Captain Marvel’s Ode to 90s Music

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Madilyn Sturges

*This review features some spoilers related to fighting scenes in Captain Marvel.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been around since 2008 with Iron Man, which introduced us to Tony Stark’s love for 80s rock, while Thor 3: Ragnarok’s fight scene featured Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song”. The MCU is no stranger to creating well-crafted soundtrack playlists that give you an insight into the superhero while also showing you the time and place the movie has featured. So it’s no surprise that Captain Marvel’s debut features the best of the best when it comes to 90s bops. The film takes place in 1995, where Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel) is fighting Skrulls’ butt and taking names. The soundtrack features Nirvana, Garbage, No Doubt, R.E.M., and TLC as just a handful of non-score music. No Doubt’s “Just A Girl” is the theme song for one of the main fight scenes in the film. If that doesn’t make you want to buy tickets to see the movie, we don’t know what to say to you.

Creating this ode to 90s music not only creates a playlist that will last long after the audience leaves the theater (or couch) but its an auditory link to the vibe of the film. Captain Marvel takes you back to 1995 with Blockbuster making an appearance and chunky cellphones and pagers. This playlist is a time-traveling tool for the audience to see themselves in the same world as Carol Danvers, over 20 years ago. As soon as the opening notes of “Come as You Are” by Nirvana starts, it’s a jarring of nostalgia you were not expecting. But it’s just as enjoyable, if not more.

MCU is great at is taking a song and connecting it with these films in a way that connects the audience more to the movie. When an MCU fan hears “The Immigrant Song” or “Just A Girl”, they will connect it to Thor and Captain Marvel. AD/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill” is linked to Iron Man 2’s opening sequence. The creators of the MCU have successfully built a large playlist that will hold up alongside the movies over time and become synonymous with the movies for those who were unaware of the songs before.

Here are all the pop culture songs that were directly played or mentioned in Captain Marvel:

“You Gotta Be” by Des’ree (1994)

“Connection” by Elastica (1994)

“Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage (1995)

“Crazy on You” by Heart (1976)

“Celebrity Skin” by Hole (1998)

“Kiss Me Deadly” by Lita Ford (1988)

“Come as You Are” by Nirvana (1992)

“Just a Girl” by No Doubt (1995)

“Crush with Eyeliner” by R.E.M. (1995)

“Man on the Moon” by R.E.M. (1992)

“Whatta Man” by Salt-N-Pepa (1993)

“Waterfalls” by TLC (1995)