Video: The Marvels (2023)

The Marvels is the 33rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is directed by Nia DaCosta. This film had a doubtful first act, but it gradually won me over as the film unfolded, showcasing a decent creative storyline, fair humor, impressive visual effects, and upbeat pacing, all within the concise 1-hour 45-minute runtime (making it the shortest Marvel Studios film to date; with The Incredible Hulk and Thor: The Dark World both being 7 minutes longer ). 

In the initial stages, a few aspects bothered me about the film's first act. The concept of the three lead protagonists, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), switching places with each other when they used their powers felt a bit hokey. When the idea of switching places was first introduced, the process lacked impact due to a lightweight atmosphere carried by a bland pop-rap song during a forgettable combat scene. However, this shortfall was compensated when the trio gathered to explore their powers together, creating a compelling dynamic. At one point I questioned why they didn't switch with other superheroes, as it seemed bogus it was merely these 3 characters switching places with each other. Despite this, a scene later dedicated to explaining the phenomenon with enough jargon made it sound more legitimate. Finally, I approached the film with skepticism, especially concerning the potential depth of the villain, Dar-Benn, portrayed by Zawe Ashton, who initially appeared as nothing more than a crazy lady obsessed with finding an enchanted bracelet. However, my fears were alleviated when the film delved into her character through a well-executed flashback, giving her the minimal substance needed for a decent engaging antagonist. As you can see, this film raised several red flags that surprisingly were all addressed throughout the story.

Iman Vellani's portrayal of Ms. Marvel initially came across as a one-dimensional annoyingly obsessed Captain Marvel fan girl. However, her character gained depth after a scene where the three lead ladies sat down to discuss their circumstances, allowing her personality to slowly warm up to me. Brie Larson as Carol Danvers and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau displayed excellent chemistry with Iman Vellani, leading to some of the best scenes in the film. Particularly noteworthy was their experimentation with their powers, highlighting their camaraderie and teamwork. One scene that stood out was when Kamala, driven by her desire to save more people from a planet about to implode, wanted to stay longer despite the imminent danger. Brie Larson's powerful delivery of the line, "We need to save who we can," demonstrated the depth of her character, highlighting the difficult choices superheroes must make and it also felt like Kamala was learning about these challenging choices in an unfortunate manner. The film skillfully portrayed this moral dilemma, adding layers to the characters' personalities.

A notable and unexpected twist arises when the trio of superheroes resort to using cute kitties with powers, capable of swallowing humans and then coughing them back out, as a means to successfully escape dire circumstances. This bizarre yet oddly charming element adds a unique touch to the film's narrative, showcasing the filmmakers' willingness to embrace unconventional ideas.

The visual effects and production design were outstanding, a feat not surprising for a film funded by Walt Disney Studios. The movie seamlessly integrated cutting-edge visual effects, bringing the Marvel universe to life in a visually stunning manner. The attention to detail in the production design added depth to the story, immersing the audience in the narrative.

In conclusion, The Marvels managed to overcome its shaky start, delivering an average and decent cinematic experience. The entry offers an enjoyable experience for avid Marvel fans, who will find many aspects to appreciate (especially the end credit scene!). While it may not stand out as a masterpiece, the film provides enough moments of entertainment and character development. For the casual movie-goer, it offers a watchable addition to the Marvel franchise, with the unexpected inclusion of superpowered flesh-eating kittens, making it a memorable and mostly delightful cinematic experience. 

Final Verdict:The Marvels overcomes a shaky start, delighting Marvel fans with creativity, upbeat pacing, and character development. `