The Marvels Movie Review
The possibility for The Marvels Movie to be an infusion of fresh air in an entertainment empire that, in part due to its attempts to be constantly right in front in our eyes, has grown more erratic in quality, was quite exciting. All three of Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, and Kamala Khan have been fantastic in their own films and TV shows, so the prospect of them going on an adventure together was exciting. Instead, it’s a confusing mess of a story and visuals that proves we don’t necessarily need Marvel movies or shows in theatres or on our screens 24/7.
Especially disheartening is the fact that each of the women who have portrayed comic book characters in film have brought something unique and interesting to their roles—Brie Larson’s hairy cool all through the MCU, but especially in “the captain Marvel”; Teyonah Parris’s comfort and knowledge on “WandaVision;” Iman Vellani’s transmissible teenage excitement on “Ms. Marvel.” Having “Candyman” filmmaker Nia DaCosta in charge gave the film a fresh, original vibe, and her presence hinted at a new point of view unseen in the film industry as a whole, which is dominated by men.
DaCosta and teammates Megan McDonnell (“WandaVision”) and Elissa Karasik (“Loki”) try to squeeze in all three characters’ tales, as well as link back to different MCU property and spin this massive narrative forward, but the screenplay is a muddle as a result. You should have seen the films and/or series starring Carol, Monica, and Kamala, along with “Secret Invasion” on Disney+ and a few other things I won’t disclose. Despite its best efforts, it is unable to settle on any one of these aspects.
The narrative jumps abruptly from static scenes of persons talking to one other to chaotic scenes in which they seemingly fly around the room at high speeds. The emotional consequences and connections are low because of the film’s short running time (about one hour and 45 minutes). It’s as if major chunks have disappeared that would have helped things make sense sooner. Instead, Zawe Ashton’s wild-eyed, vindictive Kree villain Dar-Benn forces Carol, Monica, and Kamala to work together.
The film’s incredibly grotesque special effects revolve around Ashton’s persona from the very beginning. The opening scene, in which Dar-Benn finally finds the bracelet that would grant her power like Kamala’s, has the bare, cheap appearance of a staging. The harsh, flat lighting makes the enormous stones seem to be slabs of Styrofoam that have been spray-painted grey. The fact that this was filmed by Sean Bobbitt (“12 Years a Slave,” “Shame,” “Widows”), a regular cinematographer for Steve McQueen, is hardly noticeable.
Something occurs when Dar-Benn seizes this formidable piece of jewellery that enables Carol, Monica and Kamala to exchange places anytime any of them utilise their own talents. All of them are connected in ways that keep being explained to one another as well as to us, but we still don’t understand them. If one of them throws a punch, the other may find themselves in a new location. Kamala’s family, who remain as cute as always in a sitcommy manner that highlights how disjointed everything is, and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who does almost nothing except make a smart-ass joke or two, are both caught up in this mess.
A likeable and cheery personality, Vellani reprises her role as the titular character from the “Ms. Marvel” Disney+ series in her feature film debut, although she spends much too much time in fangirl mode. Although both Larson and Parris are impressive in their own right, the emotional impact of their shared suffering is diminished when it is sandwiched between dull and chaotic action scenes. In many of them, the protagonists and antagonists launch themselves through the air at the speed of light to smash into each other, rip things apart, or reassemble them. This is all very exhausting.
To prevent Dar-Benn’s annihilation of the galaxy, however, the trio must work together and improve their skills. To that end, it’s a bit of a cop-out to include “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys during a space training montage. However, there are musical interludes that are such a radical change from the norm that they provide a welcome and welcome relief. They are delightfully offbeat. I won’t spoil them for you, however others are already releasing recordings of the final credits sequence, so evidently nothing is holy anymore. Some of the humour in two instances, however, was reminiscent of the finest Marvel Cinematic Universe film, “Thor: Ragnarok.” They’re polarising and extreme, yet the film’s funniest scenes are all contained inside these two sequences.