Captain Marvel is Changing the Game

If you haven’t watched Captain Marvel, beware that there are spoilers ahead!

 

The latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. I am a big fan of superheroes and the MCU, so I was excited to see this movie. The fact that it was the first MCU movie to have a woman as the title character made it even more exciting. The MCU has always had strong female characters like Natasha Romanoff, Valkyrie, Gamora, Okoye and Wanda Maximoff, but a woman has not gotten her own movie until now. The success of Captain Marvel shows that it was way overdue.

The movie stars Captain Carol Danvers, a strong and sassy former pilot for the United States Air Force that loses her memories after an explosion that gives her god-like, cosmic superpowers. She goes by Vers and is trained to be a Kree, which is an alien warrior race that controls a large part of the galaxy. She ends up back on earth, chasing a group of Skrulls, where she encounters the future director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury. You get the gist.

There are many reasons why this movie is important, but one of the most prominent reasons is box-office success. Captain Marvel is the first female-led superhero to join the billion-dollar boys club by passing $1 billion in the box office. It is also the first live action movie directed by a woman to reach $1 billion as well. This movie is breaking records and changing the game for female representation.

The movie is one of female empowerment, action and comedy all wrapped into one. It was a success, but for me, that isn’t what makes me love this movie.

Captain Marvel portrays the story of a woman who is told time and time again that she is too emotional, not strong enough or just a girl. Instead of letting these things hold her down, she uses them to prove everyone wrong. She becomes an air force pilot, though women were not allowed to fly in combat at the time.  In so many ways, the movie shows Carol fighting against her stereotype, finding strength in herself despite the opposition.

My favorite scene of the movie is near the end when her former mentor, Yon-Rogg, challenges her to a “fair” hand-to-hand duel without her powers. He is the one who time and time again told Carol that she needed to keep her emotions in tact and that she would never defeat him in combat throughout the movie. He wants her to lessen her power, to come down to his level.  When I heard him ask this in the movie, I actually groaned. I was so frustrated to see this man still trying to downplay Carol’s power and was worried that she was going to give in and fight him. However, she didn’t!

She flicks him away like a pesky fly in her way. She doesn't give his ridiculous and demeaning request a second thought. She tells him that she has nothing to prove to him. The scene gave me chills. The movie could have easily made Carol fight her mentor to “prove” she could beat him, but it didn’t! She did not need to prove herself to anyone. This scene is not only one of my favorite scenes in this movie, but all of the MCU. This movie was not screaming “female power” in the marketing for publicity, but actually practiced what it preached.

Yes, the movie has set records in the box-office, which is amazing! I don’t ever want to downplay that. It is a fantastic accomplishment. However, the way the movie treated female characters and female strength is what is going to change the game. The more quality representation we get in movies, the better. The more women swatting ridiculous stereotypes and insults away, the better off we will be.  The real strength is not giving these thoughts and insults the decency of fighting, but instead, waving them away like they are nothing, because that is what they are. Nothing.