Warning: Mild spoilers for Captain Marvel lie ahead.

Slap a 100% Certified Fresh sticker on my forehead and call me a hype man because I loved Captain Marvel. No ifs, ands, or buts. I just really, really, really loved this movie.

The undeniably fantastic Black Panther notwithstanding, I generally don’t obsess over the MCU. Sure, I’ve seen nearly every movie in its canon and can give you a simplified rundown on its most central plot lines — I mean, I work at Mashable: Home of the Marvel Obsession, and am also alive in 2019 — but broadly speaking, superhero movies rarely stick with me for more than a few hours.

Captain Marvel broke that mold, and I’m proud to say I have been researching everything about my new favorite Avenger, her Flerken companion, and her role in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame battle since the moment I left the theater. 

Considering I am a white woman in my twenties, it makes a lot of sense that I would relate to Carol Danvers, a white woman in her twenties. But, more than relating to Carol or being excited by the much needed representation she is bringing to the MCU, I was enthralled and delighted by nearly every moment she appeared on-screen. 

Meeting a character I knew I would love so deeply felt electric.

Less than 10 minutes into my Captain Marvel screening, I could feel myself hip-pocketing Carol’s hilarious dialogue for later quoting, eating up her effortlessly cool (but not too cool) demeanor, and positioning her in my head as the obvious leader for the Avengers. 

She is the incorporation of Iron Man’s arrogance, Thor’s bravery, Black Widow’s cunning, and Star-Lord’s 20th century flair, but better. Meeting a character I knew I would love so deeply felt electric. It was an experience I hadn’t enjoyed since first seeing Steve Rogers morph into Captain America in 2011. 

As Carol slowly unseated Steve from the throne of Avengers’ Best Captain (existent only in my mind), she simultaneously escaped the box I had unknowingly put her in prior to seeing the movie. Captain Marvel wasn’t the cookie-cutter female hero I had expected. I wasn’t jumping up and down for her girl power, nor was I vicariously unleashing my feminist rage through each of her super-charged punches. 

In fact, at many points during Captain Marvel, Carol’s femaleness escaped me entirely. In her complete, theatrical form, Carol isn’t a “female superhero.” She is a superhero, full stop, and a completely kickass one at that.

Skip the "female," just say badass.

Skip the “female,” just say badass.

The experience of seeing the first Marvel movie with a solo female lead was made better by nearly forgetting I was seeing the first Marvel movie with a solo female lead. She wasn’t overtly sexualized, like Black Widow, or pushed into a heterosexual romance, like Scarlet Witch, or positioned as the only woman in a group of men, like Gamora. 

Watching the charismatic Captain Marvel spar with Fury, fight Skrulls then S.H.I.E.L.D. then Kree, and slowly uncover her own origin story felt as true-blue Avenger as the MCU gets. Only the film’s overt feminist sign-posting, like that “I don’t have to prove anything to you” line, reminded me of what this movie represented within the bigger picture.

That bigger picture isn’t why I first fell in love with Captain Marvel — that was all Carol — but it is what has kept me in love with it since my first showing. Actress Brie Larson has championed some truly rad pro-woman PR throughout the film’s release, and witnessing girls’ and women’s reactions to her message feels as uniting as any battle cry. It is a marvelous time to be a female fan in the MCU.

It doesn't hurt that Brie Larson is a complete rockstar.

It doesn’t hurt that Brie Larson is a complete rockstar.

Image: GARETH CATTERMOLE/GETTY IMAGES

Beyond that, I can gush over the specifics of this movie ad nauseam. I can tell you why I think Goose is the best sidekick in any universe, why young Fury is maybe even hotter than Thor, why Captain Marvel‘s ’90s soundtrack is ten times better than the music of Guardians: Vol. 1 and 2 combined, and why Carol is clearly the key to reversing the traumatizing events of Infinity War.

But do yourself a favor: Enjoy exploring the world of Captain Marvel for yourself. Go see or re-see this movie as soon as you can, because if it’s meant for you, you’ll know — and it’ll be hard to get enough.

Captain Marvel is in theaters now.

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