'Captain Marvel' and When Nostalgia Is Weaponized

The Heat Vision team assembles to break down the first trailer for Brie Larson's Marvel debut.

Tuesday's Captain Marvel trailer gave hope that the Marvel Cinematic Universe can beat Thanos after all. The team at Heat Vision assembled to take a closer look at the '90s nostalgia, digital de-aged Nick Fury and Brie Larson action at the center of it all.

Katie Kilkenny: Brie Larson punches an old lady out and I'm still rooting for her? That's right, the Captain Marvel trailer so effectively sets up a hero-in-the-making that I'm willing to forgive Marvel for spoiling what is probably a pretty great moment in the theaters. Some things I'm digging: Larson looks like a natural fit for a screen hero here, building on her brand as a do-gooder in titles including Short Term 12 and Room. There are a few shots of her piloting, which gives me hope that Captain Marvel will deliver on the airborne fight sequences. And Samuel L. Jackson called Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel a "renegade soldier," which is a pretty good name for a possible sequel.

Aaron Couch: It's so hard to make a prequel that feels both necessary and like it will pay off in a future installment. Wonder Woman doesn't need Justice League to feel like a complete story, but this very much is building off the momentum of that post-credits scene in Avengers: Infinity War and also teeing us up for Avengers 4. Nick Fury's pager! Has there ever been an item featured in a movie for just a few seconds that inspired so much speculation? It's basically a better version of the dice fetishized in The Last Jedi and then emphasized in Solo: A Star Wars Story. In this case, people actually do care about the item — and are desperate to know its backstory.

Lauren Huff: The pager! I think this was the one detail I was hoping beyond hope that they would include, for the same reason you mentioned, Aaron. I'm incredibly intrigued to see how the events in this timeline line up with what we just saw in Infinity War. And speaking of timelines, I am glad that Captain Marvel, like Captain America before her [side note: must be a Cap thing], is allowed to have her own timeline apart from present day (for now, at least). I think that gives the story a little room to breathe and will (hopefully) allow the story to feel fresh.

Ryan Parker: This trailer had me the moment she crashed into a Blockbuster. It set the perfect tone for when this film is taking place, and I was all set from there. I am also thrilled to get some more time with agent Phil Coulson and excited to see what other fun cameos might work with this timeline. I think there will be some great '90s jokes in this too, which will be awesome for fans who came of age then. 

Kilkenny: I have to admit, Ryan, the shot of the Blockbuster made me roll my eyes a little bit, if only because nostalgia has been so thoroughly weaponized of late that it no longer feels particularly fresh. However, like Ethan Hawke's "To Be or Not to Be" speech in the Manhattan Blockbuster in Michael Almereyda's Hamlet — the gold-standard Blockbuster appearance in any motion picture — perhaps this crash landing in a video store also has a point. At the very least, maybe we'll see some '90s scrunchies pop up in the movie.

Couch: Nostalgia has been weaponized a lot lately, but most folks are still looking at the '80s (Stranger ThingsItWonder Woman 1984). Marvel is getting an early jump on the '90s nostalgia train that was kicked off by the perfect storm of David Schwimmer starring in The People v. O. J. Simpson on TV. I'm sure that 10 years from now, everything will be '90s, but Captain Marvel will still have the distinction of being the first blockbuster with an alien invasion to also feature slap wrist bracelets.

Huff: If there aren't scrunchies AND some *NSYNC/Britney Spears/Backstreet Boys/Spice Girls playing in the background at some point, I will feel thoroughly robbed of my '90s throwback-induced warm fuzzies.

Kilkenny: Any superhero origin story has to have some foundational trauma, but I hope that Anna Boden/Ryan Fleck's take on Danvers' memory loss doesn't hew too closely to the Bourne model that's been popular of late. In fact, there are a bunch of signs of a formulaic superhero tale here: Sam Jackson mentions a space invasion and a car chase, while the trailer seems to set up an initial fish-out-of-water bit similar to that in Wonder Woman. However, I will keep an open mind: There are at least a few women helping to pen (or having rewritten, or written a draft of) the screenplay, which could result in something different from the rote norm.

Couch: The Ant-Man movies have had fun de-aging Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer to their 1980s glory. Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't this be the most ambitious de-aging in a movie yet? Benjamin Button did it for a portion of the movie, while there was a "young" Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy that was ... just no. Nick Fury looked pretty good here, and as much as this is Carol's story, it's also cool to understand what makes Nick the paranoid, superhero-obsessed uber-spy he is when we meet him in Iron Man.

Parker: I think Brie Larson is just a total badass. From what I could see, she nails the character and I am so intrigued to watch Carol Danvers' journey. Plus, it will be nice to see a new film update following the gut-punch that was Infinity War.

Couch: In closing: best moments that don't involve a Skrull/older lady being punched in the face?

Huff: I'm digging the slow-motion shots of her powers and would have liked to have seen a bit more of that.  

Kilkenny: Next time, give me a shot of Gemma Chan and I'll be sold.

Sept. 19, 1:26 p.m. An earlier version incorrectly identified Kurt Russell as appearing in Tron: Legacy