The Marvels is the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Nia DaCosta, the film intertwines the stories of superheroes Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau.
In The Marvels, the Kree species finds itself in the midst of a devastating civil war after the collapse of the Supreme Intelligence. Their home planet, Hala, suffers greatly as it loses its vital resources of air, water, and sunlight.
Enter Dar-Benn (played by Zawe Ashton), the new leader of the Kree, who manages to obtain one-half of the powerful Quantum Bands. On the other side of the equation is Kamala Khan (played by Iman Vellani), aka Ms. Marvel, a die-hard fan of Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson) from Jersey City who possesses the other half of the band. Dar-Benn combines the Quantum Bands with her staff, known as the Universal Weapon, in a desperate attempt to revive Hala. Her plan involves creating jump points to other planets and harnessing their energy.
When Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) discovers an anomalous wormhole, he calls on Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, and Carol’s estranged niece, Monica Rambeau (played by Teyonah Parris). As they investigate this anomaly, Carol’s powers become entangled with those of Kamala and Monica. As a result, whenever one of these heroes unleashes their abilities, the three of them find themselves switching places.
This powerful predicament forces them to join forces to save the universe from Dar-Benn’s reckless actions, as the repeated rupturing of jump points destabilizes the network and poses a grave threat to the entire universe.
The concept behind The Marvels is undeniably intriguing. As a follow-up to previous installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie builds upon the rich chronicles and introduces a new pact and storyline. The idea of uniting three superheroes, particularly one who is both eccentric and a rather fresh addition to the crime-fighting world, evokes a sense of anticipation for an enjoyable and unforgettable cinematic journey.
Sadly, the movie does not fully deliver on this. The storyline, while having potential, lacks the necessary depth and coherence to captivate the audience. It feels fragmented and disjointed, struggling to find a cohesive narrative direction. As a result, certain plot points and character arcs are left unexplored or resolved in a rushed manner, leaving me unsatisfied.
Furthermore, the script of The Marvels falls short in maintaining a consistent tone throughout the movie. And while the inclusion of comedy in superhero films has become a prevalent trend, it can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, the injection of humor provides a refreshing and lighthearted atmosphere, offering a breather from intense action sequences. On the other hand, when used excessively or inappropriately, it can detract from the film’s overall impact. Unfortunately, this is where The Marvels falters. Some of the comedic moments are forced and contrived, lacking the natural flow and wit that make humor truly enjoyable. It’s evident that the filmmakers were aiming for levity, but the execution is heavy-handed at times.
The chemistry among the trio of superheroes is another aspect that leaves room for improvement. While there are instances where their interactions shine, creating moments of charm and sisterhood, there are also moments that feel unnatural and unconvincing. It’s as if the characters are trying too hard to establish a connection, leading to dialogue and interactions that can be perceived as stilted and scripted. A truly organic connection among the characters is pivotal in making the audience emotionally invested in their journey, and this is an area where The Marvels underperforms.
The film further disappoints in its compatibility with the average movie-goer, primarily due to the need for substantial familiarity with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. To truly appreciate and comprehend the characters in The Marvels, one must invest hours in watching the individual series on Disney+ that some of these characters appear in. This extensive viewing is necessary to develop a genuine understanding and attachment to the primary protagonists. For those who haven’t undertaken this pre-requisite research, certain characters may come across as underdeveloped or lacking in depth.
Surprisingly, it’s Carol’s pet, Goose, a seemingly insignificant character, that manages to steal the spotlight in terms of humor and intrigue. The mischievous antics and surprising characteristics of the Flerken, an alien creature resembling Earth’s cats but equipped with protruding tentacles from its mouth that can engulf a person, offer some genuinely amusing and enthralling scenes. It’s undeniable that Goose’s presence adds a layer of enjoyment to the film, even surpassing the intended comedic elements associated with the main cast.
To sum it up, while The Marvels has its moments of entertainment and intrigue, it ultimately falls within the realm of a typical superhero movie. It lacks the originality and freshness that could have set it apart from its predecessors. While it’s not an outright awful film, it doesn’t quite reach the heights necessary to be considered memorable. With room for improvement in terms of storytelling and scriptwriting, it leaves me hoping for a more compelling and innovative installment in the future.
The Marvels is in theaters beginning November 10. There is a post-credit scene.