Latest Marvel Film Echoes Wisdom of King Solomon and the Apostle Paul
New Captain Marvel film highlights the value of self-control amidst a heroic origin story.
Editor’s note: This movie review contains spoilers.
Marvel Studios recently released Captain Marvel, the latest Marvel Studios film. An origin story, it tells the tale of U.S. Air Force pilot Carol Danvers becoming an intergalactic hero. Captain Marvel also features younger versions of familiar characters Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).
In a galaxy far off, Carol dreams of a life she forgot. She knows only training and conflict. She is an elite member of the Kree Empire. Trained by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), she fights alongside him and his StarForce team for the glory of all Kree.
Summoned by the artificial Supreme Intelligence, Carol encounters a forgotten past. Like C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, those who meet the Kree leader see someone different. Just as an encounter in Lewis’s tale involves the winged steed of Greek myth, so too does Carol’s meeting connect to Pegasus.
The Supreme Intelligence sends the StarForce to rescue a spy on Planet Torfa. The mission goes awry and Carol is captured by Skrulls. Through Carol’s memories, the green-skinned shapeshifters learn of her forgotten past on Earth.
Thus, war came to Earth in 1995. Carol’s arrival gets the attention of the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D). She partners with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Fury and Coulson to stop the Skrulls.
Higher, Further, Faster, More
Along the way, Carol learns to embrace her heroic power and purpose. She accepts the reality of a close friend being a wolf in sheep’s clothing and the blurring of lines between friend and foe. She overcomes the control of the Supreme Intelligence and embraces a renewed mind via character borne of persevering through suffering.
Therefore, she flies higher. She goes farther, faster. Her transformation allows her to be something more: a hero.
Ancient Wisdom and a Marvelous Captain
Carol’s character arc in Captain Marvel reflects wisdom from Solomon and Paul. In Proverbs 16:32 Solomon writes “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit better than one who takes [conquers] a city.” Carol learns control, of both her powers and herself.
In Romans 8:37, Paul writes “we are more than conquers through Him [Christ] who loved us.” In Galatians 5:24, he lists “self-control” as the final fruit of The Holy Spirit. It is through self-control that we are able to resist the draw of physical power, control that comes only by the work of the Spirit in our lives whom Christ imparts to those who believe.
A Burden Lifted
In a crucial scene, Carol resolutely informs an antagonist: “I have nothing to prove to you.” Her life-long burden vanishes. She accepts her purpose and place. Her character echoes across the Marvel Cinematic Universe by inspiring an initiative Agent Fury will later propose to Tony Stark in Iron Man.
As Carol accepted her mantle of Captain, so we should accept the mantle passed to us. An identity of “more than conquerors” through Christ, who loved us enough to embrace the cross. As a new era of Marvel heroes dawns this Lenten season, remember the heroism of Jesus and the burden of our sin He lifted and placed upon Himself.
It is through Christ that we can embody Captain Marvel’s motto: higher, further, faster, more.