Thursday, November 9, 2023

The Marvels

Mashing together heroes from the MCU with tenuous connections, The Marvels teams up Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) whose powers become linked leading to the trio swapping places across the universe and forcing them to come together and work as a team to stop a crazy Kree (Zawe Ashton) with a hammer and the other half of Ms. Marvel's gauntlets causing trouble across the universe while attempting to simultaneously heal the Kree homeworld and get revenge against Carol Danvers.

While the the plot doesn't make the most sense, The Marvels is certainly lighthearted and fun, much of that coming from injecting Kamala into the mix and allowing her to fan girl out and provide the bridge to bring Carol and Monica together. Avoiding the albatross that is the Kang storyline other Marvel properties are forced to endure, The Marvels offers a wacky space adventure that may be goofy nonsense, but it's mostly entertaining goofy nonsense.

That said, there are plenty of head-scratching moments to the film. The wackiest Marvel film since Thor: Ragnarok lacks the same comedic punch as Thor's crazy space adventure. Not a single character's motivations come from this film forcing flashbacks to do heaving lifting in piecing together storylines for the audience from separate movies and television shows. One positive note of these flashbacks is it finally gives audiences a reason why Carol Danvers never returned to Earth until the Blip. The film also continues the MCU's flipflop in the role of the Skrull moving forward turning them them back into the refugees introduced in Captain Marvel and completing ignoring their roles as terrorists in Secret Invasion (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your opinion of the show).

You'll either accept or constantly question the word soup science mumbo jumbo to what our Marvels are attempting to stop, how they are brought together, and whether or not the plans of Ashton's Dar-Benn make any sense. Our latest evil Kree soldier is a bit too similar to Ronan (a character who I felt was hit-and-miss himself in Guardians of the Galaxy) with her hammer and genocidal tendencies that threatens Earth and several other planets across the universe but never feels all that threatening. Despite the chaos she causes, no Avenger nor other Marvel hero not already central to the plot make an appearance which is a growing problem with worldwide threats given how larger the hero count of the MCU has grown.

The Marvels does integrate Kamala's family into the storyline with them being drawn into the conflict given the switching of the their daughter with the other two heroes and keeps those familial ties alive for Kamala while she goes out on the glorious space team-up she always dreamed of. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to his role as minor supporting character, which better fits the MCU-designed version of Fury, questioning events and providing some timely insight and advice to our heroes (and wisecracks for the audience). The plot aboard the space station is the one spot where the 105-minute running-time feels a bit long and has some fat which could be easily trimmed to cut out five or ten minutes.

Speaking of plot, the singing planet feels like a bit rather than an alien world, even for the wackier tone the film is going for, and lacks a punchline to justify the joke. At one point Kamala makes use of her power without her gauntlet which isn't explained or even noticed by other characters. Also, the film leaves several threads hanging with how it leaves events after the film's climax some of which are rather important including what becomes of the artifact that started all the craziness to begin with. 

The ending scenes, including the mid-credit scene, offer glimpses to where the MCU might dip its toes in next which admittedly look more interesting that various recent Marvel projects (and, honestly, more interesting to me than much of the plot of this film). The Marvels skates by mostly on charm, strong effects, and the female energy of our heroic trio which helps cover up many of the rougher spots in the script. Because it was never dealt with prior, The Marvels is forced to deal with Carol's personal baggage here. While this works feeding into the motivations of our villain, it doesn't solve the awkwardness of waiting so long to deal with these events and their consequences which doesn't do the character or the movie any favors.

  • Title: The Marvels
  • IMDb: link

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