Hilarious retro tech references in ‘Captain Marvel’


We’ll begin with a SPOILER ALERT. However, as “Captain Marvel” blasts its way north of a worldwide $1 billion box office gross, a lot of people are obviously already familiar with Marvel Studios’ first female superhero movie.

But if you haven’t seen it…you’ve been warned. SPOILERVILLE awaits.

Set in the ’90s, the action-packed film tells the origin story of Marvel Comics’ feisty heroine, Carol Danvers. It also shows how S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Nick Fury becomes inspired to create the Avengers.

By the end, we catch a quick “Avengers: Endgame” sneak peek in the first post-credits scene. In it, we also learn Captain Marvel returns in the highly-anticipated sequel.

Still, burning questions remain ahead of “Endgame’s” April 26 premiere.

For instance, will Iron Man finally make the ultimate sacrifice? Will Captain Marvel and Thor act on that spark of attraction (well, at least some fans see it that way) seen in the film trailer? Will the mighty Marvel heroes defeat Thanos (c’mon, that’s a given…more a question of how)?

While MCU fans scrutinize “Captain Marvel” footage and “Avengers: Endgame” trailers for answers, we’re taking a look at the hilarious, retro tech Captain Marvel and company use on their current mission.

Our main takeaway: My, how far we’ve come!

Blockbuster Video

Carol crashes back to Earth, straight through the roof of the friendly neighborhood Blockbuster Video store (which was filmed at the last Blockbuster store on Earth). While wandering the aisles, she picks up a VHS copy of “The Right Stuff,” which chronicles the first 15 years of the American space program.

This scene is comical for several reasons. First, Carol falls into the store from outer space and picks up a copy of a space-focused film. Next, the Blockbuster Video franchise is nearly obsolete, and finally, a VHS tape is pretty much a format dinosaur.

Watching movies has never been easier or more convenient today, thanks to smart TVs and streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Unfortunately, the popular mobile, on-demand entertainment platforms have forced many video stores out of business. Some people are even wondering if DVDs also face extinction (pretty much a given).

Giant Cell Phones

Agent Coulson calls his buddy Nick Fury from the Blockbuster crime scene on a ginormous cell phone. Forget about taking crime scene photos or doing anything “smart” on this massive mobile relic. The bulky handset is almost as big as his entire arm!

Thankfully, early cellular eyesores have evolved into the sleek, multi-functional smartphones we can carry in our pockets today. Pretty soon, we’ll be communicating via robust 5G technology.

Archaic Computing and Connectivity

In one scene, Carol does research on a big, boxy-looking computer monitor in an internet café. The laughable old-school equipment pops up several other places in the film, including at the Pegasus complex and in Nick Fury’s office.

Carol uses the ancient AltaVista search engine via a dial-up modem at the café. Plus, when she’s with her friend, Maria Rambeau, they anxiously wait for black box data to upload from an excruciatingly-slow CD-ROM.

Everyone is frustrated because it takes so long. Anyone who remembers how slow these kinds of uploads used to be can easily relate.

Today, flat touchscreen monitors replace space-hogging monochrome models. If we need information, we quickly “Google” the answers or ask an AI-assistant like Alexa for help. We can also surf the internet anytime, anywhere via fast wireless broadband connectivity on a variety of handheld mobile devices. Even our cars are voice-enabled and can perform searches while we drive.

Two-Way Pager

Carol notices Nick Fury’s odd-looking “communicator” at Pegasus. He tells her it’s a two-way pager and he uses it to send messages to his mom.

To her surprise, he eventually uses it to call for backup agents to take her down. However, his plan backfires. Instead, they work together to escape from the Skrulls.

Near the end of the movie, Carol gives Nick’s pager an intergalactic upgrade so he can reach her in case of an emergen…(see what we did there)

MCU fans instantly recognize the revamped device as the one he activates before he disintegrates at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

In the first post-credits scene, Black Widow, Bruce Banner, and Captain America are looking at the pager when Carol walks in. Responding to its call she asks, “Where is Nick Fury?”

Nick’s original two-way pager is an awkward-looking thing of the past. Now, we contact each other on-the-go via text messaging, social media, and FaceTime.

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Overall, the retro tech featured in “Captain Marvel” is laughable with a hint of nostalgia. It’s a vivid reminder of how far we’ve come. Given the rapidly-advancing IoT, increase in AI-based technology and push toward autonomous transportation, who knows where tech will take us in the next 25 years?

This hilarious reflection, however, doesn’t calm our fears about the fates of our favorite band of Marvel superheroes.

So, to ease the tension until we find out who lives and who dies in “Avengers: Endgame,” we’ll kick it back ‘90s-style and listen to some sweet “Captain Marvel” music jams like “Waterfalls” by TLC and Samuel L. Jackson’s infectious rendition of “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes.