WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Captain Marvel, in theaters now.
When Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser and Djimon Honsou's Korath were first announced for Captain Marvel, it provided the opportunity for Marvel Studios to make up for what many fans perceive as the characters being shortchanged in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Let's be real, Ronan (the big bad of that film) being distracted by Star-Lord's (Chris Pratt) dance-off, only to meet his demise, really did strike an underwhelming note. But as the formative years for both Kree warriors are now detailed in Brie Larson's solo adventures as Carol Danvers, thankfully they're redeemed as more than just Thanos' lackeys.
In James Gunn's first cosmic outing in 2014, Ronan was tasked with bringing the orb containing the Power Stone to Thanos in exchange for the Mad Titan destroying Xandar when he got the Infinity Stone. Ronan, after all, had become disillusioned with his home world, Hala, for signing a peace treaty with Xandar and the Nova Corps, believing this was a sign of weakness.
Korath was his main mercenary and hunted the orb, running into the Guardians along the way, as he too felt the Kree Empire showed a lack of spine and deserved punishment. But, ultimately, all they came off as were Thanos' errand boys.
Sure, Ronan did break free of the Mad Titan's grip when he began to use the Power Stone himself, but that's just for the final act. Throughout the film, Thanos ridiculed and belittled him and his Kree legion, which trickled down to Korath, who seemed nothing more than a bystander.
Both warriors, and their species as a whole, felt downplayed, and it was most disappointing, especially in the case of Ronan, who in several cosmic events in the comics cut a powerful figure. However, the Kree's backstory in Captain Marvel truly shapes their army as the assertive warriors they should have been in Guardians.
Here, Korath is a member of Yon-Rogg's (Jude Law) military Starforce unit and, like his leader, he's as ruthless as ever. Along with the likes of Gemma Chan's Minn-Erva, a sniper in Yon-Rogg's elite squad, we see them as unforgiving assassins who spread the Kree philosophy of only the strong survive.
Their belief is that said strong are the Kree alone, ergo why they've been exterminating the Skrulls and other weaker species for centuries. The Kree are invaders and colonizers, but what makes them so interesting is they're all about using their brains too, not just their brawn.
This is apparent when we learn they've seeded undercover agents and science cells all across the galaxy to find or create weapons of mass destruction. This is exemplified by Annette Bening's Mar-Vell, who was disguised on Earth as Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.'s Dr. Wendy Lawson, harnessing the energy of the Tesseract.
It wasn't just about armies being deployed to assault planets, but don't get us wrong, that aspect of the Kree is as strong as ever, with Ronan's space fleet of Accusers coming off more scary here than in Gunn's movie.
The way we see them bombing worlds from orbit and using Yon-Rogg's agents on the ground to destabilize planets and create windows of opportunity is a much more cerebral approach than how Guardians depicted them -- brainless soldiers listening to an overlord who isn't even Kree. Captain Marvel fashions them as terrorists, but with a mission that's their own, to conquer and rule.
It aligns more with the Kree we know from the comics and the stealthy and more subtle strategies they employ, as opposed to all out war. This means they could be creating weapons and making evil alliances all across the cosmos that we haven't even heard of yet.
In short, the Kree are more cold, calculating and feel like a true extension of the Supreme Intelligence, but with a bigger purpose. Their mission is self-preservation. They don't take orders from folks outside the Empire and they're willing to sacrifice their own people to achieve this, which lets them resonate as the extremists we've read about for decades.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jude Law as the commander of Starforce, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau, Algenis Perez Soto as Att-Lass, McKenna Grace as a young Carol Danvers and Annette Bening as the Supreme Intelligence.