There is no question that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is one of the biggest media franchises of all time. At this point, there are over 40 movies, TV shows and even TV specials that make up this vast series of storytelling. “The Marvels” serves as the latest installment in the franchise as well as a sequel to “Captain Marvel” (2019) with Brie Larson reprising her lead role as Carol Danvers and Captain Marvel. She is also joined by Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, who debuted as the character in Marvel’s Disney+ miniseries “WandaVision” (2021), as well as Hollywood newcomer Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan and Ms. Marvel making her big screen debut after first appearing in another Marvel Disney+ series “Ms. Marvel” (2022). The three of them make up “The Marvels.” Samuel L. Jackson, returning as Nick Fury, has been around since the MCU’s beginning in 2008 and has more recently appeared in yet another Marvel Disney+ series “Secret Invasion” earlier this year. With all of this groundwork, though, does it culminate with an exciting time at the movies? The answer to that question: it is certainly not bad but, unfortunately, it falls short of being marvelous.
“The Marvels” comes out at an interesting time for MCU. Again, there are now over 40 projects that have been released, and half of them came out in the last few years with a bunch of them receiving mixed responses. Add to the fact that this is a movie led by three women of diverse backgrounds and there is already an entire portion of the internet in uproar. So much so that before the movie was even out, people on the internet were already claiming the film as “woke trash,” among other responses. As someone who has actually seen the movie, that hate is purely overreactive and not deserved at all, but the movie has its fair share of criticism.
Let’s start with the positives as they are the saving grace of this film. Iman Vellani is a joy to see on screen just like she was in the “Ms. Marvel” series. She captures the fan perspective of being in this world with powerful heroes like how Tom Holland did when he first debuted as Spider-Man in 2016. There is also a lot of fun to be had with the action, especially in a fight scene that happens when our three Marvels begin switching with each other, even if the rules behind that are as inconsistent and confusing as they can get. There is also room for a classic Disney musical number that happens and alien space cats eating people. The movie is also an hour and 45 minutes long, so the fun does not overstay its welcome and there are a couple great appearances near the end that dive too deep into spoiler territory for fans that are interested. With all of that said, the movie itself has a hard time working on other levels.
Since the movie is so short, it is able to move at a quick enough pace to not drag on but at the cost of potentially good moments that could have been fleshed out more and gave some more emotion. There is a scene where Carol (Larson) is telling her team why she stays up in space and never returns to Earth. It was a little emotional, but it happened so quickly that it was swept under the rug like nothing happened. We also find out insane details about Carol’s personal life and what she has done the last 30 years she has been active, but it is all rushed through and not developed enough. Monica and Kamala also do not get much more development because of the rushed nature, but Kamala is just naturally a blast to watch. However, poor Jackson gets nothing to do either.
At the end of the day, if you are looking for a fun time that involves literal fangirling, a Disney musical number, an unusual number of cats and surprise superhero appearances, “The Marvels” is the film for you. If you are looking for something more than that or are tuned out of the MCU already, “The Marvels” probably will not win you over. However, you should go see it just to form your own opinion as there is too much overdramatic toxicity on the internet surrounding this film.