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Captain Marvel Analysis: Are Skrulls Taking Your Jobs?

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Disclaimer: This article in its analysis of the movie contains spoilers of the plot, so if you plan on seeing it, perhaps wait to read this article until afterward.

This year’s smash hit of “Captain Marvel” is not only breaking records, passing fan favorite “Spiderman: Homecoming” in sales, but also stereotypes, as its main protagonist, Carol Danvers, is a woman.

Photo taken from Marvel Studios website
Brie Larson portrays the true hero of the movie, Carol Danvers. She starts the story as part of the Kree Starforce but later takes the opposing side of the skrulls.

A female hero lead role is a first for the organization Marvel Studios, and with how well it is doing, more female-centric movies are sure to roll out soon —  a well overdue turn. This change matches in well with the views of the late creator of the organization, Stan Lee: a man who called for social justice and equality within his comics and often embedded political themes in movies.

“I always tried to write stuff that would be for everybody. I never wanted to proselytize,” Lee said in an interview with The Times of Israel. Lee also gave, then character Sergeant— not Colonel— Fury “A full international platoon of all religions and people said, ‘oh, you can’t do that, Stan, the book won’t sell down south, or up north, or here or there.’ And it was one of the best selling books, which shows there’s something good about the public.”

Lee’s call for equality and representation extends into this newest blockbuster”

Lee’s call for equality and representation extends into this newest blockbuster as well and not just in women’s representation. In the film, the Kree Starforce is originally established as our hero, saving the world from the invasion of the Skrull race, shapeshifters who infiltrate planets and take them over.

However, as the story progresses, we learn that not only are the Kree not the benevolent savers of their world as we have come to know, but slaughter the Skrulls who are simply running from persecution and looking for a new home. We see scenes of the Skrulls playing pinball and chatting with friends and family. They aren’t infesting planets for the sake of harming the Kree, they are trying to flee the terrors that plagued where they came from, a story that resonates with many in our current world.

Photo taken from Marvel Studios website
Ben Mendelsohn portrays the leader of the homeless Skrulls in the film. His character first appears menacing but is revealed to be a loving father.

If you’re missing the connection, the Skrulls are immigrants. Captain Marvel isn’t only a partial triumph for women’s representation as hero and leader but is also a call to end the demonizing rhetoric and alienation of immigrants by American right-wing media.

Our true hero Carol Danvers is representative of the American population, even saying at one point in the film that she and the U.S. Air Force are a team and taking on the colors of the organization: red, blue and gold. Danvers realizes that she has been lied to and swayed by the rhetoric of the Kree Starforce, the intergalactic army and police of the Kree “Empire,” and A.I. Leader of the Kree, The Supreme Intelligence. This same militaristic rhetoric can be seen in descriptions of the migrant caravan that approached the U.S.-Mexican border just this past year.

Our president called them “animals” and “terrorists.” He said that them coming was an “invasion” and was putting our way of life under siege. The antagonist Kree population says the exact same things about the Skrulls. Who we then learn are fleeing unjust persecution after the destruction of their home by the very people who are calling them ‘invaders.’

This parallel, despite what many don’t know, remains true for U.S. intervention in Latin America. Ever since Theodore Roosevelt claimed the United States as the “international police” in 1904; U.S.-backed coups, one-side-dependent agreements, and resource-sapping have played instrumental roles in the creation of the negatives that many are fleeing. The U.S. has backed six military coups and support six harsh dictatorships in Latin America. While not nearly as bad as blasting a planet out of the sky, the connection is clear as day.

Photo taken from the New York Post
Migrants travel thousands of miles to flee persecution in their home nations. Many of the issues they face snowballed from US intervention in the mid-to-late 1900s.

The central conceit of the show is a clearly drawn correlation between the Skrulls and immigrants to the U.S. Marvel Studios and Stan Lee are asking us to look past the rhetoric that is broadcast to us, that is being forced (quite literally in the case for Danvers) upon us, and see the true character of a people. Not as a collective, but as individuals with specific reasonings and needs.

Lee shows us and pleads for a vision of not only the U.S. but the earth as a whole, as a place for all people to be treated equally and with respect. And this world is one we should be striving towards.

Of course, we will never be able to fly around quite like Ms. Danvers, but soaring above the rhetoric and politics on this issue is exactly what needs to be done. Focusing less on the politics of the matter and putting the stories on display of each person heading to this ‘shining city on the hill,’ will help bring us, as a nation, to a better approach to deal with the immigration issue.

It will show ways to balance helping others and protecting our own in a humane way, not just locking them away, or separating families as a ‘deterrent’ to others in a land where people of all kinds and creeds are supposed to be welcome.

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18 Comments

18 Responses to “Captain Marvel Analysis: Are Skrulls Taking Your Jobs?”

  1. Taylor Riley on April 8th, 2019 9:23 am

    I think you are quite possibly my favorite person ever, thanks for articulating this is such a beautiful way!!!

  2. Zach Stansell on April 8th, 2019 9:53 am

    Someone’s been watching too much CNN.
    I think this is the perfect excuse to have a political debate. Not right vs left, not liberal vs conservative. Just a debate.
    Trump never called immigrants animals. Never terrorists. Maybe illegal immigrants were called such things. I’m not saying he’s right but there is a night and day difference between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants. Am I wrong?

  3. Christian Rocha on April 8th, 2019 10:02 am

    I believe the more that we start pointing out that certain movies have a lead female roll and that this movie is actually about racism and stuff like that the more people are going to get annoyed. I just want to watch a movie and not aknolwedge that this movie is different and not just a normal movie. You shouldn’t praise a movie because the main role is a female or black. You should praise a movie because its good.

  4. Sebastian on April 8th, 2019 10:46 am

    I would like to comment in response to Christian Rocha that every piece of media, every piece of art is a depiction of our society. Whether you know it or not, every television show you’ve ever watched and every book you’ve ever read reflects something that is currently happening, has happened, or is predicted to happen. Analysing a movie involves more than saying whether its colorful enough or its one-liners are snappy.

  5. Elisey Ovchinnikov on April 8th, 2019 11:17 am

    I just don’t see how you’re making such far fetched connections from this movie. The movie is based off of comics that were created in the 60s and the movie itself was filmed before the Caravan’s journey even began.

  6. Zach Stansell on April 8th, 2019 1:24 pm

    Also the Skrulls are a terrorist species.
    Just saying.

  7. Darius Rahmanian on April 8th, 2019 3:47 pm

    Riley, you are a smart young man and you have the greatest intentions in writing this, however, the connections just aren’t there. On the topmost layer of fundamental connection, you are comparing the Skrulls and the Kree, fictional ALIEN space empires who are antagonistic forces within the Marvel Universe to a caravan full of economic migrants. Not only that the Kree and the Skulls are actual ALIENS compared to the term used for illegal immigrants, and have abilities far beyond that of the human race so they are an actual world-ending threat compared to just a social and economic one. There has to be some sort of plot twist to make people go “OWO” but this is so painfully obvious in the movie its actually awful.

    All you are doing is stating generic historical time periods and relating such a vague summary of the actions of the United States to a Beginning Middle Twist End plot structure of a frickin Marvel Movie. Your analysis lacks historical nuance and is the classic Democrat depiction of a Cold War America that is pitted in an internal struggle against itself and Communism. There is so much to understand about that time period and the actions of the Presidents as nuclear war hung over the world. Anyone can create a vague summary of any nation and relate it to literally anything as long as the main “plot points” meet up.For heavens sake you could say the same thing about Rome, “hates barbarians, turns out not all barbarians bad, barbarians help defeat Attila da real bad dood”.Your comparison lacks evidence and that whole part about “Muh Evil America” is nothing compared to what the Soviet Union and Chinese Communist Party enacted killing over 100 million people combined, so it lacks any sort of historical impact. Yes, the United States has done bad things, but then again we have done so much more good for the world than bad. Give up the whole shtick about constantly bringing up South American dictatorships and treating those nations like trash, you seem to forget the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    Second, you seem to think Marvel actually cares enough to make a narrative through a filler movie. This movie is made for profit and toys, not some grandiose statement about the American condition and how evil we Americans are. People are going to see Captain Marvel for the end credit scene, not some hocus pocus baloney about women or funny green and blue men. Black Panther was an interesting movie because of its Neo-African world design which is never really seen in movies or media which among the mediocrity of its film made it stand out a little. CM has none of this, it’s boring, it’s generic, and it’s for Marvel fans to get another layer of shallow depth to the already fleshed out universe. Do people forget that these are superhero movies made to help people escape from political nonsense like “Orange Man Bad”?

    On the topic of the entire character of Carol Danvers, she’s an awful person in the comics and movie. She is selfish and beat Iron Man into a coma in Civil War II because he believed people should have due process and not base their crimes before they even happened. She kills Bruce Banner and gets War Machine killed for reasons that could be prevented. Shes rewarded for all of this as well which is the worst part. Her comics sell poorly and they have rebooted her four to five times depending on how you count it. Classic Mar-Vell and Ms.Marvel were great characters that added depth to the X-Men and Avengers respectively, however, the caricature that is this movie and your article seems to reinforce the idea that people who do not read comic books are really just pulling at strings to destroy everything these heroes originally stood for. With great power comes great responsibility, and Carol Danvers is a poor showing.

    Go read the comics and stop making political articles about things that are painfully not political. You can do better.

  8. Riley Hull on April 9th, 2019 9:25 am

    Taylor: Thank you so much.

    Zach Stansell: I love how open you are to political discourse. Not an argument, but a conversation about what is going on in our world. It’s a position I truly admire. In regards to your comments on the president not calling immigrants “animals” and “terrorists,” I have linked the stories to which those quotes are referring to. If you would like to look at them, I would highly encourage it. I would also like to point out that a majority of immigrants approaching from the south are working to enter the country legally. I also agree with you that there is a difference between legal entry and illegal entry, maybe not as distinct as you make it seem, but still present. Thanks for reading the article!

    Christian Rocha: Don’t get me wrong, I love a good movie as the next guy, but I also love the analysis. If that’s not your cup of tea, I completely understand. Thanks for reading the article!

    Zach Part 2: I’d love to talk to you more about this because I am a little confused as to what you mean. Please send me a loopmail or email, I’d love to chat.

  9. Max Wiggins on April 9th, 2019 10:38 am

    cnn fake news

  10. Max Wiggins on April 9th, 2019 10:39 am

    orange man bad 🙁 🙁 🙁

  11. Gabe Serafin on April 9th, 2019 11:41 am

    D.C. movies are better than this movie. Brie Larson, the actress that portrays Carol Danvers, has displayed sexist and racist trends following the release of this movie, which makes me question the integrity of the role of Carol Danvers. In addition to being a questionable choice for the role in Captain Marvel, her role of empowerment of women is almost vapid, considering she is comparatively uneducated to the other main roles in Marvel movies and has little experience beyond acting. I find it hard to acknowledge someone who has blatantly disregarded certain groups of peoples’ opinions as the main character of a movie preceding the long-awaited Avengers: Endgame. So saying that this movie and the casting of a woman as the protagonist is the not only a huge milestone in Marvel’s – and even the industry’s – progress of cinematography, but also a holy grail of women’s empowerment, AND then giving it political stigma and loose connections, is sort of ridiculous. However, I do support casting women in main roles in efforts to empower women as a whole, and do believe that there is significant value in giving light to the fact of it, if they represent something greater, can respect pushback and critical opinions, and can properly elaborate upon the concept.

  12. Sebastian on April 9th, 2019 3:11 pm

    I would like to comment to Darius about the newest iteration of Captain Marvel, the one in this movie. He talks about keeping politics out of a comic book movie, but as I said previously, no form of media exists in a bubble. I scanned CM’s origin story using the Polygon article about the 2012 edition, and it is very transparent that CM was reimagined to, at least, remember the late 20th century feminist movie, and at most, empower the movement as it stands today. You could argue that the 2012 edition is politicizing CM’s story- it is very transparent that is the case- but attacking the writer of this article will not change the fact that politics and internal bias has a hand in the creation of any form of media.

  13. Darius Rahmanian on April 9th, 2019 5:31 pm

    Seb speaks the truth

  14. Darius Rahmanian on April 9th, 2019 5:46 pm

    Also Seb, I understand that comic books have always been political to some extent whether large or small, however when its an obvious market ploy and not a genuine embracement of the movement that when it’s so painfully obvious as to why the movie was made. Captain American Civil War is interesting because it implements superheroes into a modern-day political world where their great powers do have responsibility. The way it was implemented and the way it introduced so many concepts and facets to the dynamic between superheroes and the world is not only a love letter to the source material but an interesting case study in making a superhero movie that is more than just something to sell toys. In the ’70s and ’80s all of the modern female heroes were received with a little shock at first but their implementation was so well written that they continually added to the true diversity in opinions on the Avengers and X Men. It is determining the intent and the dimension for which characters are implemented within a story that has significant change, and like how literally everyone else is saying, not their gender. Every product is out there to turn a profit, however, what makes classic Marvel so good is that not only is it a quality comic book it tells human stories using more than human characters. Marvel movies make money because they relieve stress in an already too political world, and sometimes the movies are dang good that they become landmarks themselves in modern pop culture( a la. Infinity War) Modern Marvel comics sell poorly, because not only are they overpriced, they are actual garbage in terms of writing and story, and for the last five years been killing off and replacing beloved characters because “muh diversity” instead of actual plot points.

  15. Sebastian on April 10th, 2019 9:58 am

    To Darius, I agree that the implementation of new Marvel characters can be jarring. I admit I’m not the biggest fan of superhero movies, but I think the culture today is less accepting of good storytelling and writing than in the past. As for what reason, I have no idea.

    To Gabe, I definitely see the case for Brie Larson not being a model feminist. I have seen her speech, the one where she answers the question of “Who is this movie for?” with “Not white men!” And for all the articles posted about how Brie Larson forced costume designers to make her superhero outfit less sexualizing, she is wearing a heavy amount of makeup in the Endgame trailers. I don’t think she is irredeemable, but she has a lot of work to do if she wants a possibility to become the hero she plays.

  16. Max Wiggins on April 10th, 2019 10:53 am

    we live in a society

  17. Max Wiggins on April 10th, 2019 1:27 pm

    ninjago they had aliens i think

  18. Duke on April 11th, 2019 12:59 pm

    bad alien punching time

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Captain Marvel Analysis: Are Skrulls Taking Your Jobs?