By Grace Hogsten
“The Marvels,” the newest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is an action-packed romp through space that features complex characters and investigates the consequences of high-powered superhero battles.
The film follows the team-up of three of Marvel’s newest female heroes: Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani). Building upon previous MCU lore, “The Marvels” expands the character of Captain Marvel and firmly establishes “WandaVision”’s Monica Rambeau and “Ms. Marvel”’s titular character as heroes who belong in the MCU.
Due to the similar nature of their superpowers, the three superheroes begin unintentionally swapping places each time they use their powers after Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), a Kree leader and the movie’s antagonist, takes the order of the universe into her own hands.
The heroes form a team to counter Dar-Benn’s interplanetary attacks and traverse the universe together, all the while navigating their group dynamic.
With action sequences full of CGI blasts and plenty of silly one-liners, “The Marvels” has all the hallmarks of a typical Marvel film. The sweeping score impacts the audience’s emotions, and its humorous musical sequence — which plays out for a few minutes too long — offers a few moments of levity before returning to the main conflict.
However, “The Marvels” is not all fight scenes and laugh lines; it is a movie about consequences and life after tragedy, which it establishes early on with a scene where scores of civilians die because of the heroes’ intervention. According to Vox, “Beneath a layer of slapstick, ‘The Marvels’ is a warning about hero worship.”
Captain Marvel, the film’s most established superhero, grapples with the consequences of the battles she fought and the connections she lost over the course of her career.
Monica Rambeau, whose mother died while Monica was gone during “the blip,” struggles to connect her present-day relationship with Captain Marvel and her previous childhood relationship with her “aunt Carol.”
Ms. Marvel, also known as Kamala Khan, is a starry-eyed teenager with unlocked potential who initially does not understand the weight of being a hero. Throughout the film, she struggles to balance her own personal development with her idolization of Captain Marvel.
The movie is not without faults; it could do with a few less cheesy jokes interrupting the storyline. According to The Verge, “‘The Marvels’ definitely stumbles with a few important elements like its early pacing and an unevenness with editing.”
Nevertheless, “The Marvels” tells a compelling story and follows the MCU formula to a new ending that hints at future adventures.
Unfortunately, the film is not doing well at the box office and appears to be another victim of an inopportune release date at the tail end of the strike.
According to Forbes, “‘The Marvels’ hits like the summer popcorn blockbusters we want from Marvel — the problem being, it’s autumn of a particularly unfriendly year for cinema.”
Despite its limited box office success, “The Marvels” points towards an exciting future for Marvel that includes storylines with a more complex view of power and violence, as well as more women and characters of color.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Photo Caption: Academy-Award winner Brie Larson leads “The Marvels” as Carol Danvers, also known as Captain Marvel.