Release Date: 9 November 2023
Platform: In Cinemas
Despite the best efforts of haters online, 2019’s Captain Marvel proved to be a big success, raking in $1.1 billion worldwide and quickly having a sequel greenlit with star Brie Larson. Four years later and that sequel has morphed into an all-female team-up which sees the biggest crossover between Marvel Studios TV and film properties to date with Teyonah Parris reprising her role as an older Monica Rambeau from WandaVision and Iman Velllani’s Kamala Khan and her family making their transition to the big screen from Ms. Marvel.
The film takes place 30 years after Captain Marvel, and only moments after the end credits scene of Ms Marvel. After the new Kree leader Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) acquires a bracelet very similar to the one worn by Kamala Kahn on a distant planet, she accidentally entangles Kamala, Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau together, causing them to begin to switch places when they use their powers. After some initial hesitation and teething pains, the trio are soon chasing Dar-Benn from planet to planet in order to free themselves and stop her from causing devastating damage to the universe.
The Marvel’s is not going to win over anyone with its plot. The film ends up feeling disjointed with the team moving from situation to situation with an information dump to explain why they’re going there. More often than not the plot feels like it is checking things off a list rather than telling a compelling story.
This isn’t to say there aren’t some great sequences in the film or cool ideas, because there certainly are. The initial fight sequence where the three women are stitching places and fighting battles at multiple locations is so much fun and takes full advantage of the film’s core concept. Unfortunately, no sequence after it quite comes close to it, with the finale being an underwhelming affair, while there are a number of loose ends that don’t have a satisfying conclusion.
The film also lacks a really good villain, which is disappointing because Dar-Benn’s motivations and goals are interesting. Despite being presented as a credible threat to the titular trio, she comes across as a one-note villain who few will remember going forward.
What this film does have going for it is a fantastic ensemble cast with Iman Vellani shining brightly. Anyone who watched Ms. Marvel knows she is a delightful and a perfect fit for Kamala Khan and this is no different, being the positive, endearing, funny and sometimes cringy energy that brings out the best in her two teammates who have some serious friction. If there was any doubt that she is one of the best new additions to the MCU, this surely put them to bed.
Brie Larson is still playing the stoic heroine but this time getting to have some more fun, with a bunch of silly moments and a very fun musical moment, which just might win over some of the haters (probably not though). Teyonah Parris is good as Monica Rambeau, but with her two teammates at opposite ends of the personality spectrum, she isn’t as standout as the one in the middle. She does have some really good comedic and character moments and tries her best to make the climax of the film somewhat emotional. The chemistry between the three of them is fantastic and makes the threadbare story enjoyable to sit through.
Samuel L. Jackson quickly makes you forget all about Secret Invasion with a fun appearance with a bunch of wisecracks and one of the craziest evacuation plans you’ll ever see. It was also great to see Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff), Yusuf (Mohan Kapur) and Aamir Khan (Saagar Shaikh) also make the transition to the big screen. While they are primarily used for comic relief, the moments of family are a welcome addition to the film.
Much had been made of the visual effects and how the film had been delayed several times due to them, but the film looks pretty solid. It isn’t Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 3, but it certainly isn’t Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. Some of the switching at the start is a little visually jarring, but it was something I got used to as the film went along.
The Marvels is proof that charm and charisma will take you far, with this team of three women proving a joy to tag along with through a middling, disjointed adventure. While this is unlikely to be anyone’s favourite Marvel film, every character comes out looking better and with more potential stories going forward, which should help to instil some faith into the future of the MCU, which it desperately needs.
Ashley Hobley attended an advance screening of The Marvels thanks to The Walt Disney Company Australia and Event Cinemas.