January 28, 2024

THE MARVELS Expects A Lot From Its Audience

2023 / 105 min
Review by Pepper the Poopy😼
The Marvels is on digital NOW; on 4K, Blu-ray & DVD February 13.

While watching The Marvels at home with my wife, I ended up pausing the movie twice in the first half-hour, feeling like I must have missed something. Since Francie is far better versed in Marvel lore, I asked, “Who is this kid?” (referring to the character of Kamala Khan, played by Iman Vellani).

“She’s Ms. Marvel on Disney+,” Francie replied matter-of-factly. She had seen the show, but I hadn’t.

The second time was when Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), the daughter of Carol Danvers’ best friend in Captain Marvel, shows up with unique abilities of her own. “When the hell did she get super powers?”

“Remember…on WandaVision? She got her powers from the static field.” 

Now, I did watch WandaVision on Disney+, but that was three years ago and I barely remember anything about it. Not wanting to disrupt the movie any longer, I simply said, “Oh,” and hit play.

More than any other movie in the MCU, The Marvels has unreasonably high expectations of its audience. The entire film operates on the conceit that everyone has not-only seen Captain Marvel, but several other MCU movies. It also assumes Disney+ is a common fixture in most homes and we've already watched WandaVision, Ms. Marvel and - for one key scene - Hawkeye. Two of The Marvels' three main protagonists are from television shows that require a premium subscription and the narrative does little to bring newcomers up to speed. 

On set, Goose was known to be verbally abusive.
Huge chunks of The Marvels will be lost on much of the audience, which is unfortunate because at its core is a decent story, good performances and what’s probably the funniest scene I’ve ever seen in a Marvel movie. That scene - involving Goose the cat and her newborn “kittens” - will undoubtedly stick in the craws of fanboys who regularly complain about how needlessly jokey the MCU has become, but it works within the context of the story.

Elsewhere, we’re introduced to a unique civilization from planet Aladna, where singing is the official language, a nice touch that Francie truly appreciated because it features one of her favorite Korean actors - Park Seo-joon - as a prince who turns out to be married to Danvers. I mention this because the smaller moments are when The Marvels works best, such as Zenobia Shroff stealing every scene she’s in as Kamala’s protective mom.

Because of its frustrating over-reliance on story and character elements we’re already expected to know, perhaps The Marvels should have premiered on Disney+ in the first place. It barely functions as a stand-alone film, but as a supplementary chapter to other shows & movies just a remote click away, there’s some fun to be had here.


FEATURETTES - Entangled; The Production Diaries.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director-co-writer Nia DaCosta and special effects supervisor Tara DeMarco.



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