Captain Marvel and the Strength of Female Heroes

Kristen Bolash, Entertainment Editor

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The news that Brie Larson would be portraying Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel in 2016 was never a topic not mentioned. It began filming in January 2018 and is released to theaters March 2019. On September 18th the first trailer for the movie was released. Entertainment Magazine gave us the first look at Carol and the other characters of the movie last week and there were points made about the plot that leaves fans of Carol’s comic self wondering.

In the article, it explained how this is “no typical origin story (…) Carol already has her powers in the beginning of the film and is working with the elite space army known as Starforce.” The problem with this is that… Well… Carol Danvers has one unique origin story in Marvel comics. It’s disappointing to long-time fans and new fans to hear this. But that’s all that’s been said so far, maybe there’s hope to really see the explosion of the Kree wish machine live action. There was a bright blue explosion in the trailer that could hint to this though.

Now most cinematic universe fans wouldn’t know her original origin — so what is it? Carol Danvers was in the Air Force straight out of high school due to the desire for an education she wasn’t going to be getting if she didn’t join the military. She worked her way up to a colonel ranking over the years and then worked with NASA. But she hasn’t always been Captain Marvel; Mar-Vell was the original holder of the mantle. Carol was in space with Mar-Vell when a Kree wish machine exploded. Carol wished to be stronger than Mar-Vell, able to protect herself. His DNA was transferred from himself to her, giving her Kree DNA now. The original Ms. Marvel comics from the 70s show Carol more down to earth as a journalist. Her Ms. Marvel persona came in flashes before she transforms to the hero. Later on, Carol and Ms. Marvel become one and she can control the powers. Carol is a longtime member of the Avengers and has even served with the X-Men as Binary and Warbird.

One of the most memorable Ms. Marvel moments was when Rogue from the X-Men absorbed her powers and put her in a coma. Later on in the 2006, Ms. Marvel series an alternate universe version of Ms. Marvel jumps universe to universe killing the Rogues from that universe. In my opinion, due to the recent Disney ownership to use the names of the X-Men, this would be a good story-line to use in a movie as an introductory to the X-Men characters. But I do think there needs to be in introduction to Carol before also throwing in the X-Men too. But later on, maybe for ‘Captain Marvel 2’, they could do this.

Another story line we definitely will not get with Carol not having any Ms. Marvel movies is her 2006 arc with Moonstone / Karla Sofen. Karla then became the Ms. Marvel with the original costume when Carol refused to follow Osborn’s rule. Karla is a longtime member of the Dark Avengers and would make a good introduction to that team and their unique story-lines such as Dark Reign. It is unfortunate this Captain Marvel movie will most likely lead to the Secret Invasion arc because of the skrulls being introduced. The plot with Karla happens after Secret Invasion, so chronologically it would make sense if this was a Ms. Marvel movie. Even though this isn’t why Carol takes the Captain Marvel mantle, it would make for a good transition for a future movie.

A movie like this could potentially lead to is the introduction of the Inhuman royal family. The Inhumans have had their own television show in the past, but it wasn’t a big success. The Inhumans are a Kree offspring that are far more technologically advanced than any other group. Each Inhuman gains their powers from crystals called Terrigen. Each power is unique, their queen Medusa has living hair and their king Black Bolt can’t speak because his voice is so strong it can destroy mountains. The group is deserving of a new introduction and are a group with enough power that they should be added to movies. Also, Crystalia the princess, directly relates to the Avengers due to her marriage with Quicksilver (Pietro) and to the Guardians of the Galaxy with her relationship with Ronan who was introduced in their film and will be in the ‘Captain Marvel’ film as well.

So about the trailer… first, Carol didn’t punch a random old lady. That was a Skrull. They’re aliens who can shift to the shape of another human. Carol and her good friend Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman) have a long history with Skrulls. That seems to be the villain of the movie, there’s a split second in the trailer when you can see Nick Fury with his S.H.I.E.L.D colleagues inspecting a Skrull specimen. This again makes for a good opening for a Secret Invasion

Also the most noticeable plot in the trailer is Carol saying she “sees flashes” and only thinks she “had a life here.” The rumor is that the Kree brainwashed Carol after she got her powers because they knew how useful she would be in their army. But in the 70s Ms. Marvel series, Ms. Marvel (when they’re still different people) does see flashes of Carol and Carol see’s flashes of Ms. Marvel. Also the first true Captain Marvel story Carol had she was dealing with a brain tumor that resulted in the loss of her memories. Rogue also stole her memories. There’s a lot of potential with the memory loss plot Marvel decided to go with. I think it would be best to have the classic Ms. Marvel, but it doesn’t look like Carol will go from human to superhero to human again. I think the plot with her tumor would make a good follow up movie, but not a good introduction. Fans need to get to know Carol before being forced to feel bad for a character they don’t know’s medical issues. So the best resortment would be the Kree brainwashing her as a soldier. This scene is also followed by a scene of Carol having what looks to be energy pushed into her temples, could that be the brainwashing?

One of the most exciting features for us Captain Marvel fans was the scene of Carol and her helmet. The helmet provides Carol with the ability to breathe in space and obvious protection. It’s taken a lot of heat because of how ridiculous it looks, but it’s a staple in her costume and I’m glad to see it was remembered (Marvel Studios has a hard time remembering helmets, Thor’s classic winged helmet was in only two seconds of his first movie). Carol’s powers look amazing in the trailer if we get nothing else from the movie.

Nonetheless, Captain Marvel will bring a huge power shift to Marvel Studios. Brie Larson herself even said to E!, “She’s so strong! She can move planets!” This will be huge in Marvel because the only character who could match her strength as of now is Thor. But the question of Thor’s future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still questionable due to contacts with actors. Infinity War was the big hit movie from Marvel this year and it definitely left questions. Remember that pager at the end before Nick Fury turned to dust? That was Captain Marvel’s logo. Her movie is taking place in the 90s which makes us all wonder — why was a hero so powerful not in the last twenty years of this universe? Obviously in a movie standpoint she just wasn’t popular when Marvel started producing their own movies. But she could have been in 2015’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ or 2016’s ‘Civil War’. She’s also a cosmic hero for the most part if she’s a Kree soldier so she could have been with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Not to mention Carol has had a relationship with Tony Stark’s best friend Rhodey (War Machine).

Although Avengers 4 (the aftermath of Infinity War) is far away right now, it’s safe to assume Carol will have a huge impact on how that ends — whether Thanos will be killed or if MCU will follow the original Infinity Gauntlet comics and have Doctor Strange fix the situation by have Thanos live in a dimension all alone.

The movie itself will change everything just because it has a female superhero’s name as the main title. Marvel Cinematic Universe / Marvel Studios has yet to give this to a female. the Wasp (Hope Van Dyne) has her name featured in the ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ titled film and was the main character alongside Ant-Man (Scott Lang), but many aren’t even including this as a feat because of the fact Hope isn’t the Wasp in the comics — Janet Van Dyne is. If you’ve seen the Ant-Man movies you know Janet has been stuck in a quantum realm for 30 years. But even though she’s not Janet, the Wasp is an original Avenger in the comic books and should be as loved and respected as Captain Marvel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But the first female to have her name as a title was actually Elektra in the 2005 ‘Elektra’ movie. It was a spin-off of ‘Daredevil’ because Jennifer Garner’s Elektra portrayal was well loved at the time. But now it’s overlooked due to the many misses on her character despite the writers taking exact inspiration from legendary Elektra and Daredevil comics writer, Frank Miller.

Wonder Woman played by Gal Gadot is the obvious huge heroine and well worth the title of the most famous. Her 2017 movie is an instant classic and will go down in history. Wonder Woman will be seen again in ‘Wonder Woman ‘84’.Another heroine in the DC Universe who has taken the spotlight is Mera played by amber Heard. She’s well known for her long time relationship with Aquaman and her partnerships with the Justice League. She didn’t have much time in the ‘Justice League’ film because her scenes were cut. But she’s going to be in December’s ‘Aquaman’ solo film as the main character (besides Aquaman, obviously). Mera is so strong she can lift all seven seas at once.

Another leading lady about to get her own movie is Jean Grey, also known as the Phoenix. She has been in the X-Men movies and is getting a new Phoenix cinematic origin with 2019’s ‘Dark Phoenix.’ This is when Jean is engulfed by a cosmic entity and gains the Phoenix’s powers. There’s many sides to Jean’s Phoenix persona and actress Sophie Turner has been studying schizophrenia to understand more of this.

With the female heroes there are also female villains being introduced too. The first and most well known being Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn is the icon of the animated Batman series and gained solo popularity through the series. She has had numerous solo comic titles and many teams, the most well known team being Suicide Squad. Many were let down by the movie portrayal of Harley by Margot Robbie due to the fact they completely changed her classic outfit to something new. It doesn’t seem major and Harley’s name makes money no matter what but her classic jester costume is the most iconic to longtime fans and is a symbol of the 90s and 2000s DC.

Another famous villain had her first movie appearance in 2017’s ‘Thor; Ragnarok.’ It was Hela, the Goddess of Death. Although portrayed as Thor’s sister when she’s actually his niece. She has power even Thor doesn’t contain. She showed a whole new power of women in Marvel’s films because she is the first who doesn’t just conin only advanced intelligence, but power from her DNA because of the fact she’s a goddess. Her suit and other materials enhance her looks, but as shown in the movie she doesn’t need them to be all-powered.

The question is; what comes next after Captain Marvel? Surely there will be more females in power as heroes or villains. It’s basically confirmed there’s going to be a Black Widow solo movie, but my issue with that is the fact Black Widow’s origin is supposed to be a secret. I feel an origin movie will defeat that purpose. For me, I would love to see Spider-Woman have her own solo origin movie too. Her origin is one of the most unique and empowering. Mrs. Whitman, our very own heroine of American studies, also agrees there should be more, “I think there definitely needs to be more of a variety of heroes and they need to be smart, have willpower and be strong both mentally and physically…. And maybe have more clothes. I grew up with Heman and Shera and didn’t realize how little clothes she was wearing. But they definitely need to be included more” Sr. Jackie Willey loves the fact girls are being included in films, expressing, “I love it, obviously! I think it’s so important to see them. Heroes used to be all guys and I love seeing more girls as heroes!”

I think it is clear we all hope to see more girls with powers and strength. It will be exciting to see Captain Marvel lead us to a new era of Marvel superheroes. Here at Mechanicsburg, we should see all of our women in the staff as our own super heroines.

Aquaman – December 14th, 2018
Dark Phoenix – February 14th, 2019 (can be changed)
Captain Marvel – March 8th, 2019
Avengers 4 (title TBA) – May 3rd, 2019
WW84 – November 1st, 2019