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Captain Marvel: What If?

In the spirit of constructive criticism, I would like to propose a scenario that would address several of the concerns I raised in my non-review of/rambling fanboy rant on Captain Marvel.

[SPOILERS below; please proceed with caution.]

Nick Fury has been thoroughly established as a cynical, secretive, distrustful authority figure; Captain America: The Winter Soldier implies that he developed this personality in response to the betrayal that resulted in the loss of his eye. Thus, when Captain Marvel introduces a younger, jovial, two-eyed version of the character, storytelling logic dictates that we’ll end up witnessing the traumatic incident that triggered his transformation into the stone-cold badass we all know and love. Many fans assumed that the shape-shifting Skrulls would be responsible for his injury, and while their atypically sympathetic depiction here discredits that particular theory, the film does feature another alien race that isn’t quite as benevolent as it initially appears to be.

In the first act, “Vers” trusts the Kree implicitly, proudly describing them as “noble warrior heroes” even after she begins to question her own memories. Her so-called allies, however, spend most of their screen time commuting to Earth from deep space, only arriving once they’ve already been exposed as bigoted tyrants. But what if they’d rendezvoused with Carol earlier and managed to convince her that her doubts were simply evidence of the Skrulls’ devious manipulation? What if they’d joined her quest to locate Doctor Lawson’s secret laboratory? What if, along the way, Fury and Yon-Rogg had gradually bonded over their shared military background?

And what if, upon discovering that Starforce intended to slaughter the helpless Skrull refugees hiding on Mar-Vell’s ship, Fury had leapt to their defense, leading his new “friend” to retaliate without hesitation or remorse—with life-altering consequences?

This simple change would essentially erase every single one of my complaints, providing a more satisfying explanation behind the origin of Fury’s iconic scars, further fleshing out the antagonists, and emphasizing Carol’s flaws, lending her eventual decision to turn on her former mentor and comrades greater significance and emotional resonance. When discussing movies, I normally try to focus on celebrating their successes, rather than lamenting their shortcomings (which isn't nearly as productive or fulfilling)... but it is simply too difficult to overlook all of the squandered opportunities in the MCU's latest offering.

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