Brie Larson Makes Herstory in Exceptional “Captain Marvel”

This is a follow-up article to “Powerhouse Women Take Over Superhero Scene” and “Seven Spoiler-Free Facts To Know Before You See Captain Marvel.”  To read these, you can read the first one here and the second is available here.  The article below contains SPOILERS!

It’s official: Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson starred as Captain Marvel in the character’s entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making her the first female hero to have a solo film in the franchise’s eleven-year history.  Not only did this movie make history – or herstory, rather – it shared the story of a strong woman (the most powerful in the MCU) while exploring impactful topics like humanity, feminism, and war.

Throughout the movie, Carol Danvers/Vers/Captain Marvel is constantly told that she must control her emotions and powers because they make her vulnerable and weak.  This could not be more wrong, however. Carol is so powerful that the other characters feared her potential and tell her these things to manipulate her; the villainous Kree even go so far as implanting a chip in her neck to dampen her powers.  Taunting Carol, the Kree leader, the Supreme Intelligence, tells her, “Without us, you’re only human.” But it’s okay to be only human. In a montage of Carol standing up after getting knocked down throughout her life, she removes the chip and says, “I’ve been fighting with one arm tied behind my back.  But what happens when I’m finally set free?”

Contrary to all of the antagonists, Carol’s genuine compassion for the Skrulls is what allows her to be such a fierce fighter.  After all, why fight if you don’t care enough to have something to fight for? Single-handedly, Captain Marvel defeats all of the Kree weapons that target Earth, saving the planet from utmost destruction.  Then, after defeating the Kree battalion of spaceships, Carol is challenged by her former Kree handler Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) to beat him without using any powers. She then proceeds to use her photon blast and promptly tells him, “I have nothing to prove to you.”  Hearing this line was a stellar clap-back moment that made audiences around the world enjoy the movie even more.

In addition to showing immense power from a woman, Captain Marvel features two opposing alien races: the Kree, a fascist regime of warriors, and the Skrulls, shapeshifters without a planet to call home.  A former Air Force pilot, Carol and her mentor Dr. Lawson/ Mar-Vell focus on one key saying about their work: “This isn’t about fighting wars.  It’s about ending them.” The ultimate objective of working in the military is to maintain peace and safety, a goal that carries over to Carol’s heroic role as Captain Marvel.  Understanding that the Kree are the villains, she stands up for the Skrulls even after being brainwashed by the Kree to despise them.

This movie asks a big question about war: What’s the point?  The entire reason for the conflict between the Kree and the Skrulls is that the Kree want to rule the galaxy and they oppress and kill the Skrulls because they are in their way.  Think about World War II when the Nazis built the German empire and led a mass genocide against Jews and other groups that did not fit their view of the world. Sound familiar? Captain Marvel is not afraid to make these connections and tackle controversial topics.  It is an amazing film to watch not only because it highlights female power, but also because it contains a truly thought-provoking argument.

After discussing the movie with fellow fans from Cape Henry, it is agreed that Captain Marvel is one of the best movies in the MCU.  For a previous article, “Powerhouse Women Take Over Superhero Scene,” written shortly after the release of the first trailer for Captain Marvel, Phoebe More (‘21) said she was “really, really excited for the movie!”  Now, after seeing the film, Phoebe said, “It definitely lived up to my expectations!  My favorite part was seeing the backstory of Nick Fury losing his eye – it was great to have a funny backstory to what could’ve been very dramatic.”  Phoebe also shared that in any potential sequels to Captain Marvel and in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, she would like to see how Carol “fits in with the more serious characters and how her own character develops!”  

Berk Alptekin (‘21) shared that “it was really fun watching” Carol display all of her abilities and that the movie “promotes female actresses instead of stereotyping them as weaker characters.”  Berk added, “The post-credits scene with the Avengers was the best I’ve ever seen. The technology was really cool and the idea of the Skrulls was interesting. It definitely had more science-fiction than other MCU films, and it was cool that it was the first movie with a solo female hero.”  Brandon Midgette (‘20) shared similar thoughts to Berk, saying, “The second post-credits scene that had the cat [Goose] was the best.”

If you haven’t gone to the theater to see Captain Marvel, you should absolutely buy your ticket as soon as possible.  Be sure to watch Avengers: Endgame (which premieres April 26, 2019) if you want to see more of Carol Danvers.