Warning: Major spoilers for Captain Marvel will follow below.
After much vitriol online by trolls and angry anonymous online users, Captain Marvel went on to defy the odds and became a smash-hit at the box-office. The irony of it all is that the film comments on the behavior of abuse and bullying in more ways than one probably imagines.
Relationships can be complicated on both sides. However, the statistics for abuse in relationships show that it is more common for women to deal with abuse than their male counterparts showing that 1 in 4 women experience abuse as compared to 1 in 9 men.
But abuse can be beyond just a physical form. Many abusers can use mental techniques to overpower and confuse partners with gaslighting– meaning to push someone into questioning their own reality. This device is extremely prevalent within the relationship of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Yon- Rogg (Jude Law).
How Captain Marvel depicts abusive behavior
In the film, Jude Law’s character Yon-Rogg is a mentor to “Vers” (aka Carol Danvers) who he is training to be her “best” self. “Vers” also has amnesia and doesn’t remember anything about her past.
Yon-Rogg has implanted a device that he suggests gives her power and claims that the gift she was given can be taken away if she does not learn to fight without it.
He also claims that she needs to control her emotions or the “supreme intelligence” will punish her.
Sometime after, she makes her way to earth and discovers that the name “Vers” was a lie and that her powers were never gifted. She received her powers by accident and only she has the ability to turn them on or off.
Yon-Rogg’s behavior is controlling–wanting Carol to stay under his power and he does so by making her question her own reality and gifts. He purposely keeps her from being the best version of herself because if she were to be herself, he would be outmatched and inferior to her.
The freedom from the abuser
This is a common occurrence in mental abuse. With partners telling their victims, “you will never be good enough” or “you are nothing without me.” This gaslighting technique is done to deceive the partner into believing they are weak, which makes Captain Marvel all the more inspiring when she breaks free of her mental prison.
Captain Marvel may not be the best film from Marvel but it’s one that hopefully many abused victims come out of feeling they have the power to say “I’ve had enough” or as Carol Danvers would say, “I have nothing to prove to you.”
It’s a bold subject to tackle by a major studio that maybe will inspire abused women (and men) to free themselves from the shackles of pain.
Captain Marvel can now be seen in theaters everywhere.