The Marvels

#Review: The Marvels

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Starring in The Marvels is Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani. This latest film in the MCU sees Captain Marvel (Larson), Monica (Parris) and Ms. Marvel (Vellani) teaming up to save the universe from another Kree plot.

The Marvels opens by showing audiences where all the characters are and when an event occurs, the trio learn that their powers have been entangled. What does this mean? Well, every time they use their powers they swap places. This is a serious issue as they join forces to try and stop the Kree from enacting their nefarious plan led by Zawe Ashton’s Dar-Benn. Along the way, they’ll fight baddies and maybe learn to be a team along the way.

The Marvels is not the worst Marvel film, but I only say this because I barely remember it. It’s a surprisingly bland and unmemorable experience enhanced by a few bright spots. One such bright spot is Iman Vellani who carries the film with her performance and natural charisma.

When you need comedy she’s there, when you need some pathos regarding the potential genocide of a planet, she’s there. She also has a decent rapport with Monica, they both see Captain Marvel in very different ways. Monica is fun, even if she’s not given a lot to do. There is a lot of untapped emotional gold that the film barely touches upon between herself and Captain Marvel. Thankfully, Parris elevates the role with her impressive presence.

This brings me to Captain Marvel, Brie Larson herself. She’s fine. She is exactly the same as she was in her debut outing in Captain Marvel. And that’s the problem. It has been close to 3 decades since the first film and yet Captain Marvel seems exactly the same, she hasn’t changed. She’s been on adventures but they don’t seem to have changed her in any meaningful fashion. Larson feels like she’s on autopilot, not giving anything in the way of an emotional performance. She sees several end-world events, causes at least one and doesn’t bat an eyelid. Captain Marvel’s armour is impenetrable, for me, I think this was the time to begin to see cracks, for the sake of her humanity.

The film clocks in at just under 2 hours, with 1 after credits scene, and it desperately needed more time to flesh out the motivations of the characters within the film. It focuses on way too many flashbacks to remind audiences what’s happened when it could have spent that time better developing the story itself.

Another issue comes in the form of the utterly lacklustre baddie Dar-Benn (Ashton). She has the usual schtick, revenge for what the hero did to her. Now in theory this could have been genuinely interesting. Captain Marvel creates her own nemesis by doing something she thinks is a good decision. There’s a lot to mine there, a whole film in fact. Unfortunately, the film passes by it in a flashback and then gives Dar-Benn one scene to try and convince us why she’s in the right. It’s not enough.

There is one montage in the middle of The Marvels that was absolutely brilliant. Easily my favourite part of the film. Also, some of the fight scenes are choreographed well. Early on in the film, watching the trio swap back and forth is quite charming and gives the film a kinetic energy.

The film also sets up and then squanders a genuinely fun premise when the Marvels visit a planet. What could have been something funny, wild and interesting turns into something half-assed and half-baked in its execution. And the third act climax doesn’t even feel like a climax. I just knew it was because I have a reasonable sense of time.

The Marvels is not a good film. It was carried by its young star, who I hope we see more of in the future, but it fails at almost every other aspect.

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