Women's corner

What does Captain Marvel teach us about women

Marvel Studios has been making movies with male superheroes. Now, however, they have made the first female lead superhero movie, Captain Marvel. Set in 1995, the story follows Carol Danvers aka Vers, a starforce member of the Kree.

Vers has nightmares in which she sees an older woman whom she doesn’t recognise. Her mentor and commander Yon-Rogg trains and taunts her to control her emotions. She is even sent to meet Supreme Intelligence, an organic artificial being ruling the Kree, who also stresses the same point.

The starforce members are sent on a mission to rescue an undercover Kree from the Skrulls, a race of shape shifting beings. During the battle Vers is taken as hostage by the Skrull commander, Talos.  She is subjected to a memory probe where she sees herself as a child and an adult. Her memories are stored in a crystal which she recovers after fighting the Skrulls.

After entering a pod to escape, she crash lands in Los Angeles where her presence brings the attention of SHIELD agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson. As Fury gets to know her more, he helps her in uncovering her identity despite being pursued by Talos. Vers finds out that her name is Carol Danvers, a US Airforce pilot who was presumed dead in 1989. She recognised the woman in her nightmares as Dr Wendy Lawson and also finds out about her friend, Maria Rambeau. Fury stumbles upon Lawson’s cat, Goose with whom he develops friendship.

As Danvers and Fury go to meet Rambeau, Talos also follows them. He reveals to them that the Skrulls are refugees trying to find a new home and were being helped by Lawson but were always in battle with the Kree. Danvers then remembered the day when she flew in a plane with Lawson which was shot down. Yon-Rogg appeared there and killed Lawson, who had already told Danvers to destroy the engine’s energy core and that her real name was Mar-Vell. While destroying it, Danvers absorbed the energy at the cost of losing her memory.

She was taken by Yon-Rogg to the Kree planet and brainwashed to fight alongside them. After regaining her memory, she, Talos, Fury, Rambeau along with Goose travel into space to locate Lawson’s cloaked lab ship orbiting Earth, where many other Skrulls were in hiding. Talos is reunited with his family while Danvers finds the tesseract, the source of the energy core.

They are attacked by the Kree who takes them hostage. Danvers is brought before Supreme Intelligence who mocks her. As she converses with the evil being, her rage against the injustice done to her and the Skrulls causes destruction of the virtual place. She then removes a power damping chip gaining access to all her powers, thus defeating the Kree. Goose is revealed to be a Flerken, an alien which has a pocket dimension inside her body and swallows the tesseract.

A Kree official, Ronan the Accuser sends missiles to Earth which are destroyed by Danvers who then confronts the Kree ships in space. Ronan decides to retreat and leaves. After coming back to Earth she meets Yon-Rogg and sends him back to Supreme Intelligence with a warning.

Danvers gives Fury a modified pager which he can use to contact her if needed. She then leaves Earth with the Skrulls to find them a new home.

Generally women are expected to be docile and submissive. As shown in the story, Danvers was told to control her anger. Why? Because in reality, the Kree were afraid of her. They knew the power she possessed. That was why they put a power damping chip and took advantage of her memory loss to subdue her.

Even in ordinary society, women are expected to be “well behaved”. Women are accused of being emotional and weak. But what people especially men don’t understand, is that a woman’s emotions especially anger gives more power than anything else. The saying hell hath no fury like a woman scorned is an apt description of woman’s anger.    

Danvers’s flashbacks of her childhood and during her training show her being taunted by men about being weak and not able to achieve what she wants to. Yon-Rogg had also said to her “You have come a long way but you are not as strong as you think”. But every time she doesn’t give up and stands up stronger than before. She is revealed to be so powerful that she could even destroy all the Kree who came to attack Earth single handed.

Even in history, women’s anger has led to revolution such as Gabriela Silang who led Philippines to independence. Also, the student activist Shibby De Guzman who protested against The Drug War.

Although Captain Marvel is a prequel to the next Avengers instalment, it shows how anger can fuel a superhero’s powers. As in after Danvers defeats her former Kree members, Fury says “You know you are glowing right?” No other superhero has been shown to have such unique abilities.

It is left to see Captain Marvel’s part in the next Avengers movie. Since Fury is her friend, will his disintegration fuel her anger enough to defeat Thanos? It will be more exciting to see her back in action.       

Garima Nabh is the founder of New Age Magazine.

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