The Marvel Cinematic Universe takes another step forward (or is that backwards?) as Captain Marvel chronicles events from several years before things started off with Iron Man. Obviously, the Avengers aren’t around yet, but we do get to see early versions of Nick Fury and Phil Coulson. It’s a good movie and a very interesting spin on the Kree-Skrull war, a big piece of Avengers mythos. It begins with a great tribute to Stan Lee, that, in my opinion, should be the start of every Marvel movie from now on.
It starts on Hala, where Vers, as she begins things, trains with her fellow warriors, and we get the idea that she doesn’t fit in well. She’s rebellious and has a sense of humor, which everyone else in the Kree Empire seems to be notably lacking. There are a few familiar faces, and some names known to Marvel comics fans. They get sent on a mission to rescue an intelligence agent who was spying on the Skrulls, and things go bad. The mission goes off the rails, and we see that all is not as it seems with our main character. It’s a great way to give some background without it being boring, and there’s some very unexpected (and entertaining) commentary.
After a great action scene, our heroine returns to Earth under less than ideal circumstances, trying to track down someone who might change the balance of power in the Kree-Skrull war. This is when she meets a younger Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, and they form a very uneasy alliance. There’s even a sort of tie to events in the first Avengers movie.
There’s more fighting and some interesting reveals before the trail leads to an old friend of Carol’s. Carol has some severe memory issues, and we learn a few characters aren’t who we thought they were (but what would you expect in a movie where an entire race is shapeshifters?). We also get a hint about another vastly powerful Avenger from the comics who would be of heroing age by the time we catch up to “now.”
They link things even more strongly to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with an unexpected artefact that plays a role in the origin story. By the time everything is done, the story is resolved, things are set in motion for the future of the Marvel Universe, and we get a decent explanation as to why Captain Marvel doesn’t play a part in the major events like the Chitauri Invasion and the near-extinction of life on Earth from Ultron.
There are, of course, two end scenes. The first ties in with events in Infinity War, and helps build things for Endgame. I suspect that scene will repeat and be expanded on in Endgame, kind of like the Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson scene at the end of Ant-Man that was in Civil War. The second is more humorous than anything else, but it does explain one loose end from the movie.
What I liked: It was great to see Coulson and Fury again, and the early days of SHIELD. Brie Larson did a fantastic job as Captain Marvel in her various versions throughout the movie. They make changes from Marvel comics canon, but, as with the other movies, the changes work in my opinion. Whether they do anything with the character or not, I liked the few nods to a different Avenger they hinted at. And, of course, we got to see the origin of a gadget from the end of Infinity War. The revamped version of the Kree-Skrull war was really interesting.
What I didn’t: There’s a minor continuity glitch with the SHIELD name that, in my opinion, contradicts some of what we see in Iron Man, the “start” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s a major change to a significant Marvel character that was a big surprise reveal in the movie that I’m not sure they needed to do for many reasons aside from turning comic book knowledge against those who have it. It was well done, but it’s a big shift.
My quibbles to one side, I enjoyed it. It was a really good movie with the trademark MCU combination of action, humor, character development, and ties to the larger universe. I’ll give it a low 4 out of 5.