Oh Captain, my Captain! Why the Captain Marvel Trailer Matters
Last week, Carol Danvers landed in the middle of a Blockbuster Video store, and right in the middle of our hearts.
Anyone who has heard of comic books has heard of Captain Marvel, in all iterations (DC, we’re looking at you, too) – but one of my enduring loves in any canon is Carol Susan Jane Danvers, and I’m gonna tell you why, and why that minute and a half teaser trailer spells something special…
Let’s start off with some facts. Captain Marvel is due for release in the USA on March 8th 2019, a day otherwise known as International Women’s Day; already a win in my book. The movie will be the 21st in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and out of these prior 20 movies Captain Marvel will be the first to give us a one-woman titular role. We say “one-woman titular role” because I would never dream of erasing the utterly incomparable Hope Van Dyne as The Wasp in Ant Man and The Wasp – the first woman in a titular within the MCU, like, at all. Don’t get me wrong, we have some of the fiercest women in the galaxy in these films, but none of them get their name on a billboard to be solely celebrated as more than a supporting role. Now, we have this:
Hang this in a gallery, please.
Here she is, going higher, further, and faster than all of her predecessors, the most powerful entity in the MCU. Just Carol Danvers (and Chewie, we see you in the corner, buddy!). Just one woman. It has been speculated by fans and essentially confirmed by the Russo brothers that Captain Marvel is going to be the face of a new phase of MCU movies, what with Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans reaching the end of their contracts with the company. What better way to introduce her? If that doesn’t get you some kind of emotional, it gets even better…
Who IS Carol Danvers?
Awesome, right? As we can see in the trailer, Carol is having a little trouble placing herself within her own timeline. She tells a two-eyed Nick Fury that she is having flashes of what appears to be a former life of hers on Earth, memories that dance between a lost reality and fiction. This right here is one of Carol Danvers’ enduring struggles throughout her time as Ms Marvel and Captain Marvel, one that continually grounds and humanises her, and one that makes us love her that little bit more. After her accident with a broken Kree Psyche-Magnitron while working for NASA, Carol’s DNA was fused with Kree genetics, essentially altering her at a cellular level. Thus making her superhuman. Aside from the obvious, (y’know, super-strength and flight) one of the important side-effects of the accident is the fact that this machine can turn imagination into reality. Blurring all the lines between Carol’s former life as a US Air Force Pilot and her time fighting alongside the Kree Starforce.
This, rather unsurprisingly, turns out to be slightly problematic for our hero, thrusting her into a world of unfamiliarity, leaving her unsure of who or what is real to her… and occasionally causing her to black out and transform into an elite Kree super-soldier.
This constant battle between human and superhuman may not exactly be relatable (unless you too have had some mishaps with intergalactic weapons of mass destruction, in which case you should probably stop reading this and seek help). But it does present us with an inherently flawed hero – and oh boy, we all love a flawed hero.
Coming from a troubled home with an abusive father and filled with the need to be seen as an equal to her two brothers, Carol didn’t have it easy growing up. I think it’s safe to say that we can expect the upcoming movie to cover Carol’s childhood thanks to one of my favourite parts of the trailer.
We see a cut of Carol repeatedly falling down – be it on the beach as a girl, whilst playing baseball, or in her army and NASA training. As she talks of her memories of a lost life, we see her muster her courage and stand straight back up again. Through all of her uncertainty Carol Danvers has an unwavering ability to keep going. Her life has been tumultuous to say the least, with a stratospheric career climb to an unceremonious crash after her accident; yet she persists. She clenches her fist, gets up, and keeps going.
Times they are changing
Although it’s only a trailer, we see her become a hero – literally. I’ll level with you, that transition brought a tear to my eye.
That’s it, we are seeing it – we are seeing our girl Carol Danvers from Massachusetts become Captain Marvel, but beyond that we can feel the collective energy of every woman and girl across the globe clenching their fists and wanting to get back up and keep going. If she can, we can. Our eyes might not glow, we might not punch old ladies on public transport (don’t worry, I’m 92% sure she’s a Skrull…), and we might not be able to fly, but this trailer allowed people everywhere to tap into that little bit of cosmic energy we all share with Captain Marvel.
Overall, this trailer is a real love letter to this MCU iteration of Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel. Sure, we might be veering away from Carol’s comic books origin story more than usual, but her temerity, her strength, and her humanity are the stars of this minute and a half (sorry, Phil Coulson, we do still love you though). As always, Nick Fury was right; we do need her.