Review: The Marvels

Actual amateur hour at Disney Marvel.

A lone female warrior attempts to save her dying world at any cost from The Annihilator and their team of unprofessional heroes. Oh wait, that’s the story of the villain. Sorry.

Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel, and Monica Rambeau find their powers “entangled”; causing them to swap physical location whenever they use their abilities. This makes for stopping a Kree tyrant’s plans a lot more difficult. Can they learn to work together as a team before they run out of time?

The Marvels has been under scrutiny for a long time, and is perhaps the first MCU movie that Disney would rather you forget. The film was originally meant to be Captain Marvel 2, since Brie Larson’s debut struck over $1billlon, although detractors will state that this was due to it being sandwiched between the MCU’s two biggest earning movies, Infinity War and End Game, and not because it was a good movie. An online firestorm raged, and Disney lost confidence in the character, and in a very Warner/DC move, they added two characters from Disney+ shows: Teyonah Parris’ Monica from WandaVision, and Iman Vellani’s Kamala from Ms Marvel.

This didn’t just alienate movie goers who maybe didn’t watch these TV shows, it also caused increased frustration from Brie Larson who’s character was, once upon a time, meant to become an integral part to the MCU’s future.

Add to all of this, rumours stating that director Nia DaCosta was barely around during production, the film’s release was also delayed five times and also had reshoots. This is a public disaster that Disney Marvel have not experienced before.

So here we go…


The film is short, at 100 minutes, having been mercilessly cut down only weeks before release, and it shows. If you were hoping for Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel to be fleshed out as a character in this “sequel”, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Literal cataclysmic events have occurred since the 2019 that we haven’t seen, and they are compressed into a thirty second flashback. These crucial events are vital to her character and the “villainous” Dar-Benn, a Kree leader played by Zawe Ashton. The film even opens with clips from the 2019 film to remind us what’s happened to Carol instead of making a narrative out of it.

This is only the start of it.

Disney Marvel’s recent intention to tie the movies with the Disney+ shows was originally not on the cards, but when the Covid-19 lockdown caused their streaming service to spike in popularity (can’t imagine why) they reconsidered. Welcome Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau to the movie. Two characters we’ve never met in the cinema space.
This decision isn’t without merit; to make the origin stories like optional reading. However, you have to like the characters to want to see more of them? Iman Vellani is fine as Ms Marvel, she adds a chemistry and energy that the MCU needs right now. But Monica Rambeau’s character… Someone who touched a witch spell and now can… turn transparent/can fly/can fire lasers? And apparently is a junkie for this because she continues to touch weird stuff she shouldn’t be touching?

The real struggle is, apart from Iman Vellani trying her best, there’s no chemistry here. Whether from on set problems (disinterested director and disenfranchised lead star?) or the merciless cuts of at least thirty minutes of finished movie, there’s so little here. These characters are bumbling disasters, clearly not capable in what they are supposed to be doing.


Now, that is to say that… they aren’t perfect. Which is good; the film struggles to give them some sort of climb up. But there’s so little to hold on to. Their plight doesn’t even make much sense. If they use their powers simultaneously they swap physical location. But then later we see one of them flying and another one shooting lasers at the same time and they don’t swap? Is flying not a superpower? Can humans fly normally? Can I fly??

The film lacks so much chemistry and integrity that you ask these questions. You start to sympathize with the villain. The music and the film’s score are bad. The power-swapping mechanic makes combat scenes dizzying and senseless rather than cool and interesting.

This is almost all to do with studio meddling, which is the sort of comment made about DC comic movies. But The Marvels could well be worse than the much maligned Blue Beetle. And no, none of this is to do with the characters or actors.
It is baffling because these choices were consciously made. Captain Marvel 2 could have worked out fine. The Marvels without these drastic cuts… could have worked out fine. There is a tiny flash of an idea: with Captain Marvel’s personality and integrity being moulded by both Kamala’s enthusiasm and Monica’s crippling emotional baggage. But the astounding lack of film-making confidence on show has left everyone out in the cold.

Additional Info: This trailer is reeeeally bad:

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