Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert!! Spoiler Alert!!!
Seriously, if you have not yet seen the movie, Captain Marvel, stop reading this and go to the movie theatre and buy a ticket! Then come back and read this article. Consider yourself warned!
Captain Marvel has a consistent theme: Things are not what they seem.
Just when you think that you have something figured out, the characters will discover more information that completely turns everything you thought knew upside down.
There are two main forces at play at in the movie. The Kree, a race of “noble warrior heroes” that controls a vast interstellar empire. And, the Skrull, a race of shapeshifters who can imitate any lifeform that they are able to see. They use this shape-shifting ability to covertly infiltrate planets which belong to the Kree and take control of them before any defense can be mounted.
“Vers,” the protagonist of the story, is a member of the elite Kree Star Force, tasked with helping to fight the Skrull. Everything goes wrong when her unit is ambushed, and she is captured. The Skrull probe her mind looking for the “Light Speed Engine.” It is during this mind reading sequence that we discover: Vers is not quite what she seems to be.
Vers and the Skrull end up crashing on the planet “C-23,” otherwise known as Earth. Vers, in order to evade capture and discover the truth, teams up with Nick Fury, an agent of Shield.
This leads them to “Pegasus,” a secret aerospace development facility where a scientist named Dr. Lawson was developing technology for the military before she was killed in a test flight crash. But, following the theme of the film, Dr. Lawson is not what she seems. We discover that Dr. Lawson is not actually a Human, but an undercover Kree operative named Mar-Vell. At the same time, we discover that Vers is not actually Kree, but a Human named Carol Danvers. Nothing is as it seems.
The Skrulls seek out Fury and Danvers, deciding to stop hiding and to tell them the full story, a different story from the Kree. The Skrull were invaded by the Kree and refused to submit to their rule. So, the Kree destroyed their homeworld. The Skrull are simply looking for a new home, and the Light Speed Engine will help them move to another galaxy, “beyond the reach of the Kree.” Things are not as they seem, the Skrull are victims, not the villains.
Carol Danvers, officially taking on the mantle of Captain Marvel, and Nick Fury join forces with the Skrull to find Mar-Vell’s secret laboratory. Once aboard, they discover that Mar-Vell had been hiding many Skrull in her laboratory. The Skrulls were not looking primarily for the light speed engine, but for their families that Mar-Vel had been hiding there from the Kree.
Captain Marvel defeats the Kree Star Force and vows to help the Skrull find a new home in another galaxy.
The main theme of the movie may be “Things are not what they seem,” but most of the story elements are strongly influenced by stories and themes from the Bible.
Take the example of the Skrull. Throughout the movie the Skrull parallel the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt. The Israelites are no longer willing to submit to the rule and oppression of Egypt. So God chooses the adopted son of Pharaoh, Moses, to perform signs and wonders to fight the oppressors, and lead them to their new home. Likewise, the Skrull are not willing to submit to the rule and oppression of the Kree. So, a member of the Kree Star Force rises up, performing “signs and wonders,” to fight the Kree and lead the Skrulls to a new home. The correspondence to the Exodus isn’t perfect, but the parallels between the two stories are striking.
But, there is an even more important parallel to draw out. Carol Danvers and the story of Captain Marvel is the story of a Messianic figure. The Story of Captain Marvel is the story of Jesus.
Captain Marvel’s origin story mirrors the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Carol Danvers is a Human being, but her origin as Captain Marvel is absorbing a wave of infinite energy from the core of the exploding “Light Speed Engine.” This infuses her with almost God-like powers. This infinite energy which gives her the powers serves as a surrogate of the divine. Carol Danvers is completely Human, but she is more than Human.
Jesus is the divine second person of the Triune Godhead, the logos, the Son of Man. Yet, at the same time, Jesus Christ is completely Human. This is the Incarnation. The Union of the Human and the divine in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is completely Human and completely divine. The origin of Captain Marvel parallels the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Captain Marvel’s origin demands that she become a messianic figure.
The entire story of the Captain Marvel movie draws strong inspiration and parallels from the life of Jesus. Carol Danvers is killed in Captain Marvel. She dies when she sacrifices her life to protect the world, causing the “Light Speed Engine” to explode. However, the Kree bring her back to life. She is brought back to life, and was expected to oppress and rule. But, she decides to save the world, to save the Skrull and Humanity from the Kree.
Jesus was crucified on the cross, the perfect lamb sacrificed. Jesus did this to save Humanity from the oppression of spiritual death and sin. But, Jesus did not stay dead. Jesus was resurrected from the dead three days later. It is this death and resurrection which saves Human beings from their sins. It is this death and resurrection, this sacrifice made by the God of the Universe which declares victory over the oppression of death and sin. The people expected the Messiah to come to establish a political reign, but Christ came to give us freedom from the oppression of sin and death.
The story of Captain Marvel is the story of Jesus Christ. Just like the Son of Man, Captain Marvel gives her life as a sacrifice in order to save the world, and in her resurrection that salvation is made complete. It is the story of the death and resurrection of a single person with two natures saving the world.
Captain Marvel is not just a movie in a vacuum but stands as a part of the larger collection of interconnected movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain Marvel sits as the final piece of the puzzle before what is arguably the largest cinematic event in our lifetimes. The MCU has grown to rival such franchises as Star Wars. Captain Marvel is an excellent tool for starting conversations about Christianity. The movie has just come out, and people are going to be talking about it.
This presents us with the incredible opportunity to share the Gospel in a meaningful way through the things which already have people’s attention, through the things in which people are already interested.
You will be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t at least aware of Captain Marvel and the MCU. This conversation is easy to start: “Hey, what did you think of Captain Marvel? What did you think of the story?” Once you have the conversation started, the transition from the story to the Gospel is easy. Simply begin drawing out the parallels between Captain Marvel and Jesus Christ.
Captain Marvel presents us with an opportunity which is becoming increasingly rare, an experience which everyone in the culture experiences together. In the age of the internet, people find themselves in echo chambers, isolated from those who are different. Captain Marvel and the MCU changes that, if only for a moment. This movie is one which we get to experience together as a culture. As followers of Christ, let’s use this opportunity to point people toward Him. Let’s use this opportunity to point people toward His kingdom, and his Church. Let’s not squander this important moment.
This article originally appeared on Luke Knight’s personal blog site. Make sure to check it out by clicking here!