Who’s the captain now? From the moment the postcredits scene rolled in Avengers: Infinity War, it became obvious it’s Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). Spoilers ahead.
Missed it at the theater? Captain Marvel is now available in digital form and on Blu-ray. The streaming version can be ordered on Amazon. It’s priced at $19.99 to buy, with bonus features, for the HD version.
The home version includes a variety of features, including one called The Origin of Nick Fury, and one feature titled Hiss-sterical Cat-titude, all about the feline/Flerken star Goose. There are also six deleted scenes and a gag reel.
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On Feb. 6, Disney CEO Bob Iger noted that Captain Marvel will be the company’s first film to skip Netflix and instead head to the Disney Plus streaming service. Iger shared that news in a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Deadline reported. (More info on Disney Plus is here, but if you love Marvel and Star Wars movies, better rejigger the budget to soon include another subscription fee.)
Captain Marvel opened March 8 and quickly showed her superpowers at the box office. As of May 7 the film had blasted past $1.1 billion globally, earning $421 million domestically and $699 million internationally.
It claimed the second biggest global opening weekend totals for a superhero film, trailing only Avengers: Infinity War.
The film nabbed various places on the all-time lists, including the third-biggest domestic March debut of all time and the seventh-biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe debut ever. Of the MCU films, only the Avengers films, Black Panther, Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Civil War have opened better.
Here’s what reviewers are saying.
Soaring tale of self-discovery
“Captain Marvel was worth the wait. It’s two hours of pure female empowerment packaged with all the visual power you’d expect from a Marvel blockbuster. Brie Larson is fierce and effortlessly cool as a fighter-pilot-turned-space-warrior trying to discover who she really is. And it doesn’t hurt that Hole, Elastica and Nirvana set the beat with some of the biggest hits of the ’90s. Grunge looks good on Marvel.” —Patricia Puentes, The Techy Trends
Right movie, wrong time
“Most of the elements introduced in Captain Marvel seem like set-up for future Captain Marvel movies, not for immediately looming events. And if Captain Marvel isn’t set-up for Endgame, then why are we watching it right now?” —Michael Rougeau, GameSpot
Greatest strength is its biggest weakness
“Captain Marvel is a fine rollout for a character who will likely be dropping by many an Avengers movie for years to come. But as a film it’s only halfway there, filling in nerdy details about the larger cosmic concerns of the Marvel world but failing to stage one outstanding set piece in the process.” —David Sims, The Atlantic
Messy origin story with clever twists
“Captain Marvel is all over the place, careening from far-flung laser-spraying cosmos to the car-chasing streets of ’90s Los Angeles. This latest Marvel Studios expansion pack stars Oscar winner Brie Larson as an amnesiac. (She’s haunted by memories of Annette Bening, as all the best humans are.) So the main character doesn’t know who she is, and the movie around her has a similar problem. Captain Marvel only figures itself out toward the end, when a couple twists I won’t spoil sharpen the spanning saga into a motley-crew errand of mercy.” —Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly
Brie Larson packs a punch
“Captain Marvel, the first Marvel adaptation both to star a woman and to be co-directed by a woman, is an obvious, crude, and transparent film. And it’s also quite enjoyable and evocative — most of the time.” —April Wolfe, The Wrap
Stan Lee tribute
Marvel Comics leader Stan Lee died in November 2018 at age 95, but he isn’t forgotten in the company’s films, including this one. Lee is famous for making cameos in Marvel’s movies, and his appearance in Captain Marvel is even more special. Not only does he make his traditional appearance during the movie, but he’s honored the very second the film begins with a neat montage.
“We did want to kind of have a moment and tribute to Stan Lee in this movie, obviously,” director Anna Boden told Metro. “It was something that came from Marvel and when they showed it to us, there was not a dry eye in the house. It was really emotional.”
More powerful than Thanos?
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently told Cosmic Book News that Captain Marvel is the most powerful character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“She’s one of the most popular characters in our comics, she’s one of the most powerful characters in the comics, and will be the most powerful character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” Feige said.
Even before most fans had a chance to see Captain Marvel, some people posted negative feedback on review site Rotten Tomatoes, a process some have dubbed “review-bombing.” Some comments focus on Larson’s remarks to Marie Claire magazine about seeking to ensure a diverse group of critics was able to see her film. “Larson has made it clear … men need not attend this movie,” said one comment.
What did Larson actually say? She said she’s noted that press covering her films were “overwhelmingly white male.” After that was confirmed by a USC study, she said “moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive.” She’s also spoken out to support underprivileged girls seeing the film.
Larson was asked about the reaction to her statement after the review-bombing started and told Fox 5 in Washington, DC, that she wasn’t trying to take away access, only to give more of it.
“What I’m looking for is to bring more seats up to the table,” Larson said. “No one is getting their chair taken away. There’s not less seats at the table, there’s just more seats at the table.”
On Feb. 25, Rotten Tomatoes changed its site so that readers could no longer leave comments on a movie before the film was showing in theaters, but the company president told The Techy Trends the changes were not solely spurred by the Captain Marvel controversy.
Once the film did open, the audience score swerved up and down as some of those review-bombers likely returned to post amid honest reviews that were both negative and positive. But less than a week after the film opened, the audience score sat at 63 percent liking the film, while the Tomatometer, which summarizes critics’ reviews, was at 79 percent.
In the wake of reports that Avengers: Endgame is three hours long, it was kind of comforting to learn that Captain Marvel isn’t pushing fans’ bladders to such an extent. It’s just 2 hours, 5 minutes long. The film is rated PG-13 (no surprise), for “sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language.”
Connection to Avengers: Endgame
Why does Captain Marvel matter so much? It all goes back to that Infinity War scene.
In the scene, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) find themselves in the middle of the Thanos-sparked chaos as half the universe’s population disappears. Fury manages to use his pager and apparently sends a message to Captain Marvel just as he, too, disappears into dust. Since her film arrives before the next Avengers films, it would seem she’s got an important role to play in Avengers: Endgame, possibly saving the universe from an invasion of the Skrulls.
Who is Captain Marvel?
Captain Marvel? Not exactly the best-known superhero ever. But her film is the 21st in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and if she’s going to get that kind of postcredits attention, fans had best brush up on her dossier.
You can dive deep into her background and history with this explainer. A short version: This iteration of the character, Carol Danvers, was created in 1968, and was an Air Force pilot, CIA agent, security director for NASA and writer. She’s also struggled with alcohol, like Iron Man Tony Stark, and her personal battles were depicted in numerous comic book issues.
Her superpowers came from a Kree alien named Mar-vell, the original Captain Marvel, and include flight, super strength, the ability to absorb and use energy, and to shoot energy blasts and lasers from her hands.
And — spoiler ahead — she has an extra power that could be a game-changer, co-star Samuel L. Jackson revealed. Stop reading here if you don’t want to know…
“Now we know that we need something that’s as powerful as Thanos,” Jackson told Entertainment Tonight. “And at some point, we’ll find out how powerful she is and all the things that she’s capable of. She’s one of the few people in the Marvel universe that can time travel, so…”
Yep, time travel, which is something those Avengers from Infinity War could sure use about now.
Numerous characters have taken on the Captain Marvel name, and even DC Comics has had an (unrelated) Captain Marvel character (aka Shazam), though to date the Marvel universe doesn’t have a “Captain DC.”
Larson described her character to EW: “She can be aggressive, and she can have a temper, and she can be a little invasive and in your face. She’s also quick to jump to things, which makes her amazing in battle because she’s the first one out there and doesn’t always wait for orders. But the (not) waiting for orders is, to some, a character flaw.”
The film begins with Danvers as a part of the elite Kree military team Starforce, which is led by Jude Law’s enigmatic commander. Ben Mendelsohn plays Talos, leader of the Skrulls, and to say much more about the two groups would spoil the fun.
The film is set in the 1990s, which may explain why in that postcredits Infinity War scene, Nick Fury is reaching out to her on a pager, not a smartphone. (Speaking of the 1990s, star Brie Larson was almost born in that decade — Oct. 1, 1989 — which makes some of us feel as ancient as an unopened bottle of Zima.)
Why the 1990s? Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says all will be revealed in the story, but also told the Toronto Sun the time period would feel fresh. “It allows us to play in an area that we have never played in before, and tapping into a ’90s action genre was fun for us,” Feige said.
Even the movie’s website is decked out in all the 1990s web craziness we used to see online, with rainbow text and random flashes and more.
And Captain Marvel executive producer Jonathan Schwartz told ComicBook.com that the 1990s-set film pays homage to other 1990s action films. “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,” he said.
As for Captain Marvel herself, you may know star Larson best from her Oscar-winning role as a kidnap victim forced to bear and raise her son in captivity in 2015’s Room. She also starred in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island.
Backing her up in the film are some familiar faces for Marvel fans, and a few new ones.
- Samuel L. Jackson will play a young (pre-eye patch) Nick Fury (as you saw above). Producer Jonathan Schwartz told Mashable that the film is “almost a two-hander” between the Captain and Fury. And don’t call him Nick. “Everybody calls him Fury, even his mother,” Jackson told Mashable.
- Clark Gregg is returning as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson, who’s dead in the modern Marvel movie timeline, but alive in the 1990s-set film.
- Lee Pace returns as Ronan the Accuser, a fanatical member of the Kree alien race last seen in Guardians of the Galaxy. (In August 2018, Pace posted what appears to be a vacation video where he’s wearing a Captain Marvel hat and sporting a cute, scruffy vacation beard.)
- Djimon Hounsou returns as Korath, a Kree ally of Ronan and feared intergalactic hunter, who also appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Gemma Chan plays Minn-Erva, a Kree geneticist. She’s not super-fond of Carol.
- Jude Law plays the commander of Starforce and Danvers’ mentor. He and Mendelsohn aren’t quite as they seem.
- Ben Mendelsohn plays Talos, the leader of the Skrulls.
- Annette Bening plays Dr. Wendy Lawson, who passes on something very special to Carol.
- Carol also has a cat, named Goose (a change from the Chewie name of the comics). Her purr-fect pal turns out to be something special beneath that soft fur coat.
This article was first published May 1, 2018, and is frequently updated as new information is released.