• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

THE MARVELS – Can This Trio of Heroes Save a Struggling MCU?

ByTaylor T Carlson

Nov 8, 2023

THE MARVELS is directed by Nia DaCosta. The film stars Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Zawe Ashton, Gary Lewis, Park Seo-joon, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh, and Samuel L. Jackson. It’s film 33 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, and Monica Rambeau are thrust into a new adventure together when their powers cross, resulting in disastrous switching of places between the trio of heroines. Dar-Benn, the new leader of the Kree Empire, sets out to restore their dying world by any means necessary, resulting in crossing paths with the heroes, thrusting them into one of their most intense battles yet.

When the Marvel Cinematic Universe started way back in 2008, it seemed like the franchise that could do wrong. It’s been a cinematic juggernaut, raking in billions of dollars at the box office. Unfortunately, the series has stumbled a few times following the end of its third phase. For every SHANG-CHI there’s been an ETERNALS to drag the once-great franchise back down. The franchise also features several Disney+ television series to further expand the universe and multiverse. It’s gotten to be a bit too much, and it doesn’t help that the franchise has become a hit-and-miss one.

THE MARVELS is the latest movie in the MCU, and it’s yet another mixed bag for the House of Marvel. The cast is superb, and the movie’s blend of action and humor is nice, plus it’s good to get a briskly-paced film that clocks in at under two hours. But the tonal inconsistencies are some of the most jarring in the entire MCU, and the stock villain-of-the-week bad guys don’t do the final product any favors.

Let’s start with what THE MARVELS does best. Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel is some of the best MCU casting of recent years. This young lady as adorable and clearly has a great time being on screen playing this character. Whether she’s using her powers to save the innocent or fangirling over her hero Captain Marvel, I had a smile on my face every time she was on screen.

The pacing also scores points as well. This may very well be the shortest feature film in the MCU, but the brisk pace means less wasted time and more fun action sequences. The actors and actresses in the film clearly have fun with the material they’re given, and there are some decent gripping and dramatic moments.

Unfortunately, THE MARVELS isn’t all… well… marvelous. The biggest problem the movie has is its tone. Or rather, tones. This movie can’t decide what it wants to be. The opening sequence has a hilarious hand-drawn sequence of Kamala Khan envisioning meeting and teaming up with Captain Marvel. If they’d made THAT movie, I have a feeling I’d be writing a glowing review. The movie goes from being laugh-out-loud hilarious to trying to tell a story about world genocides and displaced intergalactic refugees. And yet, the entire plot feels tertiary to everything else in the movie. Even the villainess in the movie (I had to look up her name, Dar-Benn, because the character was so bland and forgettable) is the standard stock stereotype we get in the majority of MCU films. Earlier cosmic-set Marvel movies had the rather bland Ronan the Accuser as a villain, and she seems like an even more bland and generic version of what was already a lesser MCU baddie. Of all the things in THE MARVELS that appear on screen, it’s sad that the weakest feature and biggest problem is the central plot. Or lack thereof.

Other elements fare even worse. I love Samuel L. Jackson. The guy is a hilarious bad-ass, but at this point, what’s left for him to do in the MCU? It feels like he was just thrown into this movie for the sake of star power. As much as I love Jackson and his portrayal of Nick Fury, it may truly be time to retire this character. Other elements of Captain Marvel’s past feel rushed and glossed over, and a sequence of her visiting a race of people who communicate by singing may very well be the single worst thing to ever come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When Disney took over Marvel, it didn’t mean they were supposed to start turning Marvel movies into Disney musicals. This is made even worse by the fact that the people/characters/etc. in question are largely forgotten and brushed aside after this scene. As so many elements throughout the film are.

THE MARVELS ain’t marvelous. There are some shining lights, the biggest one of which being young Iman Vellani’s performance as Ms. Marvel, but the movie tries to do too much and can’t decide what it wants to be. It’s not a total loss, but it’s far from a win for the MCU. Wait for the Disney+ release on this one.

Stick around for a mid-credits scene that’s far more interesting than anything in the core of the movie. But don’t stay until the end of the credits; there’s just some goofy sound effects and nothing plot relevant or worthwhile.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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