Full disclosure: This is the second draft of this introduction.
The first draft featured a more detailed cataloging of ‘theories’ (to be kind) that were bandied about the Internet in March and April about Captain Marvel’s box office reception and reporting, about the film’s relationship with movie review aggregator sites, and the effect its public reception and regard for its star Brie Larson would have on the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward.
These ‘theories’ (again, to be kind) and dialogue continued into May, when Carol Danvers/Larson’s role in Avengers: Endgame was revealed to be relatively brief and limited only to the film’s early and late minutes.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Captain Marvel being some sort of tipping/turning point in the domestic and worldwide regard for the MCU…
… that is to say, nothing happened.
At least nothing that we can’t regard as entirely positive.
So it seems silly to rehash those details now. We’re also going to resist the urge the call-out those who dealt in it.
No one reading this needs to be reminded of both the critical embrace and the record-setting performance of Endgame, which may still have enough legs to catch Avatar as the all-time global box office champ.
And now Spider-Man: Far From Home is being embraced again by critics and the public all over the world and early box office returns suggest Marvel and Sony may have the first $1 billion dollar Spider-Man movie on their hands.
So yeah, things seem only trending up, which is a tough place to go when you’re already on the top of your industry.
But it’s actually none of these obvious things showing the MCU is still thriving that should be the takeaway about Marvel Studios own regard and plans specifically for Captain Marvel moving forward. That came in the film’s second and last credit scene, and if you’ve seen it you know it’s a big MCU deal.
As we previously detailed, Marvel Studios played a subtle trick on us. In both tone and dialogue from the very first trailer to the film’s final scene, they left a trail of breadcrumbs for us all about the true nature of Nick Fury and Maria Hill.
So subtle, in fact, they could have left the second credits out of the movie entirely if they chose and few moviegoers would be any the wiser. So subtle that the film could have been easily edited in post-production to pick up the breadcrumbs before any of us got to see them at all.
Why is this important to know?
Simple - it means Marvel Studios had ample time to change course in terms of how to move forward in the face of the public reception and perception of Captain Marvel … and didn’t.
It means they’re moving full-steam ahead.
It means Marvel Studios doesn’t have any second thoughts about establishing Carol, the Skrulls, and Nick Fury’s seeming new role as galactic-level guardian as a significant part of the future of the MCU … perhaps the most prominent part of the future of the MCU.
Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios had months to study the box office figures; months to analyze the social media data; months to absorb the literal cottage industry of critical YouTube videos of Captain Marvel that emerged; months to consider who they wanted to move forward with and how.
And what did they do?
They’re purposely, firmly and surprisingly signaling to us all in a Spider-Man movie of all places that Carol Danvers/Brie Larson, Talos, the Skrulls and the Kree and the cosmic conflict that Captain Marvel introduced is a centerpiece of the MCU’s future.
In other words, Captain Marvel was a hit, plain and simple, and nothing has happened to give Marvel any pause or cause to reconsider what was plain to see.
Although we’re sure on some corners on the Internet, the rabbit hole is just being dug deeper.