Review: The Marvels starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellanni

07 November 2023

Within the tapestry of "The Marvels," director Nia DaCosta weaves a narrative that is at once a kaleidoscope of color, emotion, and spectacle, and yet, to some, a patchwork that seems to fray at the edges. The film endeavors to stand on the shoulders of its comic book ancestors, balancing the gut-punching gravitas of tragedy with the uproarious belly laughs of farce, a blend that the source material has long mastered.

The plot is an ambitious confluence of storylines, centered around the reunion of Carol Danvers, the eponymous Captain Marvel, portrayed with a newfound humanity by Brie Larson (The Room). She is joined by Monica Rambeau, played by Teyonah Parris, who embodies both the brightness of a star and the solidity of the earth, and the scene-stealing Ms. Marvel, a role that Iman Vellani inhabits with a zeal that is as infectious as it is endearing. These three characters' lives become entangled through the cosmic machinations of a new kind of quantum entanglement that sees them swapping places across the universe whenever they utilize their powers. This is the film's central gimmick, one that provides ample opportunity for both humor and the exploration of the characters' shared and individual struggles.

the marvels film review

The villain of the piece, Dar-Benn, played by Zawe Ashton, is a survivor of the Kree civil war, a figure whose motivations are steeped in a desperate bid to save her dying world of Hala. Here, the film attempts to subvert the trope of the one-dimensional antagonist, providing a backstory that elicits sympathy. Yet, despite Ashton's performance, Dar-Benn is relegated to the sidelines, emerging less as a character and more as a narrative device to catalyze the convergence of our heroes.

Where "The Marvels" shines is in its unapologetic embrace of the absurd, never shying away from the inherent silliness that comes with the superhero territory. It even dares to delve into slapstick, a move that might polarize but remains true to the film's comedic aspirations. This is not a story that demands to be taken seriously, a decision that will undoubtedly resonate with those who seek refuge in the levity of their heroes.

However, it's in the pacing and cohesiveness where the film falters, with critics noting a frenetic narrative that seems to sprint through its runtime. The result is a plot that, while abundant in action and spectacle, appears to leave little room for the emotional resonance that is the heartbeat of any story. It's a juggling act of character arcs, each deserving of their own stage, but when combined, they seem to crowd one another, vying for a spotlight that flickers erratically.

Visually, "The Marvels" is as varied as its narrative structure. While it boasts moments of breathtaking cosmic vistas that have become a signature of the MCU, it also suffers from frames that detract from the film's overall polish. This inconsistency in visual storytelling may pull the viewer out of the immersion, a cardinal sin in the realm of cinema.

In conclusion, "The Marvels" is a testament to the MCU's enduring legacy and its persistent challenge: to tell stories that are at once singular and part of a greater mythos. It's a film that is likely to divide opinion, with each viewer's experience depending on their willingness to embrace the chaotic dance of humor and pathos that has long defined the superhero genre.

DaCosta's film, with its vibrant character dynamics and a penchant for the comedic, offers a fresh lens on a well-trodden path. Yet, it also serves as a reminder that even the mightiest of cinematic juggernauts must take care to weave their narratives tightly, lest the threads come loose and the magic spills out, leaving behind not a tapestry, but a mere semblance of the grand design it seeks to create.


SPOILERS on the post credits scene. 

The mid-credit scene in "The Marvels" is particularly significant for the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as it sets up potential future storylines involving parallel universes and introduces the concept of mutants within the MCU. Monica Rambeau finds herself in an alternate universe after attempting to close a dimensional hole opened by Dar-Benn. 

In this universe, she encounters a different Captain Marvel, her own mother, and Beast from the X-Men, which suggests a merging of different Marvel properties, possibly hinting at the upcoming 'Avengers: Secret Wars'. 

This event is expected to be a multiversal conflict that could unite various elements from separate universes, including the Avengers, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four​​


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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