Written by: Adam Vaughn | November 9th, 2023
The Marvels (Nia DaCosta, 2023) 2 out of 4 stars.
After a recent lineage of less-than-desirable post-Endgame Marvel films, director Nia DaCosta (Candyman) and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) team continue the trend of producing mediocre narratives. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with The Marvels as a whole, one cannot help but think that DaCosta was asked to go through the motions and deliver the commercial, family-friendly, slightly progressive story that has permeated Marvel’s current trendy-yet-lackluster style. The Marvels will no doubt entertain the families, and satisfy Marvel fans, yet the movie connoisseur will find an unexciting and unoriginal movie.
DaCosta’s greatest strength in bringing us The Marvels is her ability to weave together Captain Marvel (Brie Larson, Just Mercy), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris, Candyman), and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani, Disney+’s Ms. Marvel). Sadly the Larson and Rambeau dynamic seems lost, buried under several films and series that have transpired since the first Captain Marvel. Yet the introduction of Khan/Ms. Marvel to the MCU, with the comedic relief she brings, does the story justice, particularly after the success of her standalone series.
Ultimately it’s the relationship formed between the three heroines that distracts the viewer from an utterly messy and boring plot line surrounding the Kree and Skrull races that continue to plague the MCU’s storylines. Not only is the talent of Zawe Ashton (Velvet Buzzsaw) stifled by poor writing, but the film seems to lazily try to expand on the Skrull/Kree narrative even though its details have failed in other stories. Between balancing the dynamic between our three heroines and the conflict between supporting characters, The Marvels overwhelms at some points, with a clichéd end-of-the-world story at others.
Where Marvel’s newest addition may not (ironically) shoot for the stars, The Marvels does help to bring several previously supporting female roles to the spotlight and bring their story full circle. The most enjoyable element to the film is seeing how its post-credit tag will aim to further expand the MCU in exciting ways, setting up satisfying potential for The Marvels team for a continued multiverse story. As a standalone film, however, DaCosta’s movie remains generic, entertaining enough on the big screen but more than likely not standing the test of time amongst the flood of Marvel films to come.