What, Exactly, Are Captain Marvel's Powers & How Do They Work?

Photo: courtesy of Marvel Pictures.
Warning: Mild spoilers for Captain Marvel are ahead.
Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios, has long called Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, the most powerful superhero of them all. And after seeing her standalone film, Captain Marvel, it’s not hard to see why. The former Air Force pilot turned human-Kree hybrid super-soldier-spy has — by the film’s end — a seemingly unending list of capabilities and powers. Plus, y’know, her hair does that whole electrified aurora borealis-type thing when she’s kicking ass, which is really pretty dope, if you think about it. So what, exactly, are Carol Danvers’ powers when in the hands of actress Brie Larson — besides being quippily hilarious and able to kick the ass of an old-lady-wearing Skrull without the bat of a lash? We’re digging into her history to let it all hang out for you. Because knowing what Carol can do will certainly put most of y’all’s minds at ease given everything that happened in Avengers: Infinity War.
OK, So What Can Captain Marvel Do?
Carol Danvers’ powers in the comics are many. She’s incredibly strong and seemingly unharmable, resistant not only to physical attacks, but poisons and diseases, too. She has the ability to blast photon energy out of her fists, and can absorb and redirect all sorts of different energy waves, too, essentially super-duper-powering her already impressive form.
Oh, and did we mention she can fly? Both on Earth and in outer space, like it’s nothing? Which doesn’t even even take into consideration her “seventh sense,” which is able to determine the presence of danger a la Spider-Man.
How'd She Get These Powers?
A lot of this is thanks to the explosion she encountered the day the rest of the world thought she died, but it was stabilized by a blood transfusion from her Kree mentor, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). But — as you likely noticed at the end of the film itself — Captain Marvel’s powers get supercharged when she removes the inhibitor on her neck, ostensibly keeping her vast powers in control. Once that is removed, following a revelatory moment with Mar-Vell, a.k.a. The Supreme Intelligence, a.k.a. Annette Bening, Carol’s powers get taken to the next level, and she essentially becomes the Binary iteration of herself from the comics. Essentially, she becomes unstoppable.
So Who Is Binary & Why Do We Need To Know About Her?
Well, she’s another iteration/alias of Carol’s from the comics (fun fact: Carol has also been known as Ms. Marvel, Warbird, and a few other names as well — comics are truly wild), and her basic deal is this: she’s an even more super-powered version of Captain Marvel, accidentally imbued with the power of a white hole (a.k.a. the opposite of a black hole, a.k.a. very, very powerful).
In this iteration (which happened in the '80s in the comics during an X-Men story run), Carol is experimented on by a group of aliens called the Brood and becomes an all-powerful being the likes of which few have ever seen before. As Binary, she is able to divert cosmic energy around her to do her bidding. She can shape the energy created by disturbing the space-time continuum in order to focus, amplify, or defuse the energy to do her bidding.
And it certainly seems like that’s what the movie version is playing into in order to set up the future and the — let’s be real here, we all know a lot of contracts are ending — new line-up of Avengers that’s still to come.
So, Does This Mean She's Going To Defeat Thanos?
What results is the power of a star in human form: she can radiate heat, light, and the whole of the electromagnetic spectrum. She can manipulate energies and mess with gravity, and she can probably open a hole to other universes (which may come in handy during Avengers: Endgame, don’t you think?). Oh, and she can also fly, unaided, at lightspeed through the cosmos with heightened senses and an ability to transmute all the energy and radiation in the galaxy, essentially rendering her unkillable. Not a bad skill set to have, eh? When you can manipulate, focus, blend, harness, and emit every sort of electromagnetic energy in the universe with the flick of your wrists, people really should pay attention to the power that you possess. Better start shakin’ in your big purple boots, bad guys of the universe and beyond, because when it comes to dusting ol’ man Thanos in order to bring back half the population of Earth, few people are probably as well-equipped as our space queen, Carol Danvers, the namesake of our precious Avengers.

More from Movies