Captain Marvel is a 2019 superhero film, and the twenty-first film entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson) and co-written by them, Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy), Meg LeFauve (Inside Out), Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch (GLOW), and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider).
Set during The '90s, the film stars Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) as a member of Starforce, a special-ops squad under the jurisdiction of the Kree, the militaristic alien race previously seen in Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Finding herself back on Earth, she becomes entangled in a war between the Kree and the Skrull Empire, a race of shapeshifting aliens whose leader, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), has set his sights on Earth.
Also appearing in the film are Jude Law as Carol's mentor, the commander of Star Force, Lashana Lynch as her friend Maria Rambeau, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Algenis Perez Soto as Att-Lass, Rune Temte as Bron-Char, and Mckenna Grace as young Carol, as well as Robert Kazinsky, and Annette Bening in undisclosed roles. Returning actors include Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson (reprising his role in the movies for the first time since The Avengers), while Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou reprise their respective roles as Ronan the Accuser and Korath from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Captain Marvel contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Carol was an Air Force pilot even before she got superpowers, and so would be perfectly able to kick ass and take names without them.
- Adaptation Distillation: Going by the trailers, Carol's powers come from being experimented on by the Kree to turn her into a weapon, rather than the result of an accident. This seems to draw from the time Carol was experimented on by the Brood later to reactivate and severely increase her powerset. The Kree also seemed to be the responsible for her memory loss. In the comics it was due to them being absorbed by Rogue who was a supervillain before joining the X-Men.
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: This version of Maria Rambeau is Carol's close personal friend. In the comics, the two had no relationship whatsoever, and it was actually Maria's daughter Monica who was Carol's good friend.
- Adaptational Superpower Change: In the comics, Talos was born with a defect that deprived him of the traditional Skrull ability to shapeshift, and instead has Super Strength. Here, he can change his form just like any other Skrull, as the audience would likely not be pleased with a Skrull — a species whose whole hat is Shapeshifting — who lacks that ability.
- Aliens of London: The Skrulls have an Australian accent when they're in their natural form.
- Amnesiac Hero: Carol at first has no memory of her life on Earth, but starts to regain it the longer she stays.
- Badass Crew: Starforce, the elite Kree military unit Carol is part of.
- Bald of Awesome: Averted. Nick Fury had a full head of hair in the 1990s.
- Big Bad: Talos, a Skrull commander played by Ben Mendelsohn, who leads an invasion of Earth.
- Black Best Friend: Maria Rambeau is Carol's best friend and a fellow Air Force pilot.
- Blue Is Heroic: The titular character has two costumes: the "evil" one is mostly green and the "heroic" one is mostly blue with some red elements and golden decorations.
- The Bus Came Back:
- While Phil Coulson has technically remained part of the MCU with his role in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this marks his return to the big screen after his "death" seven years — and fourteen movies — ago in The Avengers, although it happens way before his "death" and resurrection, chronologically.
- Same with Ronan and Korath, although those characters outright died in Guardians of the Galaxy. Given that this film chronologically takes place before the two former ones, their appearances are more than justified.
- Chekhov M.I.A.: The movie will explain why Carol hasn't been seen in the MCU for 20 years.
- FaceHeel Turn: Korath and Ronan are members of Starforce and ostensibly on the same side as Carol at the beginning of this movie, but we know that at some point they will both become dangerous pro-Kree fanatics. Though, it's just as likely that this is down to Carol pulling a HeelFace Turn.
- Foreshadowing: It's practically impossible not to think Nick Fury's "We can't do this alone, we need you" (which applies to the movie's threats) foreshadows Carol's role in the fourth Avengers movie.
- Golden Super Mode: In her Binary Mode, Carol is surrounded by golden glow and her eyes turn golden as well.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Carol's human DNA is fused with Kree DNA, making her one of these — though not as a product of interspecies romance.
- Identity Amnesia: After something goes pear-shaped for Carol, she crash-lands into Earth without any memory of who she used to be, and what she became.Nick Fury: So... you're not from around here, aren't you?
Carol Danvers: It's hard to explain. I keep having these memories. I see flashes. I think I had a life here, but I can't tell if it's real.
- Marquee Alter Ego: The Big Bad Talos will be seen in human form in portions of the film. Assuming a Watsonian vs. Doylist perspective, the Watsonian reason for this is so that he can infilitrate S.H.I.E.L.D. as part of his secret Skrull invasion. The Doylist reason is likely to give his actor, Ben Mendelsohn, more face time. It also helps that Tropes Are Tools: The Skrulls are shapeshifters, meaning that they are supposed to take whatever forms they feel best serve their purposes.
- Mythology Gag:
- Early set photos reveal that Carol will appear at some point in a palette-swapped version of her uniform that's green and black rather than her iconic red and blue. The green outfit is a nice echo of Mar-Vell's very first (green and white) uniform as well as that of his Ultimate version. According to official images, Carol wears this uniform as a member of Starforce.
- Maria Rambeau's Air Force callsign is "Photon," which is one of the codenames used by her daughter in the comics.
- The members of Starforce all wear green uniforms, which means that Ronan's outfit looks much closer to his classic comic book costume than the black suit he wore in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
- Carol's Starforce suit comes with a helmet that resembles her comic book mask, complete with white Glowing Eyes.
- Carol's cat appears in the bottom left corner of the official poster.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Carol's origin will be changed in order to avoid being too similar to Hal Jordan's, who already has a film adaptation.
- Prequel: Like Captain America: The First Avenger, this movie takes place before the events of Iron Man, the first movie set in the MCU.
- Product Placement: An unusual example in that the product in question is Blockbuster Video, a chain that's no longer around, with a single exception. It does help establish that the movie takes place in The '90s, when Blockbuster Video was far more prevalent.
- Remember the New Guy?: Key figures in the MCU like Nick Fury, Ronan, Korath, and Phil Coulson have all been in contact with Carol Danvers at various points in recent history, but the audience has had no indication that she actually existed in the MCU until the final moments of The Stinger of Avengers: Infinity War. This film fills everyone in on Captain Marvel's MCU backstory.
- Saved by Canon: Fury, Coulson, Ronan, and Korath all have to survive this film. As does the Captain herself; The Stinger from Avengers: Infinity War shows Fury paging her for help just before his death-by-Infinity-Gauntlet.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: And age, to be exact. In the trailer, Carol ends up punching an elderly lady (Possibly a disguised Skrull) in the face!
- Space Elves: Judging by the trailer music, they're really leaning into that aspect of the cosmic MCU.
- Story-Breaker Power: Per Word of God, she's the most powerful hero in the universe and is even more powerful than Thor.
- Super Dickery: The trailer shows Carol seemingly punching an old woman without any context. It's highly likely the woman was a Skrull in disguise.
- Super Hero Origin: Averted; like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther, this movie already starts with Carol having her powers and being an active hero.