Many people share your concern or indifference about the MCU’s current situation. The MCU has faced a lot of negative press due to the writers & actors strike, the poor treatment and compensation of the VFX Artists, and the declining quality of their recent projects. It is fair to say that the MCU has had better days. The Marvels only adds to the worries. With reports of multiple rewrites, delays, and two characters that require watching the Marvel Disney+ shows to understand, both casual and hardcore fans may be more confused by this next film in The Multiverse Saga.
The Marvels is a sequel to Captain Marvel and a continuation of WandaVision and Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan, Carol Danvers, and Monica Rambeau are all living their normal lives. Monica works at S.A.B.E.R., helping Nick Fury with her new powers, Carol is still assisting various planets in space, and Kamala is balancing her life as a student and a hero. Their lives are intertwined when the villain of the film, Dar-Benn, a member of the Kree race, seeks revenge and blood. Dar causes a disturbance in the universe that makes the three heroines switch places at random times. Hilarity and hijinks ensue as Kamala, Monica, and Carol’s powers are all tangled through a strange connection. They swap whenever they use their powers, creating chaos and confusion. The heroines manage to communicate and introduce themselves, and work together to stop Dar-Benn from harming the universe.
For the cast, Nick Fury returns after Secret Invasion. He has changed a lot from his previous behavior and personality in earlier Marvel projects. His role and presence in the film are jarring and frustrating. Some of the continuity issues are not addressed or referenced in certain scenes. For example, Nick and Carol were involved with helping the Skrull race find a new home after Captain Marvel, but this is barely mentioned in the film. Samuel L. Jackson does his best in the film, but his character suffers from poor writing. Fury does not have much of a stake or role in the MCU as he did before.
The villain, Dar-Benn, played by Zawe Ashton, is another bland and forgettable Marvel villain. Her motivations and actions are very similar to other villains. Dar does not have a unique personality and she relies on a lot of cliches and dull dialogue. One of her main motives is revenge against Captain Marvel. The movie has many cliche moments, but they are executed well. For example, there is an awkward tension between two characters who have an argument and learn to cooperate with each other. Another is a parent giving their child a speech about being destined to become a hero and doing their best. Or even a rookie hero being shocked and disappointed by her idol’s true personality.
Kamala Khan is one of the best parts of the film. She is the heart and soul of the team. She is a fan of superheroes and shows it every time on screen. Ms. Marvel embodies the child-like wonder of a new hero trying to stand on her own two feet. She is the glue that holds the team together and helps ease the tension between the group. She undergoes necessary development as she learns the reality of becoming a superhero. Her family are also highlights in the film, as they share themes of family values and support each other through trials.
The film has the typical Marvel humor, where most of the jokes do not work. However, this may depend on your preference. It is not as explicit or excessive as other MCU films like Thor: Love and Thunder, but it has its own charm. One of the other best parts of the film is the chemistry among the three heroines, which works really well throughout the film. There is also some great acting with some emotional moments in the third act. However, it is a missed opportunity that we do not get more scenes with the heroes, because of the short runtime. The film has a fast and abrupt pacing that makes you understand all the information and sequences. The Marvels suffers from incomprehensible action scenes and questionable visual effects. There are some shots and effects used for certain characters flying, punching, and running that look very unrealistic. The film has a decent conclusion, but stay seated for a post-credit scene.
Notwithstanding the stellar performances, The Marvels is too timid, has dubious effects, a bland villain and plot, and adheres to many hackneyed tropes and cliches that are all too familiar for Marvel. For some Marvel fans, it could be a diverting ride to relish and herald a propitious return for Marvel. But for others, it’s too belated & they have no incentive to come back.
The Marvels releases in theaters on November 10.