SPOILERS AHEAD FOR CAPTAIN MARVEL, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
All right. This was a significant picture for me, because in the entire MCU thus far, this is the character I was least familiar with. I knew Ms. Marvel, how she lost her powers to Rogue in the pages of X-Men and then became Binary, and I was vaguely aware that Kelly Sue DeConnick had transformed her into Marvel’s leading heroine in the last 10 years, but I assumed that the origin story would need to be cleaned up and simplified a LOT for the MCU, which meant that I was experiencing a truly new lead character for the first time since, well, Phil Coulson.
I was also lined up for a 1995 period piece. And that stuck kind of close to home. I also made a decision in 1989 that wound up putting me on the shelf for longer than I wanted, and the spring of 1995 was the first time I thought to myself that “someone who doesn’t have to prove anything” would be my life’s aspiration. You can imagine what line really stung, I suppose, if you’ve seen the movie. That era was a real nodal point, too: the 1.0 version of Netscape Navigator released, the opening of the Internet to anyone who could get access to a computer and a phone (and a credit card, I suppose), a real sense that the world was opening up into something new and exciting and unexpected.
I remember what that was like. I also remember getting the first letter about my academic status at Vanderbilt that summer and being bewildered at how I suddenly found myself on the precipice, something completely unprecedented in my entire academic career. Of which, as I say. But for now, it was the inverse of Capt. Danvers’ experience: I was being confronted with the fact that I was not as powerful as I had been led to believe. And I had to reckon with who I am and what I was, after a lifetime of being steered toward the small pond and told not to think too highly of myself.
Also, it turns out that she has the exact power set I would have imagined for myself back then. Flying. Indestructable. Strong enough to throw a ballistic missile aside, and spewing pure rage out of the hands sufficient to punch a hole in a planet. Yeah. Me at 23 would have clicked with that in a heartbeat. These days, it’s more about teleportation and just being able to wish yourself somewhere better.
But I do love the distinction drawn between the MCU’s two O-3s: Captain America always gets up, because that’s what a hero does and that’s what he has to do to ensure that things turn out OK. Captain Marvel always gets up, because fuck you that’s why.
I was programmed to be Steve. I’d a hell of a lot rather have been Carol.