The Marvel Cinematic Universe is only getting stronger at the box office. "Captain Marvel" opens with $153 million in the U.S. and a total of $455 million worldwide. That's despite a campaign by sexist trolls to derail the movie with bogus bad reviews social media buzz. So I guess those guys can go back to what they were doing before - not having girlfriends or really any friends, for that matter. Maybe mom will bring some pizza down to the basement. 

By now, Disney and Marvel have trained us how to watch these movies, including sitting through the end credits. They know what we expect, and they know how to deliver. But with "Captain Marvel," there's a bit more at stake. It took 20 mostly pretty good movies for Marvel to finally make one centered on a female character that's also just pretty good, so yea progress? I won't get into the significance of that, or the role this movie plays in the feminist movement at large - there are writers far more qualified than me to do that. But I will say I don't feel the politics surrounding the film really come to bear on the text itself. It's fun, doesn't take itself too seriously, and has some good things going for it - especially Brie Larson. 

She is introduced to us as an alien called Vers, part of a people called the Kree, and she crash lands on Earth in 1995 - slamming into a Blockbuster Video store, one of many Gen-X nostalgia elements people my age enjoy explaining to our kids. Vers knows Earth is being infested by alien terrorists, but she doesn't know much about her own past because reasons. As she works to solve both mysteries, she gets help from agent Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson (the digital de-aging of the 70-year-old is impressive). 

This buddy adventure works well - moving at a clip when it's not having to stop to do some tedious origin story table setting. There's a lot of that, and the plotting gets a bit muddled at times. But the supporting cast is aces (Jude Law, Annette Bening Ben Mendelsohn) and the movie has kind of a "Superman" meets "Top Gun" thing with a cool "Star Trek" vibe. And since this story predates most of the other Marvel movies, there are loads of callbacks for fans,

Because I've been asked, I'd put "Captain Marvel" somewhere in the middle if I were ranking these 21 movies. It's good fun, follows the formula. Oh, but it does have maybe the best movie cat ever - so that's something.