Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and ‘Professor Marvel’ are everything I hoped for: A tale built around consequences, questionable choices, and how we handle the responsibilities of family, kith and kin.
The problem with what I say next is that I don’t want to spoil too much. So here is what I am going to do. We are going to talk about what hurt this film, why I like this film and why you should go see this film.
It will be as vague as it can be with the understanding I AM ENDORSING THIS FILM, the same way I endorsed Pluto, Arcane and Primal, as something which can, despite any flaws it may demonstrate, entertain Marvel fans and casual moviegoers and give you a good movie experience.
What Hurt This Film?
I got a list.
- A general lack of knowledge of its existence. Outside of fans, no one knew this film was coming. The first week in November seemed a questionable time to debut a film but I suspect Thanksgiving Weekend would be crazy competitive. More on that later.
- The Writer Strike prevented advertising. Do you know of any property more advertised than the typical Marvel movie? Neither do I. This movie didn’t enjoy more than a week of this once the Writer’s Strike began and ended. Five months of radio silence is a death knell for a Marvel movie dependent upon the goodwill, and fan enthusiasm boosting the next film.
- This film landed in theaters essentially cold. Literally, the hardest kind of landing a film can make, dependent entirely upon word of mouth and online promotion. It still managed to make $150 million dollars and should survive until the Thanksgiving weekend sure to give it a long tail, despite the naysayers.
- No actors, no online promotion, no conversations. Without the actors hawking their wares on television, on podcasts, on YouTube and other online media, the only sounds which could be heard were the bleatings of the so-called “alpha males” whose fear of a film featuring three women in the most powerful configuration: crone, mother, maiden was something to be avoided at all costs.
But What About the Men?
There were no men being featured in this film, and this is not the way of the Jordan Petersen, Charlie Kirk or Andrew Tate manosphere worshippers. Between the bots and the men hating on this film, that should be enough to drive everyone to the theaters.
Even the villain, Dar-Benn, was a woman whose ambitions were every bit as terrifying as any man’s. Wielding the Universal Weapon far better than Ronan the Accuser, she was shown to be powerful, talented and ruthless. She was responsible for an empire in collapse (which the film does not do enough to express why this matters…)
All the right stuff is in this Marvel film and it has the infectious energy of Kamala Kahn and the actor who portrays her, Canadian actress, Iman Vellani. Ms. Marvel has all the best lines and a wonderful connection to her family. Vellani is the best representative to a film a studio can have. She loves the work, the character and can hold her own among the fans. If you haven’t had the experience, watch the Ms. Marvel series, as well.
Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) finally got a chance to emote, to show her feelings, to show how she was emotionally conflicted by her choices as a superhero, galactic operative and a person powerful enough to make choices capable of affect an empire. I finally think Brie Larson finally got the chance to make Carol Danvers feel and seem Human again.
Last but definitely not least: Professor Marvel, Teyonah Parris brought an easy charisma, a megawatt smile and the brains of the team that wasn’t a team. Monica Rambeau finally had her moment in the Marvel spotlight and for those of us who have been there for this character since her debut in 1982, in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, this was a long time coming.
You will know it when you see it. SQUEEEEE!
There is nothing wrong with this film other than wanting to squeeze too many good ideas under one roof.
I loved the visit to Prince Yan, played by South Korean actor, Park Seo-joon, That’s all I am going to say… Those cheekbones…
I Want You to Go See This Film.
They packed a lot of themes and ideas into this film, but some were better implemented than others.
- There is suffering and pain in this film.
- The scale of the problem was just large enough.
- It deals with our own world’s environmental future.
- Emotional, psychological, filial issues are encountered.
- The three leads demonstrated connection and chemistry.
- There is joy and humor. Both in short supply in the MCU.
This film is filled with joyous, infectious energy, with the dark cloud of imperialism, genocide, colonialism and a correlating conversation about climate, industrialism, artificial intelligence and environmentalism sprinkled on top.
Are There Missteps?
Sure. Dar-Bann seems passionless in her execution of her plans. I personally blame that on the stereotypical delivery of villains in superhero films. The villains are over the top, psychologically unstable, weirdly bombastic or just crazily enthusiastic as they destroy entire civilizations. I considered Dar-Benn calmly focused.
I know what you have heard. Doesn’t matter. Everyone is nursing an agenda. That’s right, even me.
My agenda is simple. I want you to enjoy as many good films with great role models, particularly when they showcase women being independently outstanding, giving young girls that same feeling in 1978 when they made you believe a man could fly. Nothing can compare to the feeling when you see and believe yourself to be powerful, beautiful and ideally capable. Everyone should get to know that feeling.
See This Film
Before shortsighted men take it out of the theaters and call it a failure.
While “The Marvels” is being called the death knell of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it doesn’t have to be. It could be the point where the MCU, its creators and its fanbase could come to realize they are in this together: panning the product online only ensures the projects you want to see, get cut from the future lineup.
The director of this film, Nia DaCosta, does not deserve the scorn being heaped upon her. She created a film to inspire young women the same way the Avengers inspired young men. I enjoyed this film for all the right reasons, and hope where the film fell short, everyone involved will use this experience to continue to improve their talents and expand their opportunity.
The Marvels was great fun. Higher, further, faster, Nia DaCosta!
RATED 8.5 (85%)
Yes, there is a significant post credit scene you DON’T want to miss! Just sit there. Don’t look at your phone. Just read the credits. Watch the animation. It’s almost over.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.