The latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has unfairly received a ‘bad rap’ – despite it actually being an enjoyable ride.
With the stellar franchise receiving its first real ‘serious’ accusations of ‘superhero fatigue’ – which has been seen in the lowest opening weekend of all-time for the MCU (yes, even behind 2008’s The Incredible Hulk) – The Marvels disappointing start seems to be as a consequence of the disjointed nature of Phase Four.
This definitely isn’t up there as one of the best, but also isn’t the worst – and is comfortably better than February’s underwhelming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
And even though it does fall foul of some superhero tropes – paint-by-numbers story, stereotypical villain – the energy of Iman Vellani’s Ms Marvel helps pull it through. She isn’t actually as annoying as she seems.
With Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) now spearheading a human-Skrull space defence system – known as the Strategic Aerospace Biophysics and Exolinguistic Response (SABER) – has his top astronaut, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Paris), investigating a jump point anomaly.
But when the wavelength-manipulating Rambeau touches the space fracture, her powers get entangled with young Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel (Vellani) – being the owner of the powerful Quantum Bands – and super-strengthed Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), who was also trying to find the source of the wormhole.
In the background, vengeful new leader of the Kree, Dar-Benn (British actress Zawe Ashton) is plotting from afar – and has a ‘beef’ with Captain Marvel for inadvertently destroying her homeworld, Hala. She’s basically a female version of Guardians’ villain Ronan, looking for Khan’s Quantum Bands to match with her own, which will make her more powerful to find resources to be re-directed to Hala, to provide breathable air and sunlight for the planet.
Which forces the female trio to work together by utilising the quantum entanglement they’ve found themselves in – especially when our solar system’s Sun becomes Dar-Benn’s next target.
Fortunately, despite the generic storyline, there’s a decent chemistry between the female leads. There’s the usual ‘Captain Marvel not being there for Rambeau when her Mum (Lashana Lynch’s Maria) was ill’ type sub-story. And Khan being over-the-top in her fandom for the Captain, being another.
But director Nia DeCosta concocts some decent fight scenes around some noteworthy humour, which makes this solidly passable throughout. Even though the massive influx of Flerken – aliens that resemble house cats – as a plot device doesn’t really work.
So, for the most part, The Marvels does actually succeed as a competent MCU movie, but is hardly Marvel-lous at this stage of the franchise life cycle.
But despite being the shortest film in Marvel history – it’s actually a fun ride that deserves more praise.
ESP Rating: 3.5/5
SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
CAST: BRIE LARSON, IMAN VELLANI, TEYONAH PARIS, SAMUEL L JACKSON, ZAWE ASHTON, GARY LEWIS, PARK SEO-JOON, TESSA THOMPSON, LASHANA LYNCH, KELSEY GRAMMER & HAILEE STEINFELD
RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 45 MINS
DIRECTOR: NIA DACOSTA
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