Review by Cliff Homewood
I enjoyed Captain Marvel, sorry but I did, her cat being the hilarious highlight and looked forward to more cat action, which this film provides amply. Ms Marvel the TV series I started off enjoying, the lead’s very relatable and powers cool, but there was too much mundane drudge to get to the good sequences. Ms Marvel (Iman Vellani) is the best thing in The Marvels, geeking out over Captain Marvel, and playing Spider-man’s role of being the youthful spirit of fun against the more serious Carol Danvers (Brie Larson).
The Marvels is some weird shit, and sorry but if you don’t like that word don’t watch the film, as Samuel L Jackson says it with his Sam L Jackson style Nick Fury (not complaining, it works well). It dumps you in the confusion which gets worked out as the characters solve the situation. It’s the weirdest Marvel movie, reminding somewhat of The Suicide Squad, however, that’s a better movie. Maybe the baby scene in The Flash has a similar one-off blackly comic scene.
It seems to be a film aimed at women, the main cast all being female, which is good. The fact Google lists a male first in its cast list, not so good. Park Seo-joon, an actor who’s complained he is only in the film for 2-3 minutes. Script decisions felt like executives deciding what women want and putting it in the movie, cats, check, music check, dancing check. Being a Princess. Check. I enjoyed it, some of these choices weren’t for me but should hopefully be popular with females. A scene of cats is nicely accompanied by a song from the Musical Cats. The film lacked narrative cohesion, lines of dialogue seemed to point to different plot points as if the directions changed a few times. Space looks good in 3D but this felt like Plot Holes in Space. Some of the events don’t seem to follow the established rules (needing rectifying or further explanation).
At 1hr 45m it’s not too long there’s one mid-credits scene and no end scene, unusual for Marvel. However, it felt long enough, was ready for it to end. Although enjoyed my seat was feeling uncomfortable and the denouement was kind of Wha?? It makes sense as explained but the rules of engagement aren’t particularly clear. By this stage, there were so many little bits of story going on here and they felt more like loose strings than universe-building, not being wrapped up satisfactorily.
There is a sense of fun and risk in the plot, visiting a Disney-type planet for instance (sorry, no talking animals) and an audacious and hilarious rescue orchestrated by Nick Fury. An earlier rescue by our heroes wasn’t as satisfying as they had to ‘cut their losses’. With the resources shown in the movie, they could have been more effective. Has an emotional backstory for Carol Danvers and John Rambo, sorry Monica Rambeau (Rambeau first appeared in comics in 1982, the year of the first Rambo movie). Ms Marvel’s parents remind us of reality; ‘Bring my daughter back!’ Their pain is felt. The snap is involved so those who haven’t seen previous films would need some context (half of Earth’s population was wiped out for 5 years and then returned).
It’s the worst-performing Marvel movie and it’s getting a tad annoying that films with the female leads underperform (Go Barbie!) as Eternals was a worse film. Female Ghostbusters? No, we prefer children! Ocean’s 8? No, give us 11 men, please. Admittedly not a good film but I enjoyed the female Ghostbusters. Marvel has admitted to a downturn in quality due to pumping so much product out and are said to be rectifying. The standard was pretty high up to Infinity War/End Game then dropped, attendance probably reflects this. Superhero movies attract more males, as is the case with The Marvels attendance figures so far, but Wonder Woman proved to make a good enough film and they will come.