess the ability to shape-shift — Carol crash lands on Earth, the very planet that holds the key to uncovering her mysterious origins.
Carol Danvers made her comic book debut all the way back in 1968’s Marvel Super-Heroes #13. However, she was far from the first incarnation of Captain Marvel. In fact, Carol wouldn’t even take up this superhero mantel until 2012 on the page. But even those who are more than familiar with the character’s history in the comics are still in for a few surprises when going to see the movie.
With the story being set in 1995 — over a decade before Nick Fury ever tried to recruit Tony Stark for his Avengers Initiative — Captain Marvel had to get creative when it came to tying itself into the franchise's overarching continuity. The movie also wasn’t afraid to take liberties with its source material, oftentimes, for the better. So let's take a closer look at The 18 Best Things About Captain Marvel (And 3 Things We Didn't Like At All.)
21 Best: Goose, The Flerken Cat
Who would’ve thought that the breakout star of Captain Marvel would’ve been a cat named Goose? Yet, that’s exactly what happened when this friendly feline strolled onto the scene and cozied up to none other than Nick Fury.
Of course, Goose is no regular house cat, which is revealed when he/ she/ it goes full-Flerken on a swarm of enemies. For those who aren’t familiar with the weirder parts of Marvel Comics, they might find it a bit far-fetched that this alien organism is able to swallow an Infinity Stone. However, Flerkens actually serve as gateways to pocket dimensions. Fittingly, the species first appeared in a 2014 issue of Captain Marvel.
20 Best: The ‘90s Nostalgia
‘80s nostalgia has certainly enjoyed its fair share of play in recent years thanks to shows like Stranger Things and movies like the MCU’s very own Guardians of the Galaxy. So it’s about time they gave the '90s some love as well.
Captain Marvel perfectly throws us back into a time when wearing grunge and sporting a beeper at the same time was still considered cool. The references might seem overdone to some, but this really was a decade when Blockbusters and RadioShacks could be found almost everywhere. And yes, webpages really did take that long to load.
19 Best: There’s No Way To See The Skrull Twist Coming
Just one look at the Skrulls and there’s no mistaking this race of aliens for the villains of Captain Marvel. At least, that’s exactly what the filmmakers wanted us to think. With their added ability to shape-shift, the Skrulls seemed like they would be the perfect enemies for an all-powerful character like Captain Marvel.
But in war, things are rarely as they seem. So by the end of the movie, it actually seems like the Skrulls have undergone far more pain than that of the Kree. Of course, that doesn't mean that there still can't be some rouge Skrulls wreaking havoc elsewhere in the universe.
18 Best: An Origin Story That’s Not Exactly The Same
This deep into the superhero craze and movie-goers are understandably getting tired of the same old origin story. The character arcs in these tentpole films often follow the exact same pattern, which leaves little room for surprises.
Thankfully, Captain Marvel managed to massively shake up this trend by throwing us right into the action. At the start, Carol already has her powers, it’s her past that remains a mystery. So instead of watching her origin play out in a linear fashion, we get to piece her past together throughout the course of the film right alongside the character.
17 Worst: How Fury Lost His Eye Is Kinda… Boring
In the comics, Nick Fury’s eye is injured as the result of a grenade blast, which causes him to gradually lose his sight. So inevitably, when Fury was set to appear with both of his eyes intact in Captain Marvel, fans couldn’t help but wonder in what epic way the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent would lose his eye in the MCU.
There's nothing wrong with the filmmakers trying to subvert viewers expectations. But the actual moment where Fury gets his eye scratched out by Goose is just plain anti-climactic. It also doesn't make a whole lot of sense considering how fond the cat was of Fury.
16 Best: Tying Carol’s Powers Into The Franchise Via The Tesseract
Making a prequel to a franchise that is now 21 movies deep would be a massive undertaking. Especially when you’re trying to integrate the story into the same continuity without creating a ton of plot-holes in the process. Yet, Captain Marvel managed to find the perfect linchpin to link the hero to the overall universe: the Tesseract.
From Odin’s vault to Red Skull’s hands, the Tesseract has had a long, complicated history. But in Captain Marvel, we learn more about the role the Tesseract played at S.H.I.E.L.D. throughout the '80s and '90s. This is also how the Tesseract ended up granted Carol her powers during an unexpected series of events.
15 Best: All The Skrull Switcheroos
Introducing the Skrulls into the MCU hasn’t certainly opened the floodgates for fan speculation over who could already be one of these alien shapeshifters. While the big twist in Captain Marvel might significantly calm a lot of those theories, at least Captain Marvel had a lot of fun with all of these Skrull switcheroos.
Even better was that the movie kept these reveals short and sweet. This allowed them to work in a number of small surprises throughout the film, instead of just banking on one big reveal at the end.
14 Best: Leaving Room For An Immediate Sequel
While Captain Marvel digs deeper into the relations between the Kree and Skrull races, it also feels like we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of the greater Marvel universe. Thankfully, Captain Marvel ended by leaving plenty of possibilities for a sequel — one that can take place in between the events of this film and the present day timeline.
From the mid-credits scene, we already know that Carol will be playing a major role in Endgame. But with any luck, we'll eventually be able to take another look back and see what ever became of her search to find a home for the Skrulls.
13 Best: Brie Larson Is The Perfect Fit For Captain Marvel
While plenty of MCU heroes crack jokes because they want to be seen as the cleverest person in the room, Carol Danvers seems to do it as a defense mechanism. It’s her way to cut the tension and set herself apart from others while she tries to figure out who she is.
Playing a character who doesn't know her past can’t be easy. Yet the extremely-talented Brie Larson toes this line perfectly. The actress really helps create a hero that’s worth rooting for, even when Carol’s still not entirely certain about her place in the world.
12 Worst: The Pager Plot-hole
After Fury pulled out his Captain Marvel pager at the end of Infinity War, fans have been waiting for an explanation as to how he got his hands on the device in the first place. Or, more importantly, why he waited so long to use it?
Fury has watched the world teeter on the brink of destruction countless times before. Surely any of these disasters would have warranted calling Carol back to Earth. Yet, Fury uses it in a moment when he's not even certain what' going on, which seems a little too convenient for the plot.
11 Best: The Spot-On Soundtrack
While the MCU still lacks any recognizable scores outside of the Avengers theme, they continue to knock it out of the park when it comes to picking the soundtracks. The Guardians films are certainly the frontrunner when it comes to the music, though Captain Marvel also featured its fair share of catchy and era-appropriate tunes.
We never would have thought that "Just A Girl" by No Doubt would have been a good song to set to action sequences. Yet somehow, the movie made it work. "Come as You Are" by Nirvana and "Only Happy When It Rains" by Garbage set the backdrop during a few more memorable moments as well.
10 Best: The Heartfelt Tribute To Stan Lee
With Stan Lee’s passing in November of last year, the Marvel Comics icon likely has only one cameo left in the MCU, which is expected to come with the release of Endgame. As for Captain Marvel, Lee once against popped up for his brief moment in the spotlight, where he is seen reading a script for Kevin Smith’s 1995 film Mallrats — which he also cameoed in as himself.
But the real tribute to Lee came before the film even started. Instead of the standard Marvel Studios logo that flashes one superhero across the screen after the next, we got one that was dedicated solely to Stan Lee.
9 Best: An Inside Look At The Kree Empire
After hearing a lot about the Kree in both of the Guardians films, Captain Marvel finally gave fans an inside look at how this galactic empire functions. The Kree have always seemed to have a strained relationship with the other cosmic powerhouses, including the Asgardians and the Nova Corps. And now, it’s not hard to see why.
The Kree seem hellbent on uncovering any technology that gives them the upper hand, especially since they seem to be at constant war. Captain Marvel certainly piqued our interested in the Kree Empire, which will hopefully play a bigger role as the MCU continues its cosmic expansion.
8 Best: A Young, Care-Free Nick Fury
Ever since he strolled onto the scene in the very first Iron Man, Nick Fury is often the one character who's left brooding while the heroes around him continue to crack jokes. But in Captain Marvel, we finally got to see another side of Fury, one that is much more carefree than the battle-hardened Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. that he came to be.
This is a nice change of pace for the movie, which finds Fury and Carol teaming up in buddy-cop fashion. Both characters, while highly experienced, are still relatively naive — which only makes sense considering that it's their first real brush with cosmic disaster.
7 Best: De-Aging Fury And Coulson
The MCU has dipped their toes into the de-aging waters before, but never to the extent featured in Captain Marvel. Luckily, they've gotten better and better at the CGI process with each installment.
A young Tony Stark and Hank Pym looked decent in Captain America: Civil War and Ant-Man, but there was still a plasticky-appearance to their faces. There was significant improvement with Ego and Janet Van Dyne, but these younger versions were on screen only briefly in their respective films. But with Coulson and Fury, the effect ran almost the entirety of the movie without ever really drawing attention to itself.
6 Worst: The Skrull Prosthetics Stilted The Actors’ Performances
While the de-aging of Coulson and Fury may have been perfect, unfortunately, we can’t quite say the same about the Skrulls.
While these creature designs look great, the heavy prosthetics couldn't help but take away from the actors’ performances. For instances, we get a lot more emotion out of Ben Mendelson's Talos when he's impersonating Fury's boss than we ever do when he's in his original form. It may not have been a huge strike against the film, but it's ultimately a step back from what the MCU did with Thanos in Infinity War.
5 Best: Jude Law As The Villainous Yon-Rogg
In the long lead-up to Captain Marvel, there was much speculation over who Jude Law would play in the film. Many fans expected him to play Mar-Vell, the original incarnation of Captain Marvel who eventually passes on the mantel to Carol Danvers. But Law actually appears as the villainous Yon-Rogg in the movie.
Law certainly has the talent to play both good and bad, but he seems like a particularly good pick to play the self-assured mentor-turned-adversary of Carol. Thankfully, Yon-Rogg doesn't meet his demise by the film's end, so there's always the chance that will get to see more of the actor in future installments.
4 Best: Seeing Korath and Ronan Before They Were Key Players
It’s no secret that the MCU has a bad habit of knocking off some of their more interesting villains after only one movie. Luckily, they’ve been correcting this trend in recent films by leaving villains like Vulture, Thanos, and now even Yon-Rogg around for more than one movie.
Captain Marvel also gave us a look back at some villains who ended up meeting their demise in Guardians of the Galaxy. Korath and Ronan may not play a very prominent role in the movie, but it was still cool to see what these characters were up to before they decided to go full-on evil.
3 Best: Making The Original Mar-Vell A Woman
The MCU still has a long way to go when it comes to representing female heroes in their films. Of course, Captain Marvel was a big step in the right direction for the franchise. The filmmakers didn't just do Carol Danvers justice, but they also decided to modify the origins of the original Mar-Vell.
Instead of the part going to a male, the MCU decided to make the predecessor of Captain Marvel a female as well — which is where Annette Bening’s character came into play. Not only was this another welcome twist to the story, but it also made it so Carol wasn't simply following in the footsteps of a man.
2 Best: The Costumes
Carol Danvers has worn her fair share of costumes throughout her time in the comics — many of which would have been extremely tasteless had they ever made their jump to the big screen. Thankfully, the MCU once again knocked it out of the park when it came to making a costume that remained faithful to the source material while also not looking utterly ridiculous in real-life.
From the green and black Kree armor to the purple Skrull suits, these costumes were all a pleasure to feast our eyes upon in the film. Though, it was Carol’s final Captain Marvel suit that was the standout of them all.
1 Best: The ‘Protector’ Initiative
Like most MCU movies, Captain Marvel is replete with Easter eggs — ones that give a nod to the comics, other series installments, as well as pop culture references. But one of the best comes at the end of the film when Nick Fury decides to expand his search for superheroes.
While back in his office, Fury decides to start The Protectors Initiative — a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. project that will help protect the planet should another global threat take place. But since the idea came to him courtesy of Carol Danvers, he decides to use her pilot’s call sign to rename the project, ultimately settling on The Avengers Initiative instead.
So what were your favorite/ least favorite parts of Captain Marvel? Sound off in the comments!