While Carol Danvers was originally supposed to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron, I personally think it's a good thing she didn't. Yet that meant that Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were faced with a monumental task: acquainting viewers with the character who will lead the MCU moving forward. And that they did. Critics responded positively to the film, praising Larson's performance and commending the film for its refreshing approach to the superhero origin formula.
Among the film's many surprises was its spin on the shape-shifting Skrulls. It was important to the directors to humanize the Skrulls, who initially were presented as villains but ended up being the opposite. In a recent interview included on the film's home video release, Fleck and Boden said,
This is another one of those scenes, for me… the scene that we shot at dusk, that’s kind of like the heart of the movie to me. She kind of finds her humanity in that scene. Carol finds her humanity in that scene and we really see the humanity of the Skrulls in this scene and it’s like these pointy-eared, weird-looking, shape-shifting aliens that we assumed were the villains for the first half of the film. And to open up our hearts and see that they have families and they care about the same things that we care about, that was one of the really exciting things about this movie that us and Jonathan Schwartz and Kevin Feige and Lou (D'Esposito) and Victoria (Alonso) and Geneva (Robertson-Dworet) who we’re writing with all got really excited about and really wanted to bring to this movie.
A bit of context: The Skrulls first appeared back in Fantastic Four #2 (1962) and became recurring villains for almost every hero in the Marvel universe, particularly the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. They were the primary antagonists of the immensely popular Secret Invasion arc and had prominent roles in subsequent events. So, as one can imagine, contrasting how the Skrulls were originally introduced with how they're depicted in the film makes the twist even more shocking.
The directors continued, saying:
Taking these Skrulls who’re like the villains from the comics and being able to see another side of them, and then her reckoning with warring with these people who she didn’t understand and fighting on the wrong side of the war.
Captain Marvel does a phenomenal job of handling the Skrulls deftly, interestingly, and sympathetically. It's a welcome twist that actually ends up making sense as the film reaches its final act. It's also worth pointing out that for many, the interpretation presented in the film will be their interpretation -- especially if they never take the deep-dive into the comics and their ever-expanding lore.
That's just one of the many reasons Captain Marvel is an important film. And maybe why it performed so well at the box office. The box office boost from Avengers: Endgame (which hit theaters while Captain Marvel was still in its theatrical run) didn't hurt, either. She met the Avengers in a post-credits scene, which simultaneously deepened the connection between the two films and cross-promoted them.
Captain Marvel is now available digitally and on Blu-ray, 4K, and DVD.