Marvel has been getting a lot flack lately, especially with the upcoming release of The Marvels. The film itself went through multiple reshoots and pushed its release twice. To many, especially the “film bros,” this marks the sign of a disaster waiting to happen. But, the end result of The Marvels wasn’t that bad.
In the new film, Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) learns of the ramifications of her actions against the Kree Supreme Intelligence from the first film. During this time, she interacts with a wormhole linked to the Kree, causing her powers to become entangled with S.A.B.E.R. astronaut Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani).
For the most part, The Marvels is a fun and entertaining film with equal parts of action, emotional moments, and hilarious instances. The action/ fight sequences were well choreographed and edited, especially between Carol, Monica, and Kamala as they switched places while using their cosmic powers, placing them in completely different background settings. Those scenes were quite mesmerizing.
The emotional bits of the film relate to the tension between Carol and Monica. After all these years, Monica was not over her feeling of abandonment by Carol. Throughout the first act, the two awkwardly try to talk it out with Carol explaining her absence, “[The Skrulls] needed me.” Monica shoots back emotionally, “We needed you.” Though individually talented, Larson and Parris lacked chemistry between each other, even in moments where they seem to have made up. It’s Vellani who ties the string together to believe they’re actually a team.
To be frank, the film wouldn’t have worked at all without Kamala. Vellani was a standout in the film, bringing the charm and hilarity from the Disney+’s Ms. Marvel series. She brought levity to the film as the new team player to the two stern heroes. Even the most whimsical of scenes, which included an inutile musical number, would have felt awkward without Kamala to ease the tension with her comical observations.
Yet, the film falters with the uneven plot, idiosyncratic gimmicks, and one-dimensional villain. The beginning of the film was a bit confusing as so much time (and Marvel content) has passed between the first film and this current one, it took a bit to realize who the villain was or at least where they came from. Even after you realize what is going on, it’s hard to gauge where the first act ends and the second begins.
Then there is Goose the Flerken. While Goose may have been the star in the first film, the character itself starts feeling a bit trite. The initial “tentacle grab” was funny alongside Kamala’s reaction, but becomes timeworn as Goose continues to use her tentacles to engulf more and even clean herself. The addition of Goose’s baby flerkens does add some warm heartfelt feelings, but even that eventually becomes played out.
The Kree villain, Dar-Brenn (Zawe Ashton), is shown to have good intentions for committing such heinous acts. She wants to help the people of Hala whose planet’s resources were destroyed after Carol demolished the Supreme Intelligence – the machine that maintained Hala. But there was nothing redeeming or remarkable about the character to care about her or her cause. The character felt hollow and forgettable.
The film’s VFX was much better than the previous Marvel films of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Thor: Love and Thunder. The transition shots of the trio switching were wonderfully done. It was everywhere else that felt rushed, including Monica’s “glow-up” and the beloved flerkens.
Despite the film’s many faults, The Marvels is truly a lot of fun. Director Nia DaCosta plays on the characters’ quirkiness and heightens it by bringing a musical planet — starring the very attractive but highly underused Seo-joon Park as Prince Yan, baby flerkens, and Kamala’s uproarious family who have no idea what’s going on. It just doesn’t know when enough is enough. But still, the surprise cameos and mid-credit scene were a joy — but only if you know Marvel canon. This film may be confusing for those who haven’t kept up with the lore.
The Marvels is far from perfect. But, it’s nonetheless entertaining. It’s exciting to see three women superheroes actually work together — none of the Endgame “female empowerment” scenes. But, actually complementing each others’ individual powers to get the job done. Marvel has the right idea and wonderful characters, but they just need to figure out how to execute it smoothly.
Also, Marvel, please give Park his own movie. He deserves it.