Higher, Further, Faster – Why “Captain Marvel” Was So Good

Before I talk too much about the movie, I want to acknowledge the wonderful tribute they made to Stan Lee. If you choose to see the movie for only one thing, go for the opening Marvel logo. I promise it’s worth it. Thank you, Stan.

CAPTAIN MARVEL SPOILERS AHEAD.

I have no words, but at the same time I have all the words.

Captain Marvel. What a masterpiece.

How does it only have a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes? How does it have an audience score of 62%? More importantly, why does The Incredible Hulk have an audience score of 70%? What is wrong with the world? How is Captain Marvel not ranked so much higher?

Captain Marvel is about a female superhero who struggles with finding her identity.

With her memory partially erased, “Vers” (Brie Larson) knows only of her life amongst an alien race called the Kree. When she crashes her spaceship onto Earth, she learns more about who she really is -Carol Danvers- and where she came from. While she’s working alongside the Kree to fight and defeat the Skrull, she soon realizes that the Kree have been the “bad guys” the whole time. The Skrull simply want homes and happy lives, and the Kree want them extinct because they won’t abide by their horrible laws. Once Carol realizes this, she grows to understand her own identity and strength (And what strength it is!) and switches to fighting for the right side. 

Not to mention the Marvel tidbits we get!

We see the Tesseract (again) as the thing everyone wants. I mentally tracked its journey: we first see it in Captain America (taking place in 1942). It’s wanted by Red Skull and eventually goes into the ice with Cap. Circa 1950s (just a guess), young Howard Stark finds it in the ice. This is where I get a bit confused. According to Captain Marvel, Carol and Wendy Lawson -aka Mar-Vell- (Annette Bening) crash their plane in 1989. Mar-Vell has had the Tesseract for long enough to utilize its energy source. This is how Carol gets her powers. What we’re missing now is what happened to it in between Howard finding it and Mar-Vell getting it. We finally get to see how Fury (Samuel L Jackson) got it (courtesy of Goose the Cat), but we’re missing its whereabouts throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s, and early 80s. Not important information really, but it’d be interesting to hear how Mar-Vell got it.

We see Fury creating The Avenger Initiative! Except it doesn’t start as The Avenger Initiative. While Fury is writing this, he has it titled “The Protector Initiative”. He’s at his desk, flipping through some of Carol’s files, when he sees a picture of her boarding her plane. On the side of her plane, it says “Carol ‘Avenger’ Danvers”. This inspired Fury to change the title. Apparently, this was Kevin Feige’s idea. Some people don’t like it, claiming that superheroes were around long before Carol. Obviously that’s the case. Hell, Cap’s movie is called The First Avenger. The point is that the name came from Carol. Steve is still the first Avenger. He’s still the first superhero. It’s just that Carol was how Fury put a name to it. Calm down, angry, opinionated viewers. Stop searching for the fault in everything. Ya’ll are just mad that a woman inspired the franchise. 

Anyway, there were a million wonderful things that came out of this movie. I left feeling empowered and inspired. We all get knocked down, but what’s important is that you always, always get back up. As a woman, I feel so goddamn strong.

I found an article that lists 9 empowering quotes from the movie. I’d like to share those along with my reactions.

“Call me ‘young lady’ again, and I’m going to put my foot in a place it’s not supposed to be.” – Maria Rambeau

As a woman, I can agree that being called “young lady” is so unnecessarily demeaning, especially for a woman of Maria’s (Lashana Lynch) age, rank, and overall bad-ass-ness. Sure, Carol maybe a super hero, but Maria is a hero all on her own.

“If there are lives at stake, I’ll fly the plane.” – Carol Danvers

In the air force, Carol was constantly having to prove herself. She knew that getting in that plane with Lawson could be a death sentence, but she also knew that she had the potential to save lives by doing it. She’s not one to cower in the face of danger. She tackles it head on and always has.

“You are Carol Danvers. You were the woman on that black box risking her life to do the right thing. My best friend, who supported me as a mother and a pilot when no one else did. You were smart, and funny, and a huge pain in the ass, and you were the most powerful person I knew, way before you could shoot fire through your fists.” – Maria Rambeau

We love females supporting females. The minute Carol has a moment of uncertainty (an identity crisis if you will), Maria is there to remind her of who she really is. It’s wild, because this Carol doesn’t feel like the same Carol whom Maria knew, but she’s still willing to support her and remind her of the hero she always was in her eyes. 

“I’ve been fighting with one arm tied behind my back, but when happens when I’m finally set free?” – Carol Danvers

This line really got me. I know I’m a straight, cisgender, white woman, and my limitations in life are nothing compared to some other parties, but I also know that being a woman is rough as shit sometimes. It really does feel like we’re fighting with one arm tied behind our backs, or running with one leg dragging a weight, or writing with a cast on our hand, or, or, or. Carol has this incredible moment where she rips out the device that was hindering her powers and fights with everything in her. Yeah, physically, she is no longer fighting with limitations, but I also think mentally she’s free too. She knows who she is now. She is finally at her peak strength and is free to fight (and win) the fight.

“I have nothing to prove to you.” – Carol Danvers

When Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) (I did not know that was his character’s name) tried to get her to fight him without her powers, he kept saying “prove to me” that you’ve grown, or changed, or evolved, or finally mastered your powers. For a split second, I thought she was going to do it. I thought she was going to succumb to his pointless taunting. Instead, she blasted his dumb ass into a rock, walked up to him with her head held high, and said, “I have nothing to prove to you.” And it’s true. She doesn’t. And it was such a powerful moment, because how many of us have succumbed to the taunts? How many of us have been undermined by a male who thinks we can’t do what they can. We cave, and we work harder to prove that we can. Sure, we feel good once we’ve proven them wrong, but what Carol showed us is that we don’t have to do that. We don’t owe anything to anyone. We don’t have to prove our worth, value, or strength to someone who feels the need to taunt us or make us feel small.

“This isn’t about fighting wars. It’s about ending them.” – Mar-Vell

In a world so war-heavy, it was nice to hear this line. I don’t want to get overly political (Frankly I don’t think my current event knowledge is strong enough to do so.), but I feel like we, as a society, tend to solve all of our problems by waving our fists or shooting our guns. This -this life, this movie, this everything– isn’t about fighting wars. It’s about ending wars. It’s about seeing the finish line and crossing it victoriously, knowing you did your part to make the world a little better for everyone.

“Tell the Supreme Intelligence that I’m coming to end it. The wars, the lies, all of it.” – Carol Danvers

The minute Carol mastered her strength, she used it to change the world. No shade to Tony Stark, but the whole beginning of Iron Man 2 is sexy dancers dressed in skimpy Iron Man costumes because he’s just so thrilled to be himself. That’s not what Carol is about. Carol is all about using her powers for all the right reasons and only the right reasons.

“Higher, further, faster.” – Carol Danvers

Just be the best version of you. Fly higher than people think you can. Run further and faster than you’re expected to. Don’t do this to prove anything to anyone. Do this to prove to yourself that you’re so much better than you (or anyone else) ever thought you were. 

“My name is Carol.” 

This was such a powerful moment. After the montage of her falling and always getting back up, she was able to look the Supreme Intelligence in the eye and say, “My name is Carol.” She finally knows who she is, and understanding her own identity is what gives her the strength to win.

Don’t like my review? Go see it yourself. Raise its score on Rotten Tomatoes. Help its box office earnings. Give this movie the love, attention, and success it so greatly deserves.

Nothing but respect for my strongest Avenger.

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