Higher. Further. Faster. Better?
The Marvels is the newest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) which started back in 2008 with the Robert Downey Jr. led Iron Man. Since than there have been 33 movies released with a dozen more in active development. With all of that has come an number of special presentation and limited series that have released on Disney+ to broaden the MCU has a whole through its streaming platform. So with that being said The Marvels’ isn’t just a sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel, it’s also a sequel of sorts to Disney+’s Wanda/Vision and Ms. Marvel.
That’s a lot of content to contend with and may seem like further “required work” to understand what exactly is going on in The Marvels. Luckily Marvel thought of that beforehand and quickly bring you up to speed on who our three leads are and what they can do. Overall the movie handles this aspect really well as the callbacks to other MCU projects are more specific to characters rather than several over-arching plot points.
I did find Brie Larson to be a lot more enjoyable in this film then here previous MCU appearances. The story and direction found an interesting way to use her singing talents, and she reacts well off her co-leads, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani. Vellani brings the same level of charm to The Marvels as she did in Ms. Marvel. Every time she’s on screen there’s a sense of bubbly wonder as she’s thrusted into a event where she finds herself teaming up with her idol, Captain Marvel. While her fawning over Carol does at time feel off pace, it is very similar to how Tom Holland’s Peter Parker idolized Tony Stark throughout the Homecoming Trilogy. Teyonah Parris was exceptionally good in the Marvels. I thought she was great in Wanda/Vision but her performance in the Marvels is much more personal and she sticks the landing in her character arch, becoming one of the most important characters in the MCU in the process.
The action scenes in The Marvel’s were some of the best the MCU have done, although topping scenes from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 seems like an impossible task. The dynamic of Carol, Monica and Kamala switching places at every instance one of them uses their powers was quite a tall order to try and choreograph. However by the films climatic battle it blends so well it gives me hope for future team based action scenes that are undoubtably coming in the MCU’s future.
A curse that seems to loom over the MCU unfortunately continues in The Marvels. We get another rather forgettable villain in Dar-Benn which is at no fault to Zawe Ashton’s portrayal of the character. Dar-Benn, while having good motivation to carry out her attacks, seems eerily empty. Her threat level seems to be strictly induced by villains and plot points from those before her. While it is cool to see the callback to the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy’s Ronan the Accuser, we don’t see anything exceptional at first, that has Dar-Benn stand as a threat on her own before she acquires some back up in the form of the Quantum Bands.
In the end The Marvels is a good mid-tier MCU entry that I think may do more to fuel the onset of superhero-fatigue than reel general audiences back in. With a big future for the MCU ahead as Avengers: The Kang Dynasty gets closer, the MCU is in a rut to wow general audiences. One exciting aspect of that future gets but on full display in the mid-credit scene, while yet another MCU project long rumored to be in development takes its first step forward.
The Marvels – 6/10