Warning: SPOILERS for Captain Marvel
It's easy to point out all of the things that Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel did right in bringing the first female-led film to the big screen. Through the introduction of the Skrulls, a further exploration of the Kree, and the unique take on Carol Danvers' origin, there are quite a few highlights of the film that showcase why Captain Marvel was a success. However, there are a number of things in the movie that had us scratching our heads. This is partly due to the audience knowing as little as the main character of Vers when she is first introduced on screen, having lost all of her memories before the start of the film.
Since Captain Marvel takes place mostly in 1995, it opens a number of possibilities to explore a period of the MCU previously unseen, but it also can lead to a few instances in the film that just don't fit in with the rest of the established cinematic universe. There were quite a few creative decisions in the film that weren't explained as well as a more linear story might have been able to accomplish. Whether they are timeline inconsistencies, contradictions, or just plain confusing story points, there were a number of "makes no sense" moments in Captain Marvel that we will take a closer look at today.
25 WHY DO THE KREE HATE THE SKRULL?
We know why the Skrull are fighting the Kree, as it is revealed in the film that they are refugees without a planet fighting for survival. However, it's never explicitly explained why the Kree is set on eliminating the Skrull race, besides the false information given to Carol about the "Skrull expansion." If the Skrulls aren't really attempting to take over the various worlds held by the Kree as Talos reveals, then why are the Kree dead set on wiping out the Skrull?
24 WHY WAS CAROL'S BLOOD BLUE IN THE VISION OF HER ACCIDENT ON EARTH?
In the opening dream sequence, we see Carol Danvers on Earth following the accident. During this scene we see blue blood coming from Carol's nose, though on Earth she wouldn't have had blue blood yet. While it could just be an effect of the dream state, it stands to reason instead that the Kree may have altered this memory to match her current blue-blooded state, but it still seems odd considering both Yon-Rogg and the Supreme Intelligence seem curious about her dreams.
23 WHY WAS MAR-VELL ON EARTH?
As a Kree scientist with ulterior motives of ending the war and saving the Skrull, what exactly was her mission on Earth? Was she a renegade from the Kree empire or was she on Earth for another mission altogether? Did the Kree know what the Tesseract can do and that it was on Earth? If Mar-Vell was attempting to find a way to end the war and find the Skrulls a new planet, how does that bring her to Earth and the Tesseract?
22 WHY DID THE KREE WANT THE LIGHTSPEED DRIVE?
When Mar-Vell and Carol are attacked in the prototype lightspeed ship, Mar-Vell reveals that the Kree are there for her, and her work. But why do the Kree want a Lightspeed Drive? Is it just to keep it out of the hands of the Skrull? After all, the Kree are seen using jump points through space that seem to allow for quick travel across the galaxy already, so why would the Kree care about a faster ship? This brings up the question again of whether or not the Kree know of the Tesseract's presence on Earth.
21 HOW DID MAR-VELL GET THE TESSERACT?
Prior to the Tesseract's appearance in 2012's The Avengers, the last we saw of the disguised Space Stone was in Captain America: The First Avenger. The Tesseract was found by Howard Stark in the Arctic waters when he was searching for Steve Rogers. The Tesseract presumably then fell into the Strategic Scientific Reserve's hands, which would eventually become S.H.I.E.L.D. Project Pegasus was a joint S.H.I.E.L.D. and NASA project, so how did Mar-Vell get into either organization to work with the Tesseract?
20 WHY DID MAR-VELL'S PROTOTYPE LIGHTSPEED SHIP HAVE WEAPONS?
We first see Mar-Vell's prototype lightspeed ship during Carol's flashback after hearing the black box recording. The two are flying to Mar-Vell's hidden laboratory when they are unexpectedly attacked. Mar-Vell even remarks that she shouldn't have brought Carol along, implying she assumed it would be safe to do so. So then why were weapons installed on the prototype ship? Seems like an incredibly dangerous addition to a test vehicle that could blow up at any time without extra weaponry on board.
19 HOW DID CAROL ABSORB THE ENERGY FROM THE LIGHTSPEED SHIP'S EXPLOSION?
Carol fulfills Mar-Vell's dying wish and destroys the Lightspeed Drive before Yon-Rogg and the Kree can get it, causing an explosion of extreme energy that by all rights should have destroyed Carol. After all, at this point she's merely a human, right? or is there another reason for Carol's ability to absorb the energy from the lightspeed engine? In the comics, it was revealed that Carol is actually half-Kree and her abilities were activated by a similar explosion, but no indications of her Kree heritage are shown in the film.
18 ARE THE SKRULLS USING STARK'S B.A.R.F. TECHNOLOGY?
As the film takes place in 1995, this obviously isn't Tony Stark's own memory tech, known as Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing, or B.A.R.F. It's interesting that the Skrulls, and the Kree to some extent, are both using memory-altering tech like the kind first seen in Captain America: Civil War. There has been a lot of online discussion about B.A.R.F. and its role in the MCU, could it be used at some point in Endgame to undo the Kree's initial alterations to Carol's memory for some story-relevant reason?
17 HOW DID THE SKRULLS GET TO EARTH SO FAST WITHOUT LIGHTSPEED ENGINES?
Unless the planet Torfa is incredibly close to Earth, which is unlikely considering that nothing is close when it comes to space, the Skrulls arrived on Earth in what appeared to be record time. Granted, viewers aren't aware of how long Vers was unconscious or having her memories rifled through by the Skrulls, but when Carol escapes they are already in Earth's orbit. Considering how long it took for Yon-Rogg and Starforce to get to Earth using jump points, the Skrulls must have had a pretty fast ship.
16 ISN'T RONAN AN EXILED FANATIC?
We first encountered Ronan the Accuser in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy where he waged war against Xandar, a planet that had a peace treaty with the Kree Empire. The version seen in Captain Marvel is the leader of the Accusers and has yet to embrace the bloody markings he wears in GotG that earned him the title of a zealot. However, while his appearance in the film is a nice callback, it fails to offer any lead in to his future exile from the Kree and partnership with Thanos.
15 HOW DOES KORATH BECOME A CYBORG?
Similarly to Ronan, Korath the Pursuer first appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy working alongside Ronan. In that appearance Korath is revealed to have cybernetic enhancements implanted on his head, causing Star-Lord to refer to him as a "machine head." The version of Korath we see in Captain Marvel as a member of Starforce doesn't yet sport these enhancements, but again there was no indication as to why he becomes cybernetically augmented. For whatever reason, Captain Marvel was more interested in keeping both characters in the background.
14 HOW DO KORATH AND RONAN BECOME PARTNERS?
For that matter, the only interaction between Ronan and Korath in Captain Marvel comes when Ronan accuses Starforce of botching the mission. Yet in Guardians of the Galaxy, Korath is working with Ronan, meaning he has also left behind the Kree Empire. Was Korath exiled before Ronan presumably left on his mission against Xander, or did he leave with Ronan? There are a few too many questions raised instead of answered by Korath and Ronan's strange appearances in the film.
13 WASN'T S.H.I.E.L.D. FIRST NAMED IN IRON MAN?
At the dawn of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, fans were introduced to Agent Coulson and the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. When criticized about the lengthy name, Coulson remarks that they are working on it, only to reveal the S.H.I.E.L.D. acronym later in the film. Yet when Fury and Coulson first show up to question Carol after her sudden arrival on Earth, he introduces himself as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. almost 15 years before Coulson reveals the acronym in Iron Man.
12 WASN'T THOR THE FIRST "ALIEN" S.H.I.E.L.D. ENCOUNTERED?
Given that young agent's Fury and Coulson deal with a shape-changing alien invasion over the course of Captain Marvel, it makes later statements in The Avengers seem quite contradictory. When Fury is confronted about creating weapons from Tesseract energy, he blames the arrival of Thor and the alien Asgardians on Earth as the impetus for creating the weapons in the first place. Yet Fury, Coulson, and S.H.I.E.L.D. had already dealt with aliens in 1995, making his attack on Thor a bald-faced lie.
11 WHY DOES MAR-VELL CALL CAROL "ACE" IF HER CALL SIGN WAS "AVENGER?"
Our last scene with young Agent Fury shows the MCU mainstay putting together plans for "The Protector Initiative" when he glances at a picture of Carol getting into her plane that reveals her call sign to be Avenger, which causes him to change the name to "The Avenger Initiative." Yet earlier in the film in Carol's memories, we hear Wendy Lawson/Mar-Vell call Carol "Ace," which is actually a reference to a big part of Carol's past as a spy, Colonel Michael Rossi.
10 HOW DID FURY KNOW THERE WOULD BE OTHER POWERED BEINGS LIKE CAPTAIN MARVEL?
Fury is inspired by the powerful Captain Marvel, yet worried that Earth will be left unprotected with Carol off in space, causing him to create "The Avengers Initiative." However, there isn't any reason at the time to think that other powered beings would appear in the future. Even considering the historical adventures of heroes like Captain America and the original Ant-Man, there is little evidence for Fury to plan towards a team of gifted heroes saving the day in the future.
9 WHY WAS GOOSE JUST WANDERING AROUND PROJECT PEGASUS?
Mar-Vell's cat Goose may look all cute and cuddly but is revealed in the film to actually be an alien known as a Flerken, which contains a near-limitless pocket reality inside its body. Granted, no one on Earth knew that Lawson's cat was actually a dangerous alien creature, but it's hard to believe any secured research facility would still be okay with a stray cat wandering around the base, as seen when Carol and Fury first enter Pegasus in search of files on Lawson.
8 WHY DID THE FLERKEN SCRATCH FURY'S EYE OUT?
Every fan watching Captain Marvel knew that Fury was going to lose his eye at some point in the film. it had even been theorized ahead of the film's premiere that Goose would be responsible for Fury losing his eye. but that doesn't mean it makes a lick of sense. Goose and Fury were best buds throughout the film, with Fury showing the cat love at every chance he got. Yet Goose scratches Fury's eye for no reason at all besides trying to fit the moment into the MCU timeline.
7 EXCEPT DIDN'T FURY HAVE BOTH EYES WHEN HE BECAME DIRECTOR OF S.H.I.E.L.D.?
So not only does Goose attack Fury for no reason, but the loss of his eye in 1995 now also creates a paradox thanks to an image shown in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That image, shared by sleeper Hydra agent and World Security Council chairman Alexander Pierce, shows Fury with both of his eyes as he is sworn in as the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. sometime after 1995. While it was interesting to see how Fury really lost his eye, it does cause continuity problems.
6 WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FLERKEN AFTER THAT POST-CREDIT SCENE?
Our last glimpse of Goose the Flerken came in the post-credit scene, which featured a scene familiar to any cat owner. Goose coughs up a Tesseract-sized hairball onto Fury's office desk, revealing that this incredibly dangerous cat alien that previously attacked Fury without provocation is still roaming around free, now in the offices of S.H.I.E.L.D. So what becomes of Goose? The flerken isn't seen again in any of Fury's future MCU appearances but seems too important to just slip through the cracks of continuity.
5 HOW DID THE AVENGERS FIND THE PAGER?
We first saw the pager at the end of Avengers: Infinity War as Fury attempts to call backup to save the day, revealing the logo of Captain Marvel on an ancient but upgraded pager. Fury manages to activate the pager and send out a signal to Captain Marvel before he is dusted thanks to the Decimation at the hands of Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet. Yet in the mid-credit scene of Captain Marvel, we see that the surviving Avengers have somehow located the pager on the chaotic streets of New York after their climactic battle in Wakanda.
4 HOW DID CAPTAIN MARVEL GET INTO AVENGERS COMPOUND?
Regardless of how the team finds the pager, we learn they are dedicated to keeping the signal going for some reason, which is soon revealed as Captain Marvel appears suddenly behind Captain America, Black Widow, and War Machine. But this isn't S.T.A.R. Labs from The CW's The Flash, this is a Stark-built Avengers Compound. How did someone like Captain Marvel, whose energy readings are probably off the charts, manage to slip into the Avengers Compound completely undetected? Carol surely isn't that overpowered already.
3 WHY HASN'T CAROL AGED SINCE 1995?
Carol's sudden appearance at Avengers Compound raises quite a few questions as well. While it's not necessarily easy to tell a 20-year difference in age, Carol looks practically the same as when she left in 1995 to find a new world for the Skrulls. The only differences immediately noticeable is slightly longer hair and a slightly different Captain Marvel costume. Could Carol's lack of aging be a response to her powers, or possibly time variations that come with space travel? or maybe even... time travel?
2 WHY DID IT TAKE HER SO LONG TO RETURN TO EARTH?
Without getting into exactly where Captain Marvel has been since she left with the Skrulls in 1995 considering her lightspeed powers should make travel a breeze, the question remains as to what took Captain Marvel so long to answer the call from the pager? When she gave it to Fury she told him to use in an emergency only, yet it seems to have taken a while for her to get to Earth after the pager was activated, considering the Avengers had to restart it a few times. Not much of an emergency rescue there, Captain Marvel.
1 DO MARVEL COMICS EXIST IN THE MCU?
Finally, it's time to talk about the amazing Stan Lee cameo, which tied perfectly into the time period by referencing Lee's upcoming role in Kevin Smith's Mallrats, making the film canon in the MCU which moved Kevin Smith to tears. However, considering Stan Lee is playing himself in Mallrats, since he's the creator of Marvel Comics does that mean that Marvel Comics exist in the MCU? Since he discusses Reed Richards and Ben Grimm in Mallrats does that mean they already exist in the MCU? Talk about a Meta-headache.