‘Captain Marvel’: Here Are All the Throwback Pop Culture References, From Trolls to ‘True Lies’

Marvel’s latest is full of gems from the ’90s (and ’80s) — we miss you, Blockbuster

Captain Marvel

(Potential spoiler alerts ahead: Proceed at your own risk.)

“Captain Marvel” is set in the 1990s, so be ready for a nostalgic ride back in time when Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) takes us to Earth.

As seen in the trailer, Larson’s Captain Marvel crashes through the roof of a now-extinct Blockbuster Video store. But that’s not all of antique — and some extinct — items and objects we see in the movie — and TheWrap is here to round ’em up.

See below for all the references to pop culture in “Captain Marvel” — and yes, some of them are not from the ’90s, but even earlier.

Troll Doll


“Captain Marvel” is filled with toys reminiscent of the ’90s. We see a “Space Invaders” game, some Troll dolls, a “PacMan” machine as well as pinball machines, a Nerf gun, and even a Gameboy Color and a Koosh ball! A “Happy Days” lunchbox is instrumental in Danvers’ mission.

Will Smith Fresh Prince

Movies and TV Shows

While Danvers is at Blockbuster, the racks are filled with amazing films from that era. “Babe” and “The Right Stuff” are scattered around the store, and there’s a “True Lies” cutout that Danvers accidentally fires at.

Later on in the film, Will Smith’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” gets a mention.


The step back in the technology used in “Captain Marvel” garnered chuckles from audiences, showing us once again how far we’ve come in just 20 years. There’s dial-up internet, an internet cafe (who remembers those?), an ancient version of Windows software, pagers and CD-ROMS!

Samuel L. Jackson’s Fury speaks about revealing his AOL password, and a Logitech webcam is used for security at a compound. The best part? The search engine of choice in the movie was AltaVista, a search engine that was one of the most-used early search engines before Google took over.

There’s an amazing part in the movie where Larson and her companions put in a CD-ROM into a brick of a computer and wait for it to load for what seems like hours. Danvers asks, “What’s happening?” Who remembers waiting — and waiting — for something to load when all you wanted to play was Oregon Trail? Yeah, we do.

Blockbuster Captain Marvel


As mentioned before, Danvers crashes into the roof of a Blockbuster. She then asks an on-site security officer where she can find something to communicate to her home base with, at which point the security guard points her to, of course, a Radio Shack. The company was at its peak in the late ’90s until various bankruptcy issues and then announcing to close nearly all of its stores and focus on online buying.

You’ll also be able to see a “Rock the Vote” poster, and Danvers sports a NIN (Nine Inch Nails) t-shirt.

And once again, major spoiler alert so do not read this next sentence.

Stan Lee does make a cameo in this movie, and this time, he’s on an elevated train line reading a screenplay for the 1995 movie “Mallrats.” If you remember, Lee appeared in Kevin Smith’s film as himself, so this is a major throwback.