‘The Marvels’ Spoiler-Free Review
The Marvels arrived on Friday, 10th November, and what a fun addition to the MCU it is! Despite the negativity surrounding the film and a less-than-stellar opening weekend, the film is a delightful and refreshing journey with three fantastic characters. Not only does it do a brilliant job of expanding the story of Carol Danvers/ Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), but it’s also a fun way of bringing Kamala Khan/ Ms Marvel (Iman Vellani) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) into the main fold of the MCU. This is all brought together by Nia DaCosta in a fun and exciting film.
As we can see from the trailers, the story of The Marvels focuses on our main trio getting a little mixed up when they use their powers. But that’s just the surface, and this serves to explore each of the characters a little more. Mostly, we learn more about Carol and Monica, and what they’ve been up to in the time since we last saw them. While some parts of the story can, at times, feel a little rushed this is necessary, and it doesn’t take away from the overall feel of the film. The resolution of the film is one of those moments that feels a little bit rushed and too convenient. It doesn’t take away how fun the rest of it is, but it feels somewhat forced into an ending that both rounds out the main story and leads nicely into future films.
The story is low stakes in relation to the MCU in its entirety but holds a lot of importance for our main three characters. They’re all still relatively new characters in the MCU who have a lot of story and powers to explore. And while the central plot may be lacking at times, it’s a perfect way for all three to grow, explore, and come together. But it doesn’t just explore their personal stories. We also get to see more of the friendships and relationships (old and new), and how they help to shape who they are.
Overall, while the story might not hold too much importance for the future of the MCU, it’s fun, endearing, and a good character profile. It’s a refreshing take on a standard Marvel format that we know all too well.
The look and feel of the film are mostly what you’d expect from a Marvel film. The film goes from bright and colourful scenes to dark and shadowy moments. We do get to see a bit more of the cosmic world surrounding the MCU and what there is to offer, and it’s interesting to take a trip to some other planets for a little while.
Aesthetically, there is still that very clean and colourful look of a Marvel film, and it doesn’t branch out too much, but seeing Carol, Monica and Kamala using their powers together works really well. Although their powers are linked, they each have a unique look to them that works together on the screen. And while there are a few blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments where the CGI isn’t quite up to par, it’s overall a solid film that looks good.
While we do get faint hints of the style that made Ms Marvel and WandaVision unique at times, it would have been good if they went with this a little further. Both of those shows worked so well and could have been great together. But, as with all of their films, Marvel seems to pick playing it safe over branching out into new areas.
One of the things that Nia DaCosta does very well is finding the balance between humour, emotion, and action. There are the standard quips and jokes that can be expected in a Marvel film, but it doesn’t overpower the story. In fact, it fits perfectly with Carol, Monica and Kamala. Each one is fun and independent and knows how to have a laugh and hold their own. Throw in the rest of the Khan family and some quintessential Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), then you have a beautifully light humour that isn’t overwhelming.
This is then balanced well with the emotion and action of the film. All of these characters have some kind of relation to the other, and whether it’s a sense of loss, separation, or admiration, DaCosta brings it all together in a way that feels real and isn’t trying to smack you over the head. This works especially well with the film’s villain, Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton). She’s emotional and angry, but it isn’t too much, and she isn’t belittled with quips in the most intense moments.
Marvel is great at bringing together a good cast. And with The Marvels, they’ve really excelled. The main villain may not be anything too crazy or influential in the MCU, but she works well in the film and helps to progress the story. Add to that Nick Fury and the way he interacts with the Khan family, and it adds some extra levity and meaning to the film.
The best thing about it is the interaction between the titular characters. Carol, Monica, and Kamala have fantastic chemistry on screen right from the beginning. As soon as the three come together it feels natural and you can tell that they were having fun making this. They bounce off each other with the humour and the action. And when the scenes are more emotional, it works so well.
The all-female leading cast is also something that I’m really happy about. This isn’t just the fan-service of “she’s not alone” in Endgame. This is bringing together some of the most powerful women in the Marvel Universe and letting them shine individually and together. Despite the hate this film seems to be getting, seeing these characters together (both heroes and villain) is a step forward Marvel needed to make.
But the standout star of the film is Iman Vellani. We already knew she was perfect as Kamala Khan from the show, but everything she does in this film is brilliant. She’s the right amount of fangirl and superhero and has some beautifully tender moments. While the film is leaning more towards a Captain Marvel sequel, Vellani shines through and really steals the show.
The Marvels is a great film that is genuinely a fun experience. With a talented cast telling an entertaining story, this is going to be a trip to the cinema that’s worthwhile. The film definitely has some shortcomings and is by no means perfect. There needs to be more adventure with the style and editing, and more consistent CGI. But despite this, it’s a great film that’s a welcome addition to the MCU, and I can’t wait to see what happens with The Marvels next.
The Marvels is out now in cinemas.