Who’s the most powerful Avenger? That debate has raged since the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For years, the honor seemed split between the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) — the latter a literal god with the power of thunder at his fingertips, and the former an indestructible force of genetically augmented nature. But the years have brought many new contenders, from the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Thankfully, “The Marvels” finally gives us a definitive answer. It’s Captain Marvel (Brie Larson).
Now before you start hemming and hawing about power levels and character matchups, ask yourself this question: Has any other MCU superhero ever flown through a dying sun and single-handedly brought it back to life with their pure power? No, see, Carol Danvers is the only character to pull off that particular feat.
At the end of “The Marvels,” she returns to the Kree homeworld of Hala, which fell to ruin after her destruction of the Supreme Intelligence in the first “Captain Marvel.” The light in the sky over Hala is barely even there anymore when Carol arrives, as the sun has experienced such a severe decline. But all she needs to do is fly through its core and unleash the full brunt of her power, thereby reigniting the reactions within the star and setting it alight once again.
Carol’s sun revival puts her on a whole other level
The MCU is host to some true powerhouses, but the heroes aren’t normally the ones at the peak of the pyramid. Dormammu, Ego, Gorr, Hela — these are just some of the villains who’ve left their mark on the franchise. And while the likes of Hulk, Thor, and Wanda Maximoff are all incredibly strong, they generally fall a step short of those other names in terms of straight-up power.
Captain Marvel has now made a case that she belongs in the top echelon. Restarting a star in mere seconds is a power so absurd that even Carol didn’t think it was possible. Only after Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) suggests it does she get up the courage to try.
But beyond just being a ridiculous display of energy, Carol’s reignition of the Hala sun marks a turning point in her character. No longer is she the Annihilator, as the Kree called her for years. Now, she’s found a way to use her energy to fix things instead.
How Captain Marvel healing Hala’s sun mirrors her own character arc
Over the course of “The Marvels,” Carol makes it clear that she views herself as a harbinger of destruction. She hates the name “Annihilator,” but she also feels immense guilt but about the harm she unintentionally brought about on the Kree people. The idea of using her power — a force she views as purely destructive — to fix things is so foreign to her that she never even considers it before Monica suggests the idea.
Visually, Captain Marvel’s flight through Hala’s sun mirrors her destruction of the Sanctuary II, Thanos’ flagship, at the end of “Avengers: Endgame.” In both cases, she flies in loops through the target, simply emitting energy as she goes. But where the “Endgame” scene shows her destroying something evil, the end of “The Marvels” sees her restore something for the greater good. Both are heroic deeds, but Carol now understands that fighting isn’t the only way you can save people.