For a company with as large a stake in the industry as Marvel Studios, it’s shocking when one of their new projects flies under the radar.
Ms. Marvel is a Disney+ original series that was released in 2022. The show stars Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan (AKA the title character), Matt Lintz as Kamala’s computer wiz friend Bruno, and Nimra Bucha as the mysterious Najma. When mega Avengers fan girl Kamala Khan receives a bracelet from her grandmother, giving her superpowers, she must discover what being a hero means, while trying to figure out the enigma behind her lost family history.
Yeah, so to start, I’ve been trying to get back into the MCU recently and catching up on some of their newer properties I might have missed. Shang Chi added some cool new fantasy elements into the universe, Thor: Love and Thunder was a trainwreck in every sense of the word, and when I started to look at what TV shows I hadn’t seen, something drew me to Ms. Marvel. It wasn’t that I’d heard particularly good or bad things about it, it was the fact that I had heard almost nothing about the show.
Ant-Man. I would say that’s probably the best comparison to what this universe has offered so far. Paul Rudd’s take on the MCU was a heist feature with superhero elements, and I would say that Ms. Marvel is a teen coming-of-age story set in the world of Marvel. It’s just so weird to me that this, THIS, is the highest rated Ummm… anything MCU on rotten tomatoes at 97%, beating even Black Panther, if only by 1%.
Iman Velanni has had no acting credits prior to this, and she does a fantastic job leading. I know a little about the character in the comics, and one thing that was done really well was adapting her powers to fit the tone of the live-action Marvel world. Kamala is also very easy to get invested with, I think we’ve all dealt with high school drama in our lives, figuratively and literally. Her reactions to both world-changing and not-so-big events blend well with her character development.
The use of already established ideas in the MCU was purposeful. For example, the Department of Damage Control set up in Spiderman: Homecoming makes a return and plays a central role within the story as one of the main villains. Another new set of villains is sloppily written, they feel a bit forced and their conclusion is sudden.
Phase Four of the MCU has felt a lot more political, and there wasn’t as much here as I was expecting. It can feel at times in the Iron Man-less age that the writers feel the need to bring their political beliefs into the story so that they can send a message to Twitter, I guess. There’s some of that in the finale, but it feels more like the politics that already exist in real life are used in an attempt to elevate the tension, and build suspense.
The action is decent for television standards, though dull compared to the heights reached in past adventures of this franchise. There is a chase sequence in a later episode that does not take from the Obi-Wan show because I didn’t want to go home and rethink my life after watching it.
You’re not going to be “marveled” with the look of the MCU through the eyes of a teenager (just forget the Spiderman movies already did that), but there are some interesting character beats, and the relationship between Kamala and her family is satisfyingly unraveled. It kinda made me want to watch the Captain Marvel sequel knowing Kamala will be in it. Wait, did I just say that?
[My Grade for Ms. Marvel is a C+]