Why Captain Marvel Is An Inspiration To Lead The Good Life
If you haven’t watched the Captain Marvel movie yet, you should. I personally didn’t think I would find much depth in a Marvel franchise, but for once I found it inspirational and applicable to daily life. Let me explain.
The movie starts by introducing the Kree super-soldier Vers. We get the idea that she is different from the rest, because she can shoot golden bolts from her hand. The main problem is that she doesn’t remember her past, and has recurrent nightmares about it. That causes her to be cranky sometimes and to shoot her golden bolts when she is losing in sparring training.
Her superior Yon-Rogg’s reaction to getting knocked down by her golden bolts (he usually defeats her in hand-to-hand combat otherwise) is to lecture her and tell her to “control your emotions“. She is supposed to “fight with your head, not your heart“. He also threatens her that “what is given can be taken away“. At that time, it doesn’t strike one as being especially malicious. It seems like just a typical boss lecturing his subordinate.
And then, things get interesting. Vers goes on a mission, and going against certain Kree orders, eventually recovers her memories. Long story short, her name is actually Carol Danvers. She had been inadvertently exposed to cosmic energy, giving her superpowers (which also meant it wasn’t her boss who gave her the superpower). More importantly, the Kree and her boss Yon-Rogg were revealed to be the bad guys.
Carol Danvers, on learning about her past, learns to harness her energy, and gathers the courage to defy orders and defeat everyone. Eventually, she finds herself in a one-on-one situation with Yon-Rogg, just like it was at sparring training.
Yon-Rogg takes a fighting stance, and says that she has to defeat him without using her superpowers to prove that she has mastered her emotions.
I almost expected Carol to really fight him without superpowers and kick his ass. To my pleasant surprise, in my favourite moment of the film, Carol tells Yon-Rogg “I have nothing to prove to you”, and just blasts him away with a golden bolt. She has a strength that he cannot even understand in his narrow mind. Indeed, she didn’t have to fight him in the way he wanted. I didn’t even realise it at the time.
The truth is that people like to judge others according to their own narrow standards. We have all been victims of that at one time or other. If you listen closely, everyone is judging.
When you don’t perform at work, your boss may be telling you, “You’re so stupid you can’t even do X”. At home, your parent may say “You’re such a bad daughter because you don’t do things the way I do”. Even if you succeed, your relatives may gossip and say “Oh she’s so successful but too bad she’s still single”. There is no way to please everyone.
Worse, we also judge ourselves by our own narrow standards. We can feel like failures because we are not as good-looking as someone else, or have worse grades. It doesn’t even take comparison. We can judge ourselves as lazy, stupid, ugly, or just not not good enough, using our own standards.
The fact is that the good life begins when you start to realise you have nothing to prove to anyone, including yourself. You just are. It doesn’t mean that you stay the same person forever. It just means that you react to reality instead of bothering too much about what other people think. For example, if your boss is criticising you for a stupid reason, you don’t take it personally, but focus on possible solutions (such as retorting in a way to shut him up, or changing to a job where you’re appreciated).
In the show, Carol Danvers goes on a journey where she starts to make her own choices, however hard or stupid they were. She disobeys her orders, in order to find the truth about her past and to protect the weak. Figuring out her own past gives her the strength to see that she did not have to be bound by the views of others. She finds herself and what she is gifted at, and heads towards her destiny of being Captain Marvel.
We must all undertake a similar journey, and the Captain Marvel show has been a good inspiration.