Where to Watch: Theaters
Nia DaCosta, Megan McDonnell, Elissa Karasik
Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Samuel L. Jackson, Zawe Ashton, Gary Lewis, Park Seo-joon
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
All media courtesy of Marvel Studios
Salt Lake City, UT (ABC4) – The Marvels is the continuation of Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. An enemy from afar possessing an ancient weapon sends Carol’s powers into flux, phasing herself with her best friend’s daughter Monica Rambeau, and New Jersey’s biggest Captain Marvel fan, Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel. The three will have to team up and learn to synchronize with each other’s powers to stop a multiversal threat that could destroy everything they know.
We’re in phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, less than halfway through this Multiversal saga that’s concept has been executed (for better or for worse) in many other films since Avengers Endgame.
Sadly the SAG-AFTRA strikes continue to delay film after film because artists don’t want their faces scanned and likenesses used in perpetuity even after they’re dead (ugh, so selfish right?). Not to mention the Kang in the room still not being addressed by Marvel or any hints of what their plans are aside from recent articles “guesstimating” how much damage control the studio is in.
When all that is piled on to just wanting to like a film… I just don’t think that’s fair. Every critic weighs for themselves how it impacts their opinion, but to me, I genuinely found myself having a decent time with The Marvels regardless, and so can you!
What I appreciate most about Nia DaCosta’s directing and style here is that The Marvels has a lot of identity to it. Much like how in phase 1 of the MCU, we had more contrasting visual and directorial styles, such as Iron Man or Thor, this feels like DaCosta was free to create, and I loved so much of it.
There are some great jokes, as is typical with Marvel, but with Iman Vellani leading the heart of the story, her light shines brightest of all.
I loved Kamala’s spirit, and how her family is integral to her character and very well utilized (especially Kamala’s mother played by Zenobia Shroff). I loved how much of a fan-first she is with being a hero, where maybe her biggest flaw is freezing immediately upon seeing an Avenger she knows, but she must never change. Of course, Goose is back with the same joke used in Captain Marvel, mileage may vary here.
Carol and Monica have a lot to catch up on with where they left off in Captain Marvel, and while I feel it was explored, I wanted to see a bit more depth in those characters than what we got.
I know Nia DaCosta has defended the shorter runtime, clocking in as the shortest MCU movie to date, but if there could be more it would be from properly building those scenes. Nick Fury serves an important role but isn’t completely thrust into the main conflict like in the first Captain Marvel. Still, I prefer him much more here than I did to Secret Invasion.
I like that this film isn’t solely on Captain Marvel, but it does feel like Carol’s story is a little short-changed where I feel they wanted to explore more but didn’t get any time for it. I think Brie Larson has found her vibe with the character and she does great here with trying to be a leader, but also leaning into the team dynamic.
My gripes stem mostly from the generic villain. Don’t get me wrong, Zawe Ashton is a terrific actor and she did as much as she could with the part given, but this part was underwritten. I don’t want to knock the scenes with poor effects, cause we know why at this point and it’s low-hanging fruit. Honestly, the effects were fairly well done.
Overall, I think this was a positive step forward for both the MCU and Captain Marvel. There’s a lot to like here, but a lot of familiar beats that may or may not work for you.