Here's our breakdown of the new Captain Marvel trailer released during the College Football Playoff National Championship game. Previous Captain Marvel trailers have been heavily criticized for abandoning Marvel's traditional approach, failing to explain the movie to general viewers who've never heard the name Carol Danvers before.
This latest Captain Marvel trailer, however, is different. Released on the same day tickets went on sale, it outlined everything a casual viewer would need to know. A lot of footage is recycled from previous trailers, but it's stitched together in a different way, and interspersed with a lot of scenes that give a sense of the movie's character. The trademark Marvel humor - which was largely absent from the previous trailers - is on full display.
In light of this excellent Captain Marvel trailer, let's cast a critical eye on all the new revelations contained within it. What makes this trailer work so well, and what does it add to the conversation about Marvel's next blockbuster? Here are the biggest secrets and story reveals.
14. Captain Marvel Uses 1990s Music (Finally)
Although Captain Marvel is set in the '90s, up till now the trailers have avoided actually using music from the period. That's changed with this sneak peek, which opens with the track "Connection" by Elastica. Released on October 10th, 1994 as a single, "Connection" eventually appeared on Elastica's 1995 self-titled debut album. It was one of the first Britpop records to gain popularity in the United States, peaking at #53 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Official Disney websites had already confirmed that Captain Marvel takes place in 1995, and the trailer music definitely seems to reaffirm that.
13. Carol Danvers and Nick Fury Hide Out In A Bar
The Captain Marvel trailer moves on to briefly focus on what seems to be one of the most important relationships in the film; the dynamic between Brie Larson's Carol Danvers and Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. The pair appear to be hiding out in a bar, with Carol quipping that Nick has had something of a "rough day." Notice that both are in civilian attire; Carol has abandoned her superhero garb, and is instead wearing a leather jacket and a Nine Inch Nails shirt (hilariously, she probably has no idea what the label on the shirt really means). There's an easy, natural humor in the interaction between Carol and Agent Fury, and their banter sets the tone for a much lighter trailer.
12. Starforce's Mission To Torfa
Captain Marvel's first act includes a scene where the Kree Starforce run a mission to the mist-shrouded world of Torfa. In the comics, Torfa is a galactic backwater planet that was created by Kelly Sue DeConnick as part of her iconic Captain Marvel run. It's already been confirmed that Starforce have traced Skrull agents to Torfa, and the trailer seems to suggest they're running a major operation to deal with the threat.
11. The Shapeshifting Skrulls
The Skrulls are being presented as the main villains in Captain Marvel, a race of shapeshifters who have presumably come to Earth with conquest in mind. This trailer goes to great effort to showcase their threat, highlighting a group of Skrulls strolling up the Los Angeles beach. One fixes its eyes upon a female surfer, and then begins to shapeshift into her form. It's the first time Marvel has shown the Skrulls changing in one of the trailers, and it's tremendously effective. The clip was probably saved for late in the day because the CGI was previously unfinished.
10. More Of The Old Lady Fight
The Captain Marvel trailer then moves on to show more of the clash between Carol Danvers and a Skrull who's taken on the form of a sweet, elderly lady. This sequence has been shown in all the trailers to date, with more of it revealed each time. It's now clear that Carol Danvers smashes through the roof of a Los Angeles subway train in order to pursue a Skrull impostor, and correctly identifies the woman. Although Captain Marvel strikes the first blow, the old lady has moves of her own, and puts up quite a fight before being knocked out.
Of course, the interesting question is just how Captain Marvel knew which one of the people on the train was a Skrull in the first place. In the comics, some of Marvel's greatest heroes have a sense called "cosmic awareness," which gives them insight into events that are playing out on a galactic scale. It's possible the MCU version of Captain Marvel has this ability.
9. Captain Marvel's Photon Blasts
Nick Fury asks Carol to prove that she's not a Skrull, and she does so by releasing a photon blast. To Carol, it's logical; she's aware the Skrulls cannot duplicate her powers. Fury, of course, is unimpressed; "I'm just supposed to take your word for that?" As amusing as the scene may be, it makes a serious point; when the Skrulls are involved, it's impossible to know who to trust. Interestingly, in the comics the Skrulls were indeed initially unable to replicate superhuman powers; only a select few Skrull operatives, the Super-Skrulls, were able to copy select super-powers. They cracked it in time for 2008's "Secret Invasion" event, though.
The reference to Captain Marvel's photon blast is a fun one, and entirely comic-book-accurate. In the comics, Captain Marvel absorbs energy and transforms it into a stream of destructive photons. If she absorbs enough energy, she can use it to transform into a photonic form that's referred to as her "Binary" mode.
8. The Kree Explained
A voice-over from Jude Law introduces the Kree, accompanied by a sinister turn to the music. Law is playing the as-yet-unnamed leader of the Kree Starforce, an elite military unit, and this dialogue may be a motivational speech he's giving to his team. "We are Kree," Law declares. "Strong, united..." In rhetorical terms, the line appears to be a list of three, with the third cut; presumably it either didn't fit with the trailer, or would serve as a spoiler. The voice-over is accompanied by stunning shots of the Kree homeworld of Hala and the Starforce going on their mission to Torfa.
7. Starforce In Action On Torfa
The Captain Marvel trailer then cuts back to the earlier Torfa mission, showing some of Starforce in action. What we're seeing is a Skrull unit ambushing Starforce, who swiftly prepare for battle. Note that different members of the team have different weapons, suggesting that they each have their own combat specialisms. While it's not too clear here, the Skrull chose wisely when they decided to establish a base on Torfa; the fog and mist disrupt Kree communication signals, meaning Starforce is exposed and without back-up.
6. Carol Training With The Starforce Commander
The mentor/student relationship between the Starforce Commander and Captain Marvel appears to be another important part of the film. This is a traditional '90s-style training montage, and it emphasizes that the Commander is a harsh taskmaster. Although Carol clearly has excellent hand-to-hand combat skills, Law's character overwhelms her with ease and locks her into a painful hold. The conversation accompanying the scene is very interesting, with Law challenging Carol to let go of her past; "I don't remember my past," she retorts, suggesting her amnesia has troubled her even as a member of Starforce.
Notice the strong hints that Captain Marvel has some serious anger management issues; angered at being subdued by her commander, she almost escalates it by unleashing her powers on him. The Starforce Commander seems unconcerned, ordering her to "control it."
5. Captain Marvel's Painful Origin
The Captain Marvel trailer offers a fresh glimpse of Captain Marvel's origin. One of the first female pilots in the United States Air Force, she was sent to investigate UFO sightings and got caught up in a dogfight between alien vessels. Shot down as part of the battle, Carol Danvers made her way through the wreckage of an alien spaceship; unfortunately, some sort of device exploded, irradiating her with unknown energy. The flare looks very similar to the energy associated with the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man & the Wasp, and as a result there's been some speculation that this Kree device drew energy from the Quantum Realm - and that the explosion gave Captain Marvel the ability to draw upon the Quantum Realm's vast reserves of power. This trailer includes one new shot, revealing that the process of transformation was a painful one to go through.
4. Captain Marvel Is "Just The Beginning" For Nick Fury
The Captain Marvel trailer emphasizes that Carol Danvers is the inspiration for Nick Fury's Avengers Initiative; it includes a couple of lines of dialogue in which Nick Fury talks about Captain Marvel with rookie S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson. Both seem to have been struck by Captain Marvel's power and heroism, and Fury resolves that she's just the beginning. It's interesting to note that Coulson appears to have been in on Fury's plans since the '90s; that reinforces the sense that Coulson was essentially Fury's Number Two, his trusted man in the field. It fits perfectly with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where Fury considered Coulson the only man he could trust to run S.H.I.E.L.D. after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
3. Captain Marvel's Battle Against The Kree
Although Marvel is insisting the Kree are heroes, the trailers are openly showing scenes in which Captain Marvel battles them in space as well. This space dogfight is presumably part of the film's final act, and sees Captain Marvel unleash her Binary powers to spectacular effect.
2. Carol Danvers Mocks Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.
Carol Danvers is singularly unimpressed when she's given a hat with the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on it. "Does announcing your identity on clothing help with the covert part of your job?" she quips with a smirk. She's got a point; for all their secrecy, S.H.I.E.L.D. has always tended to emblazon its logo on everything it can. Ironically, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has subtly hinted that it does help; people are so used to S.H.I.E.L.D. visibly signposting its presence that they don't realize an unmarked car could also be used by the spy agency. Nick Fury, for his part, gives the perfect response; "Says the space soldier who was wearing a rubber suit," he retorts. Previous Captain Marvel trailers haven't really emphasized the film's trademark Marvel humor at all, and it's nice to see that change.
1. Captain Marvel Takes Flight With Joy
The final scene in the trailer shows Captain Marvel in her Binary suit, launching through the skies and heading into space. The angles are reminiscent of those traditionally associated with the opening credits of the various Star Trek shows, which typically end with a spaceship launching into Warp. Notice the whoop of absolute joy as Captain Marvel rockets into the heavens; it's clear the experience of flight is one that thrills Carol Danvers to the core. This was one of Captain Marvel's defining character traits in the iconic Kelly Sue DeConnick run, and it's nice to see it reproduced on the big screen.