By: Daion Walker
The Marvels, directed by Nia Decosta, is the 33rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Following the release of the catastrophe, Antman and The Wasp: Quantumania, many MCU fans such as myself went into the movie concerned that it wouldn’t live up to its expectations. These expectations were only lowered with the release of Variety Magazine’s infamous “Crisis at Marvel” article that came out just days prior to The Marvels. With the MCU on the brink of extinction, the question arises; does The Marvels live up to the hype? Or is The Marvels proof that the MCU is over?
The Marvels follow Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), Monica Rambeau (Photon), and Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) as they travel the cosmos on a mission to defeat Dar-Benn. A Kree Military General who seeks revenge on Captain Marvel for the destruction of her home world. Decosta does an excellent job balancing each hero throughout the film.
While the movie is Carol-centric, we get to explore sides of both Monica and Kamala we have never seen before. We see how much Monica has grown since we first met her in Wandavision. As a fan of Monica, it was exciting to see her finally step into her full potential, as she could become possibly one of the strongest characters in the MCU. We also see the complexities of her character as she mourns the loss of her mother Maria Rambeau. During the film, you can feel the tension between Carol and Monica over Maria’s death. The moments are very heartfelt, and you sympathize with both characters.
Iman Vellani stole the show as Ms. Marvel. Her energetic and nerdy nature brought so much life to the film. It was Kamala’s charisma that gave total balance to the film as her scenes evened out the seriousness of Monica’s and Carol’s scenes. Seeing how Kamala fantasizes over one day being an Avenger like Carol, reminds a lot of Marvel fans of how we were as children, looking up to those who saved the world and hoping to be like them one day. The inclusion of the Khan Family was a nice addition to the film as well. Seeing how they so nonchalantly react to aliens, superhumans, and literal rips in the fabric of reality was hilarious. But most importantly seeing how the Khan Family cares for Kamala made their inclusion in the film so much more important. Kamala’s relationship with her family was pure and it was nice to see a strong, united (POC) family represented in the film. Additionally, Dar-Benn was unforgettable as a villain. As the film progresses, we fully start to understand her motive and while her motive was clever, no stakes were felt at all. We knew that by the end of the film she would be defeated, and the Marvels would go on about their day.
Unfortunately, The Marvels does fall short in many areas. With the film bringing together three already-established characters, those who don’t casually keep up with the MCU may find themselves having trouble keeping up with the film. Understanding how Monica got her powers, why Monica and Carol have an unstable relationship, and why Kamala only has one bangle are all things that aren’t fully elaborated in the film. It’s a reoccurring problem in the MCU that those who are casual fans must pay the price of filling in the blanks for not keeping up with every single Marvel project.
At the end of the day, I don’t think The Marvels is a bad film, nor do I think it’s the fall of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the movie suffers from poor writing and a lousy villain, I believe the pros are enough to look past the cons. At its heart, The Marvels is a family-friendly movie meant for watchers to enjoy and embrace the beauty of diversity. Each character brings a unique yet fun dynamic to the team, especially Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, who will steal the hearts of anyone watching. I recommend seeing the film with friends or family with the expectation of just having fun.
The Marvels is now playing in select theaters today, so get your tickets today!