© The Walt Disney Company (Germany) GmbH

The Marvels
U.S.A. 2023

Opening 9 Nov 2023

Directed by: Nia DaCosta
Writing credits: Nia DaCosta, Megan McDonnell, Elissa Karasik
Principal actors: Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Samuel L. Jackson, Zawe Ashton

Wasting nary a second, audiences are plunged onto a dark, broody planet as the Kree land and Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) uncovers a treasure—well, half a treasure—whereas, in Jersey City, New Jersey, Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani) is indulging in her favorite daydream rather than studying… Backtracking to earlier in the day, astronaut Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) is in deep space floating outside investigating a wormhole and reporting to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) aboard the space station SABER. He confers with Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) out on the Milky Way with her pet Flerken (cats Nemo and Tango). Under discussion is a distinct anomaly, and they need to determine whether the Kree are connected to it in any way; concomitantly, the sixteen-year-old Kamala’s door-shattering exploration subsequently tests her mother and father’s (Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur respectively) incredulousness and patience, plus older brother Aamir’s (Saagar Shaikh) bemusement. Eventually, the Khans get the hang of things.

So begins an intricate dance between this trio and their AI nemesis wielding an Accuser's hammer and bent on revenge. The conundrum for Monica, Carol, and Kamala is whenever they use their powers at the same time, the whole caboodle become entangled. On the other hand, in order to restore her homeland Hala while pressed for time, the revolutionary Dar-Benn switches from negotiations with Emperor Dro'ge (Gary Lewis), the Skrulls leader, to causing mayhem. After one pulse-stopping skirmish, and at Captain Marvel’s behest, the trio travel to planet Aladna where they meet charming Prince Yan (Park Seo-joon), thus taking the battle to the next level. The trio’s efforts in the shared dilemma is their inception into the super force superhero Marvels.

The film’s other entanglement involves storyline and balance: compared to the battles, traveling to other planets, and other action scenes, Nia DaCosta (the director missing-in-action the last months of post-production), Megan McDonnell, and Elissa Karasik’s screenplay’s narrative is weak and ill-defined. Crucial information, e.g., about jump holes and effects from alternate universes’ infiltration, is squeezed in, and meanwhile the characters’ personal interactions/development time is instead used for joining up Marvel’s expanded TV characters with its cinematic universe, e.g., the Khans.

Catrin Hedström and Evan Schiff’s editing, Sean Bobbitt’s cinematography, and Laura Karpman’s score cohesively blend with a slew of computer creatives’ visual effects to generate a cosmos worthy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Attributes native to MCU’s superhero dynasty: plenty of polished action scenes with strong doses of humor and rousing good fun—in that The Marvels does not disappoint. (Marinell Haegelin)

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