Life & Culture

Film review: The Marvels, 'Baffling but hilarious'

This superhero romp has lost the plot


(L-R): Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, and Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios' THE MARVELS. Photo by Laura Radford. © 2023 MARVEL.

Cert: 12 A


Has the comic book movie franchise bubble finally burst? With more recent Marvel Cinematic Universe offerings performing badly at the box office, the franchise appears to have finally succumbed to its own success with fans feeling confused by its new direction and lacklustre storytelling. With even Disney CEO Bob Iger blaming the quantity of output - both in film and TV -  for the franchise’s Post- Endgame slump, it’s really hard to see how the MCU plans on recapturing the fandom's imagination.  

Teh latest instalment is, sadly for all involved, just more of the same nonsense, even if one has to admire the bonkers direction The Marvels director Mia DaCosta has decided to take things. The film sees the return of Brie Larson as the indomitable Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, who still reeling from her part in the disastrous Kree civil war, has taken a step back from her earthly duties.

Carol gets her powers entangled with those of Mis Marvel/ Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), forcing all three superheroes to work together to save the universe from Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), the new leader of the Kree.

It is apparent from the get go that this is a franchise in the midst of a deep identity crisis. Giving up altogether on the idea of making any kind of narrative sense, DaCosta and co-writers Megan McDonnell and Elissa Karasik have thrown everything at the script in the hope that some of it might stick. The results are not only baffling, but also rather hilariously outlandish. Unlike earlier disappointing instalments, The Marvels could well be an MCU “so bad it’s good” first.

On top of a pointless, but otherwise hilarious musical sequence, there is a strong sense that Da-Costa et al are having a whale of a time sending the whole franchise up. Fans of earlier films in the series will probably take a hard pass here, but for those of us who enjoy a bit of satirical silliness, The Marvels manages to be both funny and endearing. And at a mere 1 hour and 45 minutes running time, this has to be the most fun addition to the franchise so far. I would have just liked to see a little more story and less pseudo-science.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive