Ms Marvel, Captain Marvel and Monica Rambeau standing side by side

The Marvels

January 3, 2024
Comments off
1,077 Views

For as bad a year as the MCU has had creatively, this movie is much better than expected, and that’s saying something.

A sequel to the original Captain Marvel film, The Marvels follows Avengers member Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), electromagnetically superpowered Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and, direct from the MCU’s television offerings, the new superheroine named Ms. Marvel aka Kamala Kahn (Iman Vellani), as they find themselves in a dire predicament that sees their powers entangled in inexplicable ways, forcing them to swap bodies against their will whenever they’re in use. To make matters worse, Captain Marvel is pursued by the Kree villain Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), who wants to exact revenge on Carol for her role in the devastating civil war that ruined Dar-Benn’s homeworld of Hala. Needing to stop this new foe from destroying a few select planets that Captain Marvel holds dear — including the blue ball known as Earth — Carol, Monica, and Kamala must find a way to not only solve their quantum entanglement problem before Dar-Benn succeeds in her plans but on a personal level, work on their connections to one another to efficiently and effectively get their job done.

For a character whose first movie was one of my least favorite superhero films at the time, I wasn’t expecting much from The Marvels. But after walking out of the theater, I had a feeling that even though it wasn’t one of the best entries in the MCU, it most definitely did not deserve all the hate it was getting. Featuring a trifecta of heroines who play their characters well both solo and while together onscreen (especially Iman Vellani as the absolutely delightful Ms. Marvel, who also happens to be the best part of the film), numerous fun set pieces that utilize our heroes’ body swapping conundrum to great effect, some light but welcome character work I hadn’t expected, and an action-packed story that thankfully feels smaller-scaled yet still large enough to excite, The Marvels is at its worst the kind of MCU film that should be the baseline for what we get moving forward, and at its best, a competent if not slightly undercooked comic book film that satisfies well enough to be a success.

But even with all of that said and an overall feel and level of quality that harkens back to the MCU’s Phase 1 offerings (complete with an underdeveloped and almost entirely inconsequential main villain), The Marvels stumbles slightly more than it soars thanks to a script that doesn’t always click, made especially apparent by more than a few moments that feel rushed, Frankensteined together, or cut up entirely, something I think might have come about due to an unusually short final runtime that feels like it might have been altered more than once for reasons unknown. Furthermore, I can see how The Marvels would be one an MCU entry that’s almost impossible to follow by general audiences, something that might be a detriment to the accessibility of the film but luckily wasn’t an issue for me because I’m hopelessly addicted to consuming everything MCU-related and its ins and outs.

So while it’s true that this one bombed at the box office for reasons that I feel were out of its control — especially considering that the comparably worse Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness somehow skated by making money hand over fist — I can at least say it wasn’t because of the film’s quality, which as I’ve tried to make clear, was higher than it had any right to be. I’d be surprised if The Marvels doesn’t build a fanbase once it hits Disney+, it’s just a shame that its first impression was such a lukewarm one.

For as bad a year as the MCU has had creatively, this movie is much better than expected, and that’s saying something. A sequel to the original Captain Marvel film, The Marvels follows Avengers member Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), electromagnetically superpowered Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and, direct from the MCU’s television offerings, the new superheroine named Ms. Marvel aka Kamala Kahn (Iman Vellani), as they find themselves in a dire predicament that sees their powers entangled in inexplicable ways, forcing them to swap bodies against their will whenever they’re in use. To make matters worse, Captain Marvel is pursued by the Kree villain Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), who wants to exact revenge on Carol for her role in the devastating civil war that ruined Dar-Benn’s homeworld of Hala. Needing to stop this new foe from destroying a few select planets that Captain Marvel holds dear — including the blue ball known as Earth — Carol, Monica, and Kamala must find a way to not only solve their quantum entanglement problem before Dar-Benn succeeds in her plans but on a personal level, work on their connections to one another to efficiently and effectively get their job done. For a character whose first movie was one of my least favorite superhero films at the time, I wasn’t expecting much from The Marvels. But after walking out of the theater, I had a feeling that even though it wasn’t one of the best entries in the MCU, it most definitely did not deserve all the hate it was getting. Featuring a trifecta of heroines who play their characters well both solo and while together onscreen (especially Iman Vellani as the absolutely delightful Ms. Marvel, who also happens to be the best part of the film), numerous fun set pieces that utilize our heroes’ body swapping conundrum to great effect, some light but welcome character work I hadn't expected, and an action-packed story that thankfully feels smaller-scaled yet still large enough to excite, The Marvels is at its worst the kind of MCU film that should be the baseline for what we get moving forward, and at its best, a competent if not slightly undercooked comic book film that satisfies well enough to be a success. But even with all of that said and an overall feel and level of quality that harkens back to the MCU’s Phase 1 offerings (complete with an underdeveloped and almost entirely inconsequential main villain), The Marvels stumbles slightly more than it soars thanks to a script that doesn’t always click, made especially apparent by more than a few moments that feel rushed, Frankensteined together, or cut up entirely, something I think might have come about due to an unusually short final runtime that feels like it might have been altered more than once for reasons unknown. Furthermore, I can see how The Marvels would be one an MCU entry that’s almost impossible to follow by general audiences, something that might be a detriment to the accessibility of the film but luckily wasn’t an issue for me because I’m hopelessly…

7

Marvelously Mediocre

The Verdict

7

7

Brian is first and foremost a nerd in every way shape and form. He likes to compare himself to a black hole, consuming any and every form of entertainment unlucky enough to get caught in his gravitational pull. It's not uncommon on any given day for him to read a couple comics, settle down with a good book, watch a few movies (inside and out of the theater), catch up on his ever growing but never depleting Hulu queue, challenge himself with a few good video games, listen to any music he can get his hands on and, of course, write his heart out. He spends every waking moment dreaming up interesting and intriguing concepts and ideas that will hopefully one day inspire and entertain anyone looking for an escape from their daily lives. Graduating from Full Sail University in good old humid Florida, Brian currently lives and works in New York City and is waiting for the day when all he has to do is wake up and create something unique and new for people to enjoy. He is always in the process of writing scripts and stories and is constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance and build his creative drive. After all, life is just one big story, all that really matters is how you strive to make it the best story possible. Disclaimer: Brian does not actually have powdered green skin in case anyone was wondering. A Skrull I am not. Blame the guys at the Color Run for this one.

Comments are closed.