Captain Marvel will keep you on your toes and at the edge of your seat all at the same time. It’s captivating, bold, and original, while adding nostalgia to the mix. Like the decade it’s set in, it’s also the most “Girl Power” superhero movie ever made (sorry, Wonder Woman, not sorry).

She goes by many names, but she won’t discover all of them until her memories are restored. At the start of the film, she’s a StarForce soldier in training fighting a war against the shape shifting Skrulls. But when a series of events finds her crash landing through the roof of a Blockbuster Video store on earth in 1995, she will discover her past while intersecting with some of our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at the start of their career.

Like Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain Marvel offers a fun look back into an era not yet explored in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Another similarity is that the events here directly lead into the next Avengers film, while also connecting some dots to a significant number of films across all three phases. But the similarities pretty much stop there, save for their rank.

While Captain Marvel may be a new addition to the film series, you’ll feel like she’s always been there thanks to the intricate groundwork and years of planning leading up to this film. As a character, she’s instantly one of the coolest and most admirable in a cast that includes some of the best on-screen superheroes ever brought to life.

Brie Larson is relatable and empathetic while playing one of the strongest and most powerful characters in the MCU to date. You believe in her virtue and root for her all the way. One of the things the film does extremely well is keep the audience as in the dark as she is. We’re all along on her journey and we feel everything she’s going through.

Fans of the MCU will delight in seeing young Nick Fury and Phil Coulson deal with their first extraterrestrial visitors. While there are a few uncanny valley moments with Fury’s digital de-aging, it’s a mostly convincing effect. But when first introduced, it takes you out of the moment because you instantly recognize that something is off.

The 90’s jokes abound and anyone who lived through the era will have more than a few chuckles. It’s not funny on the same level as the Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man films, but it has its moments. It also has a fun soundtrack that includes No Doubt, R.E.M., and TLC. It’s a Spice Girls song away from becoming a really rad “Girl Power” mixtape.

I can’t really talk about the film without a brief discussion of the fact that Captain Marvel essentially takes down toxic masculinity with a few epic moves. It may be set in 1995, but this film has a 2019 audience in mind. It’s not integral to the plot and it never beats you over the head, but you’ll recognize these moments and cheer for the progress and change happening. It’s almost a tongue-in-cheek slam at the trolls who gave a thumbs down to this film on Rotten Tomatoes well ahead of its release date.

Captain Marvel instantly ranks in my top 5 of the MCU to date and is my favorite film in Phase Three so far. As always, stay through the credits until the very end. I recommend seeing this film opening weekend so you can cheer along with some of the first audiences at this important moment in Marvel history.

I give Captain Marvel 5 out of 5 lunch boxes featuring “The Fonz.”