Monday, November 20, 2023

The Marvels - Movie Review

The Movie: The Marvels

The Director: Nia DaCosta

The Cast: Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Zawe Ashton, Gary Lewis, Seo-Jun Park, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh, Samuel L. Jackson

The Story: Carol Danvers gets her powers entangled with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, forcing them to work together to save the universe.

The Review:
One of the things I have always enjoyed about the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is how the creative teams always make their movie within a certain genre (action, spy thriller, science fiction, etc) underneath the umbrella of being part of a connected universe. Most of the movies give off a similar vibe of leaning into the comedic aspects that comic book movies should embody while also addressing other emotional checkpoints along the way. Nia DaCosta's movie leans into that as much as possible, never taking itself too seriously, expanding on the three main characters' stories, and pushing forward the overall MCU narrative in a meaningful way.

For me the best part about this movie is the interactions between the three "Marvels" as their personalities blend nicely and they play off of each other in some really fun ways both in conversation and in how they use their powers. The main thing they have to overcome is how, when they use their powers simultaneously, they physically switch places. There's a lot to explain there so it's better if you see it for yourself but the resulting action sequences are super fun and allows for some truly creative fight choreography that genuinely blends the action with a unique personality of its own. Trust me, it'll make sense when you see it, and you better go see this movie.

I feel like this is also the Carol Danvers we've been waiting to see and Brie Larson is clearly loving every moment of what she gets to do in this movie and how she gets to interact with her co-stars Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani. The three are so good together and their unique personalities, just like the action scenes they get to play in, really stand out, especially as they adapt and learn to work together. Since the first Avengers movie, that's been a hallmark of the MCU and it was cool to see the concept play out in such an innovative way this time around.

Can we just say that Iman Vellani needs to be one of the faces of the MCU moving forward? I mean, have you ever seen her in interviews? She's a self proclaimed comic book nerd and expert, she even keeps a notebook at all times filled with info on her character and the MCU as a whole. It was really cool to see her take what she accomplished in the Ms. Marvel series and take it to another level in this big screen fearture film. She proved she can hold her own and then some with any of her co-stars even including someone like Samuel L. Jackson. Her Kamala Khan is just so much fun and I'm super excited to see what she'll get to do next.

Ok, so those of you who have known me for any length of time know that I used to have an orange tabbycat named Flash who probably could have played Goose, or maybe Goose was modeled after Flash, who knows. Getting to see Goose again in this movie (played by two different cats this time around) along with an army of Flerken kittens gave me so much joy. Sure the big scene towards the end that they have is a little on the silly side but whatever. Flerken kittens!!!

Yes, there are a few moments that are a little too silly for me, one of them actually was a nice opportunity for me to take a bathroom break, but none of that made me think any less of the movie as a whole. Is it a perfect movie? Of course not. Does it live up the extremely high bar people have been holding every MCU movie up to since Infinity War and Endgame? Of course not. Is it a really fun super hero movie with relatable characters and comic book style fun? Big yes.

I will say that the movie's villain Dar-Benn, played by Zawe Ashton, was kind of underwhelming and I feel like her story wasn't fully fleshed out. Maybe pushing the run time from a slim one hour and 45 minutes up to around two hours would have allowed for the character to have a little more purpose and gravity which could have made the entire story a bit more impactful. That being said, it's pretty clear that this story wasn't really about heroes and villains as much as it's about heroes finding themselves and finding each other and that's really where the focus of the movie stayed.

Yes, there is a mid credits scene and yes there is a post credits scene and yes both of them are legitimately meaningful for the future of the characters in this movie and even more so for the future of the MCU. That's all I'm going to say about that.

The Verdict:
The Marvels is a really fun movie. If there is such a thing as a classic Marvel style, this movie has it. It has great action, a decent enough story, and plenty of humor to keep kids of all ages entertained from start to finish. Brie Larson shines, Iman Vellani is becoming a super star, and Teyonah Parris has solidified herself as a strong MCU presence moving forward. Also, Flerken kittens!

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