In Praise of Captain Marvel: The MCU’s Most Powerful Hero


Captain Marvel isn’t just a powerful female role model. If you listen to Marvel Studios themselves, she’s their most powerful creation ever. Quite a boast from the comic book publishing titan, and one well worth looking into.


As part of a long history of super-powered, evil-smashing characters, what makes Carol Danvers so special? She’s groundbreaking for sure. Her popularity resulted in the MCU’s first female-led entry… it only took 11 years to reach the screen! I’m not dissing that achievement. I just want to know if she deserves pride of place in the Marvel Hall of Fame.

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One thing’s for certain, you don’t mess with Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers was pretty formidable, to begin with. A gifted pilot, she wouldn’t have been in a position to absorb Kree energy in the first place if she wasn’t brilliant in the air. Making her comics debut in 1968, she’s been known over the years by several names. One of the most notable was Binary. In this form, she could harness the power of white holes… no small beer. However, in the suited and booted, the Mohican-sporting form of Captain Marvel, Danvers arguably embodies the true legacy of Mar-Vell.



Energy is one thing she can wield with the best of them. Danvers is a super-human lightning rod when it comes to absorbing energy and blasting it out, as many opponents have learned to their cost. This versatile talent can make her a walking nuclear reactor, as well as a down ‘n dirty street fighter. The movie’s heavily-publicized train sequence saw Brie Larson’s Danvers shoot photon energy from her fists at a pesky, pensioner-imitating Skrull.


Skillfully avoiding a commuter bloodbath, she demonstrates the old adage that “with great power comes great responsibility” (whoever said that). Having awesome abilities, but also knowing how to use them is the stuff true champions are made of. Whereas Thor and Hulk bring the brawn, Captain Marvel brings the brains. Her sense of leadership can’t be underestimated, especially when combined with her epic powers.


She can fly at incredible speeds. Well, can’t they all? (Flippancy alert.) Yet this is a heroine who was accustomed to flight before being able to do it without a plane. Going from a cockpit to being your very own vehicle surely gave Danvers an in-depth skillset other don’t have. Plus it came in extremely handy during Endgame when she pulled pivotal characters Iron Man and Nebula from deep space. This is one frequent flyer, who can punch a hole in our atmosphere and reach deep space in record time.



She also possesses an impressive array of powers that read like a superhero shopping list. Endless endurance and precognitive talents being just two of these. Physically and mentally she’s finely-tuned and ready to rumble. Crucially with Danvers, there’s the idea she is infused with a mysterious alien influence. The true extent of her abilities is perhaps yet to be revealed.  


This is also where the rank of the most powerful hero comes a little unstuck. Captain Marvel is a shining light, but a human one. Some of her fellow Avengers, such as Thor, exist beyond Earthbound conventions. They use their powers on a whole other level. Compared to them, Carol Danvers is still learning the ropes.


While Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige approves of Captain Marvel being at number one, this is more a subjective view. The argument is that while separate heroes have particular strengths, Danvers combines them in one hell of a package. Another important factor is she’s likable and people root for her. It’s easy to like Danvers because ultimately she’s one of us. Her journey is more relatable than that of, say, Doctor Strange. His detached personality and razor-sharp intelligence could be described as more on a par with Thanos than Tony Stark.



So while the case for Captain Marvel as the most powerful hero has as much to do with wish fulfillment as evidence, you can see why some fans like me support it. Of course, there is one way of settling the matter once and for all. A full-scale smackdown between Danvers and her avenging colleagues. It may look implausible right now, but give it time. You never know who the enemy might wind up being in this enduring and game-changing franchise.  

Maria Haertz

Originally from upstate New York, Maria made Tennessee her home in 2002. She is happiest in good company, whether watching a movie, traveling, hiking, dancing to live music with friends, or surfing in the sunshine. The geekiest "cat lady" you've ever met.