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L to R: Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). Photo: Chuck Zlotnick ©Marvel Studios 2019

‘Captain Marvel’ — A Glimpse of Who We Could Be

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For some reason, I walked into the advance press screening for “Captain Marvel” this week with pretty low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t half bad.

A reason why I wasn’t too excited to watch the movie was that, when I looked at the trailer, I only saw one person of color. Coming after a movie like “Black Panther,” which was empowering in the way it showed a diversity of different cultures, “Captain Marvel” didn’t seem like a step forward. From the trailer, the movie felt like it would re-center whiteness in the Marvel Universe. I wasn’t intrigued by that. I thought, “It would be more interesting if Captain Marvel were a woman of color — maybe Latinx, Asian, or indigenous —all people who remain unrepresented or underrepresented in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Once I got into the movie, I was happy to see there was more than one black person in the film. Plus, I was excited to see that all the black characters made it to the end, which usually isn’t the case in a lot of movies. Seeing characters of color, specifically black characters, only put into movies to benefit the white characters, to be silenced, or to be killed off is damaging because that becomes all you expect to see in stories. Does it then become all we expect to see in life?

The struggle for consciousness is a major theme in the storyline of Captain Marvel. Vers, the protagonist, who believes herself to be Kree, has to come to the realization that her people are harming others. She has a hard time believing it. She’s been taught that her people are the ones being attacked. That’s very much like people of European descent having to comprehend their colonizing impact on people of color around the world. So, while representation remains important, Vers being played by a white woman may be most appropriate.
What’s great is that, once she does open her eyes to how her power has been previously misused, Vers takes control of her powers to use them for good.
Although there are bits and pieces of the movie that may not make sense if you’re not a big MCU fan, “Captain Marvel” is worth seeing because our society needs more examples of what it means to finally make amends for the harm we’ve done.

Jaya Bray, 16, is a homeschooler who enjoys movie thrillers, practicing the guitar, and playing The Sims 4.

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