The Marvels, the 33rd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a lightweight and refreshing sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel, with a focus on playful storytelling and character development, offering a reminder that simplicity may be what Marvel needs right now.
The Marvels Arrives at a Pivotal Moment for Marvel Studios
The Marvels arrives at a pivotal moment for Marvel Studios, amid concerns about oversaturation and expectations of box office performance. The film is being released amidst the just-ended SAG-AFTRA strike, leading to minimal promotional activities and a potential underperformance at the box office.
A Pleasurably Lightweight Sequel
The Marvels itself is pleasurably lightweight, offering a refreshing change of pace within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Director Nia DaCosta prioritizes a sense of play in this sprightly sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel, presenting a breezy road-trip comedy set in space.
Introducing the Trio of Superheroes
The film sets up the stakes with Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, encountering a malfunctioning wormhole created by a vengeful Kree warrior named Dar-Benn. This leads to a swap between Carol, Captain Marvel fangirl Kamala Khan, and Monica Rambeau, with light-based, wavelength-manipulating abilities.
Emphasizing Camaraderie Over World-Saving
The film focuses on the protagonists’ interactions and growing camaraderie, with a playful approach to fight scenes and moments of light-hearted fun amid the universe-threatening villain’s plan. Kamala’s enthusiastic energy and well-drawn characters drive the narrative.
Charming Moments and Shortcomings
The film features charming and delightful sequences that highlight the characters’ qualities, but also faces criticism for a somewhat scattershot and thin plot, along with a forgettable antagonist and clunky sequences attempting to fill in backstory for viewers unfamiliar with previous Marvel projects.
A Balance of Ingredients
Despite its flaws, The Marvels delivers the expected elements of a Marvel movie, including cameos, adorable sidekicks, and an exciting mid-credits scene. The focus on character relationships and the importance of working together elevates the film, offering a simple yet crucial message.