Sometimes to go forward you have to go back, and while the world anxiously anticipates Avengers Endgame and how the story will unfold; one thing is clear, Captain Marvel is a big part of what is to come. To simply drop Brie Larson into the existing Avenger world would raise too many questions, so instead this origin story takes us back to the 90’s to let us know who this new force of good is.
Like all heroes, Captain Marvel does not come to us fully formed, discovery of self is vital to any origin story and Vers is no different. As part of the elite Starforce Military, Vers is one of the Kree protecting the world around from her from the shapeshifting Skrulls and upholding justice. She is a powerful warrior, a loyal soldier, but she is also reckless, at times unteachable and often goes outside the rules to get things done. Under the tutelage of her mentor Yon-Rogga she is slowly finding out the nature of her powers and their capabilities.
When ambushed and captured by Skrulls, Vers is opened up to some previously untapped memories that appear to show a life long forgotten. On escaping her captors and crash landing on Earth, she teams up with a (more) youthful Nick Fury and embarks on a journey of further self-discovery and opens herself up to many other truths that reveal who she really is and just how powerful she really can be.
This film is yet another great instalment in Marvel’s tradition of origin stories. Equal opportunities are given to the viewer to learn about and warm to this latest important addition to the never ending expansion of the MCU. A 90s setting helps as nostalgia for this period will always bring me quickly on board, particularly when all the great, indie tunes from the era begin to play! Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson are having a lot of fun in their roles and share a chemistry that appears to morph into a genuine friendship built on respect and appreciation as genuine and heartfelt as any recent on screen pairing. Larson is brilliantly cast in the role of Vers/Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel she is intense at times and yet maintains an aura that makes her seem to be one of the MCU’s most approachable heroes. In much the same vein as the other Captain in the MCU Larson has charm, charisma and strength that comes from deep within to empower not just her character but also those around her.
On the films release I have seen several disparaging articles about the film and some of these have come from Christian sites. Some have said there is nothing new in this origin story, that it simply fits the template and offers little in the way of content. I can’t fully agree with this viewpoint as while the origin story template is clearly applied, the story also gives us much to chew over.
The film tackles sexism, asks questions about equality and asks us to consider whether the narratives we are are always the true story of events and their consequences. This would perhaps be most valuable perspective to consider for those Christian sites who bemoan the female hero and query what is wrong with the good ol’ Disney days of princesses waiting on their prince to come and change their world with a kiss. It is not difficult to speculate about what form of narrative these writers have been handed down!
A further article despaired over Captain Marvel’s rallying cry to humanism as her abilities and judgment flew in the face of enforced leadership and her humanity was affecting her judgement. This is apparently not what good Christians should see as a standard to emulate.
However, our humanity is important, our humanity is what sets us apart and is what, for better or worse, affects our judgement. To see this as a negative denies who we are created to be, and also denies (perhaps) the very reason the God these articles allege to represent and reflect, would show even the smallest portion of interest in our lives. Not to mention the minor point of the divine becoming human in order to fully engage with us and walk among us!
Captain Marvel is much more complex than a standard origin story, it tackles bigger issues than what may be apparent on the surface. It does so with heart, compassion and strength. I’m excited to see how Captain Marvel fits into the MCU going forward, I’m excited to see the interactions with the existing heroes and I’m itching to see how this powerful force can impact and save us. Perhaps if you’re troubled by the possibility of a female saviour in the MCU, or anywhere else, it’s not the saviour that’s the problem.
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