Archives in the Movies: Captain Marvel
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
[Author's Note: Contains minor spoilers for Captain Marvel]
Is it too soon to put this out? Meh. I don't care because I loved Captain Marvel and I'm so friggin' excited to have Carol Danvers in the Marvel Universe of movies! What got me even more excited was the trailers featuring Carol looking at probably classified information while sitting in what appeared to be an archive.
How happy was I to see that my observations were correct? Very. The answer is very. It's actually a pretty contained part of the movie that doesn't give too much away, but here's your second spoiler warning nonetheless.
Also, quick refresher/education:
Kree -- essentially the Roman Empire of aliens who follow the orders of the Supreme Intelligence, an A.I. They basically look like humans but some have blue skin and yellowish eyes while others have "pink" skin or brown skin if you're Djimon Hounsou.
Skrulls -- green-skinned, goblin-looking aliens with the ability to shapeshift into whoever they see, gaining that person's most recent memories.
After a mind-trip induced by the Skrulls, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), or Vers as the Kree call her, finds herself stranded on Earth looking for Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) who may hold the key to ending the Kree-Skrull war. Teaming up with a younger, two-eyed Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), they track down Lawson's classified Project Pegasus and find more than a few surprises await them in the archive.
For the first half of the film Carol is determined to find and protect Lawson. She thinks she knows her, that they have a connection. It's important to Carol because, at this point in the movie, she believes herself to be part of the Kree Empire though she has no memory of her past save for the last six years on Hala, the Kree homeworld. When she and Fury finally enter the Pegasus site, they're stymied by government agents trying to keep them from delving too deep into the failed project. Neither is aware, at this point, that the Skrull Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) is also masquerading as Fury's boss. Skrulls are tricky that way.
The two manage to escape to the Records Department that all secret government projects contain and as Carol and Fury enter the room the lights immediately switch on as they walk by stacks - proper stacks - of clamshell boxes. Carol somehow knows where the right boxes are - without a finding aid or an archivist! - and starts pulling files to find out exactly what happened to Project Pegasus and Lawson. It's here she discovers her connection to Lawson, Pegasus, and the Earth. And then S.H.I.E.L.D. agents show up to take down her and Fury because their boss is a Skrull trying to get the same information. Typical. Fury takes them on in a fun romp through the stacks until Carol has to rescue him and they flee to safety.
It's rare that a movie shows a cat and mouse game in an archive, so I'm not going to harp on that too much. Just be mindful that Fury uses a film canister as a distraction in a way that most archivists would clutch at their pearls over. Also there's an actual cat, Goose, who seems to have free range of the facility, including Records, which makes me wonder what kind of protections the secret government facility has against pet dander. Then again, Goose isn't your typical cat...