THE MARVELS Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad


In the latest foray into the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, "The Marvels" serves as a pseudo-sequel to 2019's "Captain Marvel," though the term 'sequel' is elastic in this sprawling superhero saga. We reconnect with Brie Larson's Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, as she cruises the cosmos in solitude, pondering her past heroic feats and their repercussions on the nearly-annihilated Kree planet Hala. Now facing a new threat in the zealous Kree leader Dar-Benn, portrayed with zest by Zawe Ashton, Danvers must contend with the ramifications of quantum bands – cosmic MacGuffins capable of immense power and the potential destruction of spatial jump points.

This space-faring adventure offers a tableau where the familiar Marvel beats pulse alongside a vibrant, off-beat humor, especially when Danvers, now joined by Teyonah Parris's Monica Rambeau – the powered progeny of Carol's old friend Maria – and Iman Vellani's Kamala Khan, soon to be dubbed Ms. Marvel, begin an unexpected game of musical chairs across the universe. Kamala, a teenage daydreamer and fervent Captain Marvel fangirl, unexpectedly finds herself entangled with the duo when she dons the second quantum band, much to her family's chagrin and to the befuddlement of Shield leader Nick Fury, played with Samuel L. Jackson's trademark cool.

"The Marvels" is an ambitious blend of intergalactic escapades and sitcom-like charm, delivering punchlines as effectively as its characters deliver punches. It shifts gears between Larson's Carol Danvers rediscovering her human side through endearing interactions with Vellani's effervescent Kamala, and the grandiose moments where Carol, with Goose the alien cat at her side, channels a deity from space mythology. Director Nia DaCosta weaves these elements with Bollywood-inspired musical sequences, harking back to the energy of old-school Broadway and the color of cinema across the globe.

Despite its comedic overtones and eye-popping visuals, the movie sometimes stumbles in its narrative coherence. The mechanics of the trio's power-induced teleportation is as whimsical as it is baffling, leaving viewers to wonder at the loose threads and missing explanations. The film introduces a complex dynamic – a "Freaky Friday" superhero edition, if you will – yet the details feel as though they've been edited down to their bare essentials, and not to the story’s benefit.

The chemistry among the lead trio, however, is undeniable. When Larson, Parris, and Vellani share the screen, unburdened by expositional dialogue, their rapport crackles. Larson particularly shines when interacting with her youthful counterpart, suggesting a missed opportunity for a film that might have explored this relationship in depth. Instead, what could have been a powerful narrative about a protégé rising alongside her mentor is relegated to brief moments of genuine connection.

The movie struggles with its identity, oscillating between a slapstick romp and an epic tale, yet never fully committing to either. It toys with its own absurdity, never quite serious about delving into the intricacies of its own universe. This may speak to the larger issue within the MCU, a system where formulaic consistency is valued over distinctive directorial vision, evident in the film’s fluctuation between practical sets and the inevitable reliance on CGI.

As for the film's antagonist, Ashton's Dar-Benn is as much a fixture as any Marvel villain – present more as a narrative necessity than a fully fleshed-out character. Emotional story arcs, like that of Carol and Monica's estrangement, feel more like plot checkpoints than genuine character development. Even the action scenes, while they have a certain tangibility lacking in other recent MCU entries, sometimes seem hastily assembled, leaving audiences to fill in the gaps.

Despite these criticisms, "The Marvels" isn't bereft of creativity or moments of brilliance. It teases audiences with what could be – a genuine space opera, a musical interlude with aliens, and the simple joy of its leads' interactions when they’re allowed to break free from the script's constraints. Yet, it ultimately seems to reel itself back in, reluctant to stray too far from the tried and tested Marvel formula.

As the MCU finds its bearings post-Endgame, the films appear to be testing the limits of the franchise’s storytelling template. "The Marvels," while not the low point of the series and certainly brimming with potential, epitomizes the challenge of balancing innovation with expectation, of delivering both the spectacle and the genuine human moments that have defined the best of what Marvel can offer. Whether the studio will take these criticisms to heart and recalibrate its approach remains to be seen, but for fans, "The Marvels" may stand as a testament to a universe at a crossroads, capable of great humor and heroism, but also of frustratingly unrealized possibility.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad