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Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Teyonah Parris in The Marvels (IMdB)

The 33rd superhero entry in the Marvel Studios catalogue, has a lot going for it to be a commercial success. However, with news headlines such as “Marvels land with a thud”, practically no one has much good to say about The Marvels. Source: Australian Catholics.

Which is something of a pity. Larson had success with Captain Marvel in 2019, appeared in one of the Avengers films, and could be counted on for a successful sequel. In the meantime, there was the six-episode television series Ms Marvel, which starred Vellani as Kamala Khan, the teenager who wanted superhero powers and got them. Shroff and Kapur appeared as her parents. All three are part of The Marvels. In addition, there is Rambeau from Wandavision. The director is Nia DaCosta (Candyman). There is a range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds in the cast. And, as often happens in Hollywood blockbusters, the villain is British.

With three women as the superhero central characters and a female villain, this is something of a breakthrough in the Marvel Universe consciousness. Jackson, in his 13th Marvel film, returns as Nick Fury. And this time, the Marvel superheroes are operating in space and on different planets. There are plenty of special effects as we see them travel through space in swift flight.

Perhaps without the hype and the Marvel expectations, The Marvels might have passed as a slight and easy entertainment. The story opens with the villain, Ashton, excavating a mysterious band, to be placed on her arm, giving her powers. She searches for the other one. But we, the audience, know that 16-year-old Kamala Khan, living with her parents and brother in New Jersey, has the other one. In the meantime, there are space operatives trying to maintain order in the universe, including Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, and her alienated niece, Monica Rambeau.

In the comparatively brief running time, there are all kinds of fights, confrontations, family bondings, but, maybe, not quite enough zest to keep the audience excited.

Review by Fr Peter Malone MSC, Jesuit Media.

THE MARVELS, US, 2023. Starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Samuel L Jackson, Zawe Ashton, Gary Lewis, Park Seo-joon, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikah. Directed by Nia DaCosta.  105 minutes. Rated M (Science fiction themes and action violence).


The Marvels (Jesuit Media via Australian Catholics)