The Marvels, directed by Nia DaCosta, has had to fight an uphill battle in the court of public opinion since it was first announced in 2019. Taking the bold swing of choosing a female led story where Marvel series and films collide, certain fans have been worrying about the possibility of a rushed script or a confusing multiverse continuity.
Well, I’m happy to report that The Marvels gloriously proves all of its naysayers wrong and gives us one of the best comic book movies seen in recent years. If you need a brief Marvel Cinematic Universe refresher, The Marvels is the sequel to the 2019 superhero movie Captain Marvel. But in this franchise, with its alternate realities and odd multiversal antics, we all know that, at this point, a traditional sequel is near impossible.
Now, I know what you are thinking: on paper, the idea of a film bringing two shows and an MCU character who hasn’t had the main spotlight since 2019 sounds like a narrative mess. However, The Marvels achieves something special here by embracing a concept that so many modern MCU titles forget: “keep things simple.”
Instead of deep diving into every single explanatory detail, DaCosta briefly reintroduces us to the MCU characters Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and Ms Marvel (Iman Vellani) before hyper-focusing on the main mission.
We see the multi-generational group meet for the first time, and being forced to work together after a faulty jump point in space causes them to switch places whenever they use their powers. In the place of lengthy exposition trying to piece together how these women all connect with each other, we get a relationship that organically develops in tandem with the film’s antagonist, the villain Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton).
The chemistry between the actors and their natural bond is a joy to watch and never bogs down the film’s pacing. Sure, we still get the Marvel odd one-liners to give us context, like witch-hex power explanations and sarcastic intel readings about a certain bangle-wearing teen – but The Marvels never strays from the fast-moving story about Dar-Benn’s planet-destroying plans for the Kree.
With action at the forefront of The Marvels, there truly is never a dull moment. DaCosta constantly captures the sense of urgency with her camera work, throwing our viewpoints with every punch and exciting energy blast. And every time we get a break from the adrenaline-inducing cinematography, DaCosta leaves us laughing instead as she embraces wacky storylines and hilarious editing, zooming on the main team’s non-plussed faces as they go from one wild scenario to another.
It is easy to see that a lot of love for both comic books and the MCU as a whole is in this movie. We get the Easter eggs, we have the kinetic fighting scenes, and we get those emotional beats that play on beloved genre tropes like “never meet your heroes” and “the lone wolf learning to be part of a team.” The film is tight, clean, and a triumph for event movies.
But, while there is a lot to love about The Marvels, it still isn’t perfect. DaCosta does a great job at building thrills, keeping smiles up, and the punchy 105 runtime moving. However, there is only so much that can be done with a tame script that has the typical and overused Marvel-isms.
Dialogue in the film is stilted for the most part, with characters ending most of their interactions with a pun or sarcastic joke. There are still out-of-place dry quips that don’t land. And honestly, where this film truly excels is when it leaves the stars and director to rely on visual storytelling.
But, these overarching franchise concerns aside, overall, it is impossible not to be surprised and pleased with how The Marvels turned out. It’s the movie equivalent of having a sugar high and will make you leave the cinema feeling withdrawn from the real world and anxious to get back into the MCU. Here is a film that proves that superhero fatigue hasn’t won just yet. It just takes a fresh and exciting film like this to get us all hooked again.
For more MCU fun, check out our guide to all the upcoming Marvel movies, including Deadpool 3, before learning about Phase 6. Or, check out our article on the definitive way to watch the Marvel movies in order after this new movie lands.
The Marvels review
The Marvels will cure your superhero fatigue and give you everything you want out of an MCU movie.