• Faith & Fandom

Captain Marvel: Overcoming Control



As I write this, Captain Marvel is still in its opening week at the

box office, soaring higher, farther, and faster through the

history of superhero films. While I sat in theatres basking in the

soundtrack that was effectively my high school playlist, the

theme that stood out to me most throughout the film was

control. Specifically, I saw what control means, who we don’t

need to allow to have it, and what it means to truly master

control in every aspect of our lives. Early on, the movie comes

out swinging with some really powerful truths. They were so

early in the movie, I wasn’t prepared to take notes yet and had

to go back a second time to get the quotes. I didn’t mind.

One of the first scenes in the film is Marvel training with her

direct superior Yon-Rogg, portrayed by Jude Law. While he

would eventually prove not to be her true ally, that doesn’t

mean the wisdom he spoke was less valid. Sadly, some of the

best sources of truth in superhero stories, and even in life, can

come from the villains (look at Heath Ledger’s Joker).

As Marvel and Yon battle, she rehashes the dreams and visions

she has been having. Yon encourages her to let go of this

weight.

“You have to let go of the past. It's causing you doubt,

and doubt makes you vulnerable. Control it.”

Obviously, he was telling her to do these things because he

didn’t want her delving into the truth and actually finding that

he was responsible for much of the damage in her life, but he




wasn’t wrong. When we hold on to the past and let doubt rule

our lives, it really is hard to move forward with our lives.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” -

Isaiah 43:18.

Living in the past is like walking down stairs while trying to look

over your shoulder. It makes forward motion highly unsure and

dangerous. Even if you do manage to take enough steps

forward, looking back is going to slow you down so much that

you might as well be standing still.

“And he did not do many miracles there because of their

lack of faith.” - Matthew 13:58

Doubting ourselves only hurts us, and when we are doubting

God, it’s like looking Him in the eye and saying, “I don’t really

think you can pull this off.” Jesus literally didn’t do many

miracles in his own hometown because of their doubt. Letting

doubt reside in our hearts is like a “Keep Out” sign for the

presence of God. That doesn’t mean we can’t have questions,

or doubts; that is healthy. What we shouldn’t do is let it

control us.

The past and doubt should never have control over us if we

want to truly live up to the potential of who God creates us to

be.

Yon continues to train her mentally and physically as she

cracks a smile at his brooding seriousness. “Humor is a

distraction. Full of anger, anger only serves the enemy. Control




your impulses.” She then immediately fails at controlling her

impulses and blasts Yon across the room, which earns her a

fun metallic facial with the Supreme Intelligence.

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down

while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a

foothold.” - Ephesians 4:26-27.

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that anger should never be in

control of us. Though it will inevitable happen, it should not be

the thing that controls us or defines us.

On the way to her digital guidance counselor, Yon continues

his mentoring with, “Stop using this (heart) and start using this

(brain). I want you to be the best version of yourself.” Later

when she is communicating with Yon from Earth, he further

emphasizes the point, “Do not let your emotions override your

judgement.” He continually points out that emotions can be

dangerous if we let them determine our actions. Again, I fully

realize this is the bad guy, being manipulative. I’m not ignoring

that, but still recognizing a solid truth.

Our emotions can change on a dime, for good or bad. Our level

of hunger, rest, and companionship can change our emotions,

and that’s not all. Music, jokes, smells, online reviews, traffic,

and anything really are all tied to how we feel. Our emotions

are not always steady or reliable, and they shouldn’t be

allowed to control us. God says through the prophet Jeremiah

that our hearts aren’t trustworthy, and that the emotions that

flow from them aren’t reliable.




“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.

Who can understand it?” - Jeremiah 17:9.

Anger and the rest of our emotional spectrum may be valid

feelings and need expression, but that doesn’t mean we need

to allow them to control us.

When Marvel finally meets up with the Supreme Intelligence,

the Intelligence hammers in further the narrative she had been

receiving from Yon.

“Supreme Intelligence: You struggle with your emotions.

With your past which fuels them.

Marvel: I want to serve.

Supreme Intelligence: Then master yourself.”

Again, I know they were the bad guys, but solid advice.

It also is very similar to a concept we see in scripture

“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person

who lacks self-control.” -Proverbs 25:28.

We see that until we can actually control ourselves, we are

wide open to any kinds of attacks and manipulation, very much

in the way that Marvel was being controlled and manipulated

by her Kree compatriots. They kept telling her to control

herself, when really, they just wanted her to stop resisting as

they controlled her. Self-Control is beyond value, though.

When you can control yourself (or master yourself, as the

Great Intelligence put it), you are like a city with impenetrable




walls. Self-Control is more than just being able to hold back

from negative emotions and feelings. Self-control is being able

to deliberately and intentionally control your thoughts, words,

and actions. It’s not just about what you prevent yourself from

doing. It’s about what you add to who you are.

In 2 Peter 1:5-8, we see what it looks like to truly “Master

Yourself,” as the Supreme Intelligence told Marvel.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your

faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to

knowledge, self-control; and to self-control,

perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to

godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection,

love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing

measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and

unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus

Christ.”

Peter paints this picture that if you intentionally build on who

you are and master yourself in your faith, you will be

guaranteed to grow and that your faith will be effective and

productive. But just as we stated earlier; if your past, your

doubts, your anger, and your emotions control you, you will

never be able to control yourself. Those negative elements

that battle you for control will prevent you from being all you

can be.

When Marvel was at the mercy of the Kree and the Supreme

Intelligence aboard Lawson’s lab, she finally saw that she had




been allowing these manipulative creatures to have control

over her the entire time. They had been not just holding her

back, but enslaving her. While the bad guys may have had

some solid ideas and teachings earlier in the chapter, this is

where the paths diverge. God wants you to have self-control,

not so that He can manipulate and control you, but so that you

can have true freedom. When Marvel finally broke free from

the Kree control on her, she was virtually unstoppable. As in,

she was taking down an elite squadron and smacking ballistic

warheads around like it’s nothing. She even flexed Ronan the

Accuser into skurting out of the fray.

She went from a restrained pew pew to Earth shattering

kabooms in no time flat. She always had that power and ability

inside her; it was just impossible for her to experience how

great her power was while she was under the control of the

Kree. We have this amazing power of God welled up deep

inside us through His spirit, but as long as we allow sin, fear,

doubt, unchecked emotions, and the pressures of this world to

control us, we will never be able to experience the amazing

power and freedom that comes from truly knowing God.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm,

then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a

yoke of slavery.” - Galatians 5:1.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.

But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather,

serve one another humbly in love.” - Galatians 5:13.




The Kree commanded Marvel to control herself so they could

continue to manipulate her. God calls us to control ourselves

so that we can truly be free to experience His power and

freedom and so that we will never have to know what it is like

to be under the control of sin again. Imagine what it would

have been like for Marvel to deal with the Kree on Lawson’s

lab, and then turn around and put the Kree control disc back

on her neck. To finally know her unlimited power but then turn

around and willingly allow her manipulators to once again

have control over her life would have been nonsensical. Yet

that is what we do every time we willingly allow this world, our

flesh, and our sin nature to reign over us after experiencing the

freedom of God. It’s not worth it. Take the time to learn and

exercise self-control in your own life so that nothing else can

control you.

In her conflict with the Kree, Marvel finally realizes how she’s

been manipulated and controlled for so long. She knows now

what it takes to be free, and she’s willing to do it. She asks the

question, “‘I’ve been fighting with one arm tied behind my

back, but what happens when I’m finally set free?” This is you.

This is me. This is us. We’ve spent years of our lives fighting

with one arm tied behind our backs. So, what happens when

you are finally set free?

Are you going to continue to let the things of this world

manipulate and control you? I hope not. I hope you are going

to fight against the toxic things that look to enslave you. I hope

you are going to learn to control yourself so that nothing else




can. I hope you are going to allow Christ to truly set you free so

that in His power you truly will be able to go higher, further,

and faster wherever He leads you.

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