'Captain Marvel' Trailer Breakdown: A Hero Rises

Brie Larson is hard AF in the new 'Captain Marvel' trailer.

Captain Marvel Fist
Marvel Studios

She’s the savior of the universe. Queen of the impossible. She’ll save every one of us. That’s the hope anyway, and in the wake of Avengers: Infinity War the Marvel Cinematic Universe could use some serious hope. Captain Marvel has arrived to deliver that glorious fist to Thanos’ smug face. Marvel’s first solo female superhero film dropped its first trailer on Good Morning America, and the Internet shook.

Brie Larson is Carol Danvers, a United States Airforce pilot who is pulled into the ancient space conflict that comic book fanatics know as The Kree-Skrull War. The story is set in the 1990s when Nick Fury was a lowly S.H.I.E.L.D. desk jockey, and Steve Rogers was still enjoying his time as a Capsicle. How will these events shape the next phases of the MCU? Where has Carol been since Iron Man kickstarted the new wave of costumed crusaders? Does she receive Nick Fury’s sci-fi beeper signal from Infinity War’s post-credits scene? A few of those questions are answered below.

Wow. Okay. Thanos is doomed. Enjoy your time on top buddy because you’re about to come crashing down hard from that wannabe throne. Let’s dig into this trailer shot for shot.

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As with all good space origin stories, the trailer begins with an explosion. An escape pod ejects towards Earth.

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Captain Marvel free-falls amongst the wreckage of the alien spacecraft.

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And crash lands into a Blockbuster Video. Five movies for five nights at only $9.99. Ah, the golden age of VHS rental. The ’90s were grand indeed.

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Captain Marvel dusts herself off and rises. We hear Samuel L. Jackson before we see him. His Nick Fury explains, “War is a universal language.” What war? Yeah, it’s that Skrull/Kree battle for sure, and the arrival of Carol Danvers is the first warning that Earth will be its next battleground.

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Captain Marvel wanders through a crowd of unsuspecting citizens. Nick Fury continues, “I know a renegade soldier when I see one. Never occurred to me that one would come from above.” Is Carol AWOL from the Kree? What could send her running?

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New Marvel logo flips into the frame, changing from traditional red to steely blue, signifying the colors of Captain Marvel’s final suit.

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Nick Fury secrets Danvers into a S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker giving her an on-brand baseball cap and the unseen Nine Inch Nails T-shirt we saw in the Entertainment Weekly photos. Huh, maybe Fury is the big Trent Reznor fan and not Danvers. Although, I could also see Coulson lending it to her.

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Nick Fury and Agent Coulson observe the autopsy of a Skrull invader. Fury has a laser rifle in one hand and an ice pack in the other. Those sneaky beings pack a mean punch.

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“Space invasion.” That’s either a Kree or Skrull ship decloaking in orbit. A shuttle slowly approaches from the surface.

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Here is where we can start fist-pumping. Captain Marvel leaps upon a speeding train, hot in pursuit of an alien menace. More on that later.

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Let’s just celebrate how hard AF Brie Larson is here. She’s in full-badass mode, and this is the first of several faces in this trailer indicating what serious trouble Thanos is going to be in, come Avengers 4.

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Atop the train with downtown L.A. in the background, Captain Marvel lets loose just a fraction of the energy she’s capable of emitting. Again, that face means you’re dead.

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A quick shot of Jackson removing his sunglasses. Marvel’s de-aging magic is on point. We learn that Fury was just starting to get sick of his boring day job when Captain Marvel appeared. “Truth be told, I was ready to hang it up until I met you today.” He now has a mission, a purpose.

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Road trip. The trailer does a lot in establishing Fury’s crucial relationship with Danvers. “You’re not from around here?” he asks attempting to get a little backstory from the fallen soldier. She simply says, “It’s hard to explain.” I appreciate how this film drops its audience right in the thick of it. No need for the usual origin format. Ten years in, we get how these things go by now.

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Although flashbacks will be required to fill in some backstory. Carol Danvers at peace on the Kree homeworld.

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She tells Fury, “I keep having these memories. I see flashes.” We catch a glimpse of her time as a United States Air Force pilot. She walks towards her fighter jet alongside Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), the mother of Monica Rambeau (aka a future version of Captain Marvel).

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“I think I had a life here.” Carol Danvers on a military obstacle course, swinging from one rope to another. Again, witness the total badass determination.

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She falls. Collapses on the ground.

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We then see a series of tumbles. One when she was just a child on the beach.

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Another when she was a pre-teen during a baseball game.

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And a final one at a crash site. This is the pivotal moment in Captain Marvel’s origin story. She’s about to receive her superhuman powers bestowed upon her by the Kree.

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We see alien energy flowing around her fingertips. In the comics, this is the result of her DNA blending with that of the Kree warrior Mar-Vell. I’m not 100% convinced that will be the case here. Marvel Studios has a tendency of slightly shifting their origins to suit their needs. Removing the passing of the mantle from one Kree fighter to another also separates this franchise from the similarly themed Green Lantern.

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We see Captain Marvel strung up in some sort of torture device, possibly siphoning her unique abilities. Danvers is unsure of her Earthbound memories. They may be a fiction implanted as a means of emotional distractions. Pssst. They’re not.

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Back on the Kree homeworld, Captain Marvel and her Starforce team approach a spaceship. Below the ship, you can spot Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and Jude Law’s still-unnamed Kree officer.

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Starforce is a tactical unit made up of the very best Kree soldiers. Here, Captain Marvel is flanked by Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan) and Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto). Considering that Korath (Djimon Hounsou) is on the team, we can assume that this group will deteriorate over the course of the movie. Carol certainly cannot trust her teammates.

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Originally it was assumed that Jude Law would be Mar-Vell, but since Marvel Studios refuses to let the cat out of the bag, speculation that he might actually be portraying a secret villain has flooded the fan community. There is a shot later in the trailer that might support this theory. Whatever the case, the yellow-eyed Law seen in this shot appears to be a hardcase.

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With “We have no idea what threats are out there” Nick Fury is validating the very existence of S.H.I.E.L.D. To prove his point, the Skrulls wade out of the ocean. Their leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) contemplates their next move. Step one, infiltration.

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Back aboard L.A transit, Captain Marvel spots a suspicious character.

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Just a sweet, little old lady. No harm, right?

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THWACK! Captain Marvel lands a severe punch across granny’s face. You can’t trust what you see. Skrulls are shape-shifters, and they are everywhere. This ability will certainly provide a major plot point in future MCU stories. The celebrated “Secret Invasion” arc is coming. Can we trust that those on The Avengers are who they say they are?

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Ronan the Accuser looks out on our floating blue orb. No doubt, fantasies of universal domination are already floating around his head. At least we know his poor-ass dancing skills will be his undoing in Guardians of the Galaxy.

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“We can’t do this alone.” Why should Sam Jackson have all the de-aging fun? Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson is back with a little more hair atop his head.

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A quick shot of the beeper last seen at the end of Avengers: Infinity War minus the future tech carrying case. But who is “With Target”?

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Oh damn. Fans feared that we would not get the Captain Marvel mohawk, but we should have known better. Captain Marvel rocks it hard in combat.

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“We need you.” Back at the crash site, Carol Danvers is flooded with Kree energy, transforming into Captain Marvel.

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My favorite shot in the trailer. Close-up of mohawk Captain Marvel steely-eyed and ready for whatever comes next.

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The fallen Carol Danvers begins to clench her fist. She will not go down without a fight.

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Resistance…

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Is…

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Futile. Danvers is going to kick your ass.

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The fist. Who is that blurry guy in the background? A human-shaped Ben Mendelsohn? Or is that Jude Law looking to have his face smashed? Right now, I’m kinda leaning towards the final bad being a traitorous Law. The villain switcheroo is a trope often executed by Marvel Studios (see Iron Man, Iron Man 3, Captain America:The Winter SoldierGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2).

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“I’m not what you think I am?” No? I think you’re a supreme warrior ready to save the planet and then the universe.

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The final hero shot. Captain Marvel’s ultimate costume reveal engulfed in cosmic energy radiating from within.

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Anyone caught within this eye-line is going to get destroyed. The Skrulls better bring it, and Thanos should be quaking in his boots right about now. Brie Larson is the new power player of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I could not be more excited.

Captain Marvel lands in theaters on March 8, 2019.

Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.