Any Marvel fan knows that Captain Marvel is one of the universe’s most powerful superheroes. But how did Captain Marvel get her powers? Well, like every movie in the Marvel cinematic universe, the character’s origin story is drawn, more or less, from its comics. Warning: There are spoilers, so for those who haven’t seen Captain Marvel, click out now.
Marvel’s recent Captain Marvel movie stars Brie Larson as its titular hero, who discovers some facts about herself that were erased by the Starforce, a supervillain team who pretended to be her ally. One such fact was that she was actually human and born as Carol Danvers. (The Starforce made her believe that she was Kree, an alien species, and that her name was Vers.) But how is this related to her powers? Well, in the ’90s, Carol worked as a pilot for a scientist named Dr. Wendy Lawson. (Lawson, unbeknownst to Carol, was actually a Kree scientist working on a light-speed aircraft (named Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.) powered by a mysterious item. That item? The Tesseract, which holds the Space Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones that allow the user to create a portral that allows them to travel anywhere in the universe.)
Still following? Well, one day, Carol and Lawson test the aircraft, rocketing them to space. The success was short-lived, however, when the aircraft was shot down by alien ship. Lawson is injured and bleeds blue blood, which is when she reveals to Carol that she’s an alien. Lawson then tells Carol that she needs to shoot the engine of the aircraft (which houses the Tesseract) to destroy it, but before she can do so, Lawson is shot and killed by an alien named Yonn-Rogg. Before Yonn-Rogg can kill Carol too, Carol shoots the engine for Lawson. There’s a big explosion and Carol is imbued with amazing powers, including flight, super-strength and energy blasts.
The moment is pretty similar to the comics. The only difference is that Carol works with a scientist named Dr. Walter Lawson, who is a man. Like the movie Lawson, the comics Lawson is also Kree. What’s not explained in the movie is that Lawson is the first Captain Marvel and that Carol receives her powers after she’s caught in the explosion of a Kree device and Lawson saves her life.
But of course, though amazing, Captain Marvel’s powers aren’t the reason the movie has become such a box office success. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Captain Marvel had the highest-grossing weekend for a female-fronted film ever. The movie, which opened on International Women’s Day, earned $455 million worldwide and $153 million in North America alone. The film beat 2017’s Beauty an the Beast (the last record holder), which earned $357 million in its opening weekend, and 2017’s Wonder Woman, another female-fronted superhero movie, which grossed $103 million.
“Marvel Studios once again proves that stories combining diverse perspectives and different experiences make great movies that play to everybody. People crave representation,” Disney distribution chief Cathleen Taff told The Hollywood Reporter.
Hopefully, Captain Marvel will teach Hollywood a thing or two about the power of women on and off screen.