And so we come to the 33rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Marvels is a bit like a mini-Avengers in that it isn’t single character lead. We have a trio running things under the control of Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson); Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani). The three quasi-Avengers are taking on a villain seeking revenge for the outcome following the destruction of the Supreme Intelligence. This villain is the new leader of the Kree, Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton).
There is a variety of feeds for The Marvels. Having seen all the relevant media, it’s hard for me to say how much of them you need to see to make sense of things but, I think, The Marvels is fairly self sufficient. Captain Marvel is the origin film for Carol Danvers, WandaVision shows how Monica Rambeau gets her powers, while Ms Marvel tells the story of Kamala Khan. If pushed, I would say that Captain Marvel gave the most to The Marvels. It introduced the villains, some of the people who are being oppressed, and the heroes who save the day.
Black Girl Magic…NOW!
Popping back into being in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we find ourselves on Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel’s ship drifting through space. We are also introduced to Dar-Benn who is searching for the quantum bands which will help her restore her home planet of Hala which got the rough end of the stick when Carol Marvel/Captain Danvers wound up her solo feature outing. Dar-Benn finds one of the MacGuffins on a desolate planet but is a bit annoyed that there is only one when she was expecting to find two. Of course, those of us who have seen Ms Marvel know exactly where the other one is!
While stomping around searching for stuff Dar-Benn is randomly opening up portals, jump points, in space and this is what catches the eye of Nick Fury and his underlings. While she is jumping around the universe Dar-Benn is also stealing things from weaker planets to patch up Hala. Unfortunately, what she is taking is little things like air, water, and sunlight which means that the other planets become less than habitable. When one of the planets Dar-Benn targets is the one we’re sitting on and what she decides to take is sunlight, that’s when we sit up and take notice.
I Always Come Back
Our three superheroes become aware of each other when their powers get merged thanks to a dodgy jump point. The upshot if this is that when any two of them use their powers at the same time they swap places regardless of how far apart they are. This leads to some very amusing scenes especially while they are learning about this wrinkle and each other. The real joy of The Marvels is the delight and fangirl behaviour displayed by Iman Vellani offset by the sheer evil charm of Zawe Ashton. Both of these characters grab your attention every second that they are on the screen.
Running for one and three quarter hours it is the shortest MCU film to date and I think that that is a definite plus. The Marvels is tight, well paced, and snappy. Maybe that is a lesson that the MCU needs to take on board. It is also very funny…Aladna is a planet where everyone sings instead of speaks and it is delightful! Throw in a whole swathe of cameo appearances and clever sight gags and The Marvels is a cavalcade of laughs, nostalgia, and excitement for what’s to come. In my opinion, The Marvels is, quite simply, the best MCU film for some time. After a few duds, I am now looking forward to the rest of Phase 5 and beyond.
Movie Grade: A+
Read Dan’s, much less forgiving, review of The Marvels: Grade D.
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!