Fans have to wait almost a year for the forthcoming Captain Marvel movie, coming out in March of next year, but her debut in the MCU cannot come fast enough. Marvel has been desperate to represent the female gender as well as their counterpart in the DCEU have with Wonder Woman. After carving most of their female characters down to super powered props, the MCU needs Carol Danvers and her solo movie to change all of that. In addition to that, the Guardians of the Galaxy movies have taken off and as they approach the end of their inevitable lifetime at the box office, Marvel is going to need another hero that can take them away from earth and beyond the stars. A unique advantage to the theater experience is to see alien worlds in a way the page can’t capture.
Depending on the reception for Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, the character is well placed to shake up the Marvel cinematic stable of heroes, and come in to set the bar for the next generation of the MCU. With that in mind we're looking at every power Captain Marvel has in order to show you that she will be a force to be reckoned with on the big screen.
16 IMMUNITY TO POISON AND DISEASE
Even though Carol Danvers was originally a human, when she underwent her transformation, the former Captain Marvel’s genomic pattern was transferred into her body, including his Kree immune system. Now Captain Marvel has, from the source of two systems, evolved to a point where she’s almost impervious to all poisons and most forms of disease, both terrestrial and galactic.
Poison is a big factor in a lot of supervillain work, but it’s not often that superheroes succumb to earth maladies, howevern this addition to Captain Marvel’s power set may come as a response to the way a previous Captain Marvel was killed. Danvers’ namesake, Mar-Vell, was a Kree warrior that shook up the Marvel universe in 1982 with the graphic novel, The Death of Captain Marvel, when he passed away from cancer. A neurotoxin Mar-Vell was exposed to in the line of duty contained a carcinogen that grew and eventually took his life. When the graphic novel came out, it was a first for such an ambitious project, and it acted as a retrospective on the life of the hero and the company, taking stock through Mar-Vell’s last days. Danvers’ Captain Marvel has closed that fate for this character with her immunity to, presumably all, forms of cancer.
15 SUPER STAMINA AND AGILITY
As a former Major in the US Air Force, Carol Danvers brings a strong background in stamina and agility from her previous life, but being fused with a Kree warrior sparked alterations to her genetic structure as well. Her muscles regenerate at a more rapid rate due in part to her additional healing factor, and her Cosmic Awareness and years of training as a warrior also give her lightning quick reflexes, resulting in the ability to make a turn sharp as a tack and to stop on a dime. Her power to absorb energy also contributes to these heightened abilities. By cleverly taking in energy and redirecting it to her musculature, Captain Marvel begins to make a good case for rationalizing why many call her the most powerful hero in the Marvel Universe.
The caveats for that statement are too numerous to even trouble to mention. It’s important to remember, especially entering the next few descriptions of her powers, that while they may seem the simple -- flight, strength, and speed -- the draw of Captain Marvel is that she does all of that at the same time, checks all the boxes, and blows away the competition on power level as well. This isn’t a Jill of all trades, master of none situation, it's more like master of all.
Lots of heroes can fly, but not many are, or have been, pilots for the Air Force (alright, except for that other guy). Not only is she proficient in the flying of all manner of Earthly and other worldly vehicles, but she flies completely under her own power as well. She sports no cape and while she carries some elements to her costume, none of them are related to her flight. Her ability to absorb and redirect energy largely fuels her propulsion. Clocked at a top speed of three times the speed of sound, Carol Danvers can maneuver herself in any way, anywhere, in the air that she wants to.
Like a lot of heroes that fly, Captain Marvel takes that as a directive to become a bird and cruise off into the sunset, usually on her own. A lot of her characterization consists of the desire to soar through the air, free from earthbound constraints and the noise of the world surrounding her. She appears on teams now and then, due to her amazing abilities as a hero and due to plot device but in her heart, Carol Danvers will always be that solo flyer, trying to soar through the clouds.
13 HIGH INVULNERABILITY
This is another trait she gets from the warrior background of her benefactor, Mar-Vell. With her skin toughened, and bones strengthened by her Kree DNA, Captain Marvel can walk through most weapon fire without a scratch. Bullets are almost nothing -- they don’t even penetrate her skin. Extreme heights and temperatures are all no problem for Captain Marvel, making her one of the most versatile heroes, capable of fighting and thriving in any environment.
According to the Marvel Database, Captain Marvel stands at a durability level of 6 out of 7, cementing her in the superhuman level of heroes. This makes her more than a match for most Earth villains, indicating she’s best used out on Marvel’s cosmic front. While she does travel out with the Guardians of the Galaxy or the Starjammers, she also searches for a way to be a hero on Earth as well. With a power set that’s as varied and strong as hers, Danvers’ story is as much about searching for herself through all of this super stuff. While she carries herself through life like she’s bulletproof, which she is, there’s still a nagging feeling of feeling out of place and struggling to fit into a groove. All while she’s absorbing cosmic beams or turning blasts from tanks into sonic punches.
12 SPACE TRAVEL
Captain Mar-Vell, the original, was always a traveler through space, coming from a distant planet himself. The current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers is keeping up the tradition, showing no compuncture at exploring space and fighting the battles that the Marvel superheroes must fight away from the planet Earth. The former version, Mar-Vell, made use of Nega-Bands that both gave his hands the ability to shoot photonic beams and gave him the ability of space travel.
The latest Captain Marvel gained her ability to travel through space after she fought with a “white hole” space phenomenon -- the opposite of a black hole. This spatial anomaly gave her a host of different powers and unending ability to channel the force and gravity of a star. This was the phase during which she went by the name, Binary, after the cosmic system that gave her the power. Along the lines of The Phoenix taking over the personality of Jean Grey, Carol Danvers also succumbed to this corruption of her power and personality just briefly. But her brush with that much direct power boosted her abilities forever. To be fair, she does still need an oxygen supply to move through space, but a scuba tank compared to a space suit is still an upgrade.
11 HEAT POWERS
As mentioned, Captain Marvel’s powers mirror those of a star -- the process by which stars can split and squish atoms to create energy is one of many reactions going on inside her cell structure to giver her her power. This has resulted in a character where, no matter what happens to her externally, she can take that energy, bring it inside themselves and express it any number of different ways. This ability to manipulate energy sometimes feels like an allegory for the way everyone wishes they could walk through their lives, but for the purposes of the action on the pages of a comic, Carol Danvers frequently uses this opportunity to turn that energy into heat.
As far as the thermometer goes, Captain Marvel is a nuclear reactor, so she can direct that fusion energy wherever she’d like to. Instead of concentrating this energy all into one beam, she’s able to dial out the waves and continuously control the field of heat. One presumes that she never has cold hands or feet because of this power. Thankfully for her, when limbs fall asleep, she can just take some energy stored from when she stubbed her toe that morning, and keep herself warm and toasty all day.
10 CONTROL OVER ELECTROMAGNETIC ENERGY
In a similar fashion to her control over heat, Captain Marvel has an innate sense of the electromagnetic energy around her, and, with all the power of Magneto, is capable of bending magnetic fields to her will and using positive and negative polarities to hurl metal objects at her pursuers. In addition to that, this power also gives her power over electronics. She can’t inhabit a cell phone or anything, but she’s fully capable of creating either the full EMP blast of a nuclear weapon, or simply switching off your cell phone with a snap of her fingers.
The machine that led to Captain Marvel’s initial transformation is responsible for donning her with these powers. Carol Danvers was at an Air Force testing facility when she was caught in an explosion along with Captain Marvel, fusing his powers with her cells. The machine that caused that explosion, the Psyche-Magnetron, was the product of an experimental project conducted by the military to instill power over magnetic fields in the human brain. This power, more than just fun magnets, is the second on this list (after her heat manipulation) that are outward looking. In other words, we’re slowly learning Captain Marvel’s true fighting strengths.
9 HEALING FACTOR
Having a healing factor is quite a useful power to have that most heroes simply do without. Aside from Wolverine and Deadpool, the other major self-healers in the Marvel showcase of heroes, Captain Marvel is the only one to address all of the damage she takes by monitoring her healing. Where most heroes will simply rely on their tough hides or super speed to dodge blows and attacks, Carol Danvers' human-Kree physiology comes to save her skin again, literally. The chemistry of Danvers’ body has been altered to be able to rapidly accelerate cell regeneration, so that even when she eventually does take damage, she can recover far more quickly than others.
The source of this power comes from he ability to manipulate all the energy contained within a star. By routing that power toward her injuries, Carol Danvers becomes as efficient as a self-sealing tire. This is another power, along with the immunity, that sharply distinguishes Danvers’ Marvel from the original Mar-Vell. Obviously the deceased Captain Marvel, the Kree warrior, didn’t have such a generous healing factor (or an immunity to disease). However, it may just be one of those powers that’s convenient to add to a character, right up until it isn’t anymore.
8 SUPER STRENGTH
Hank Pym once measured Carol Danvers capable of moving 92 tons of force, which is extremely impressive considering that's just her base strength. As with many of her other powers, Captain Marvel’s magnitude fluctuates with how much energy she’s been introduced to and how much she has in her power reserves at the time of her using it. Somewhere between 92 tons and the full strength of a star is probably the true range of her force. The Marvel database ranks her at a base of Class 50, and Nick Fury has classified her at Power Level Eight.
When she was working under the assumed alias, Binary, she embodied all of that star-strength at full blast all the time, and her powers were at the height of that spectrum, But as she found out, that wasn’t sustainable indefinitely. Under correct circumstances, however, it’s worth considering that she’s capable of reaching those heights once again. Specifically the MCU version of Captain Marvel, producers, scrip writers, and even directors are saying that this level of power will be an entire order of magnitude higher than any hero so far in any of the Marvel movies we've seen. This is pobably why they’re bringing her in to defeat Thanos.
7 SUPER SPEED
She’s not exactly a speedster, but Captain Marvel can turn on the jets when she needs to. Captain Marvel already has lightning quick reflexes and agility, and both those also translate to a capacity for bursts of speed when she needs it. This is a tricky power, since super speed is both deceptively simple and difficult to master. For the purposes of the movie for example, every shot of Captain Marvel using her powers probably won’t be shot at high speed -- that’s never been the way she fights. But, when traveling through space, or even for a vicious melee combination, the human-Kree-star-warrior has that gear she can shift into.
Yet another power, fueled by her capacity and fluctuating ability to channel the power of a fusing star, this brings up more complications as her powers get more and more valuable. In recent comic book runs, no mention has been made to the source of her power being in jeopardy, but a lot is riding on Carol Danvers’ delicately balanced bio-chemistry. The extent to which she has the ability to process all of that energy for her own purposes is under question, but let villains all around the MCU take note: Captain Marvel is as fast as she is strong.
6 ABSORB KINETIC ENERGY
This is the power that lies at the literal nucleus of Captain Marvel’s powerset. Much like hurling a barge full of space garbage into the sun, no matter what is tossed Captain Marvel’s way, she has the rare ability to accept that power, absorb it into her body, and transform it into whatever kind of energy she chooses. This is a process as much as a power, but the range of energy she can work with is remarkably indiscriminate. Punches and blunt force blows are absorbed to make her more powerful, a concept already touched on in the MCU via Black Panther (2018). But the same also goes for explosions, electrical shocks, and radiation.
Magical energy does give Captain Marvel some trouble, though she retains a mild resilience to it. Extreme cold is also going to be one of the few ways to slow her speed of light metabolism from charging through any injury or obstacle. Marvel’s power to function as a a star does is her resting state, but it does have the ability to reach the Binary form, in which case, this key ability would be heavily amplified. At her normal power levels, she’s been estimated to contain as much destructive force as a nuclear weapon.
5 GRAVITY MANIPULATION
Of course, Captain Marvel always has a certain control over her own level of gravity because she’s able to fly around all the time. This specific power however, is more far reaching, but restricted to her Binary alias. When she’s able to channel the power of the white hole star, Captain Marvel is in control of her entire surrounding gravity field, manipulating the movement of everything around her. This power, while rarely seen in her normal rotation, makes number five on this ranking list because it’s a pretty special ability. Not quite telekinesis, not really magical, just control over one of the natural forces of the universe. However, limited, it puts Captain Marvel in a league of her own.
Just like the solitary, unifying hero, the MCU is setting her up to be. After watching Infinity War, theories that have her charging into Avengers 4 to save the day are looking more and more likely. If she is destined to ultimately go up against Thanos, maybe that Adam Warlock head nod was a total red herring, and the Binary alter ego is on the table. If Captain Marvel is headed for a big future in the next five years of the MCU, the range of ability and character illustrated in this list could be arranged to start to make that case.
This is a power once exhibited by Mar-Vell, the former version of the character, but it represents the ceiling for how much the stellar processes can impact Captain Marvel’s biochemistry. This power would only come to manifest itself if Carol Danvers’ energy manipulation powers were accelerated somehow by some outside force. Already as Binary, her space flight and energy and gravity manipulation have been covered, but teleportation around the universe can be added to that list as well.
This power will only come into play for Captain Marvel if either the publishing company or the MCU decides to resurrect the idea of her battle with her alter ego. In the comics, once Rogue gained all of her memories by mistake, the shell of Carol Danvers left Earth and became the volatile anti-heroine named after the star system, Binary. Keeping with the theory that Adam Warlock won’t be making an appearance in the MCU, the producers could bait and switch Captain Marvel in to play the role he did in leading the battle for the Infinity Gauntlet. From there, just like when Adam Warlock’s alter ego took control of the Gauntlet even though everyone trusted him with it, Captain Marvel’s Binary personality won’t be able to resist seizing the chance at that much power.
3 PHOTON BLASTS
Captain Marvel has the power to fire cosmically charged beams of energy from her hands and fingers at her will. They serve as her main offensive weapon, and they have a variable intensity control. The energy fueling these blasts, in Carol Danvers’ case, comes from her modified DNA and the process by which she metabolizes all energy, but this wasn’t the case for the original hero. Mar-Vell, even though he is an alien, wasn’t born with this ability, instead when he acquired the Nega-Bands around his wrists and was granted this ability through the power of those weapons.
While Captain Marvel’s power might be considered in the category of cosmic blast, it differs greatly from other beams emanating from heroes like the Silver Surfer, or The Scarlet Witch’s bursts of magic, or Iron Man’s energy bursts. The intensity of these beams is the biggest drain on Captain Marvel’s power and energy levels. Since the strength is variable, it’s never quite clear how to get the power level exactly right for storytelling purposes. Producers quoted as saying that Captain Marvel will introduce a range of powers that the MCU hasn’t seen are talking about a pretty strong version of the character.
2 ALTER REALITY
One of Captain Marvel’s greatest power is her ability to access her Cosmic Awareness. This is an ability that fluctuates back and forth, but ultimately confirms that Captain Marvel belongs among the stars. Eon, celestial of the Marvel Cosmic theater, bestowed Captain Mar-Vell with this special aptitude once the warrior proved himself worthy and helped the universe out of a tight spot. That ability, transferred to Captain Marvel through the Psyche-Magnitron, enables her to potentially bend reality around her will.
The essential nature of cosmic awareness puts the user in tune with the harmony of the universe. The essential nature of the Psyche-Magnitron was to shrink the distance between the mind and the world around it, enabling one to control the events of the timeline with only their brain. Somehow, someway, this ability has shown flashes in Captain Marvel and, in the past, Mar-Vell has even used the seeds of this technique against Thanos. It’s not as though Carol Danvers has all the power of the Reality Stone, but there is a canonical link between her and the fabric of reality. Again, based on the ending of Infinity War, if Captain Marvel is coming in from the '90s to impact this chain of events, it seems irresistible not to at least experiment with this power.
1 COSMIC AWARENESS
An experiment may be irresistible, but by the time we’ve named all of her powers, Captain Marvel has displayed so many of them that deus ex machina plot work is a real concern. The final reason Captain Marvel is the most powerful hero in the MCU so far, and quite a handful on her own in the comics universe, is this last layer of her cosmic awareness: her capacity for precognition. Above, this list talked about cosmic awareness as being in synchrony with the rhythm of the cosmos and floating through space in perfect time, innately sensing the natural ebb and flow of every molecule in in the universe. In Captain Marvel comic storylines in the past, this has resulted in her ability to read minds, her ability to suss out the opponent’s strategy, and an ability to run simulations on potential action plans and know which is the most likely to be successful.
For whatever divine purpose, with the same sentiment toward which she shares her name with that of her publishing company, Captain Marvel is in tune with the entire universe of characters and events. The extent to which she’s had the power to affect change has, forever, been a seismic actor in continuity. It’s only fitting she continue her reign as she jumps to the big screen.