The Marvels review: Latest MCU film won’t live long in the memory
Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel and Monica Rambeau team up in this funny but slight intergalactic adventure.
A female-driven MCU three-hander, with Captain Maria Rambeau also joining in the fun, The Marvels is an intergalactic space adventure with plenty of ripping up of the space-time continuum.
Certainly, it’s the story that the adolescent Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) has been waiting for. First introduced on screen in 2022’s Disney Plus show Ms Marvel, "the hero that saved Jersey City" - as Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) dubs her - still hasn’t met her idol, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), or Carol Danvers, if you prefer.
But she soon will, when this threesome discover that their "world lines" have become all shook up, and they all start teleporting to each other’s locations.
Initially, Danvers arrives in Khan’s pink and fluffy bedroom (complete with Captain Marvel cut-out on the wall), leaving her parents (Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur) and brother Aamir (Saagar Shaikh) shocked when she walks downstairs.
Khan, meanwhile, gets beamed up into space, inhabiting Rambeau’s astronaut suit and floating right up to the space station window that the Avengers’ old paymaster Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) is looking out of.
Before long, Danvers, Rambeau and Khan are all interchanging in a deftly-made fight scene, as they battle two assailants, bouncing between the cosmos and the Khans’ home, which soon has a whacking great hole in the roof.
These ugly-looking bad boys are from the alien Kree species, whose world is under ecological threat, their inhabitants forced to use breathing apparatus, with the skies covered in smog.
As any Marvel buff will know, the Kree have been up against the Skrulls for years – those green-skinned types recently seen in the Fury-led Disney Plus show Secret Invasion.
The Skrulls re-appear here, too, in an increasingly convoluted plot from which Kree warrior Dar-Benn (Fresh Meat’s Zawe Ashton) emerges as the main antagonist. She’s discovered a bangle that has given her untold powers; as it turns out, Khan has one too, kickstarting all the space-time shenanigans.
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Away from this, there’s Rambeau’s beef with Danvers, who was best friends with her Air Force pilot mother Maria (Lashana Lynch) before she took off. Rather like the teleportation storyline, this doesn’t exactly dig deep.
Much better are the scenes with Khan. Vellani is a very watchable presence, with excellent comic timing. "You know my name," she squeals when she finally meets Danvers, before excitedly trying to team up with her. Or, as Rambeau puts it: "How many chapters of Captain Marvel fan fiction is this giving you?"
Director Nia DaCosta (Candyman), who co-wrote the script, factors plenty of weirdness into the story. Like the moment the Marvels, as Khan excitedly dubs her new superhero gang, arrive on a distant planet, run by the handsome Prince Yan (Parasite star Park Seo-joon).
A world where the official language is song, the colourful inhabitants are soon warbling at them. Even weirder, a gown-wearing Danvers and Yan are then engaged in a dance sequence that looks like something out of Frozen.
There’s also Danvers’s feline Goose, the ginger cat who is actually an extraterrestrial. The moment the kitty opens her mouth, tentacles emerge, yanking anything nearby into its belly. Like a lot of the film, it’s funny, but also slight.
Despite a smattering of cool cameos, and one that promises a future crossover that fans have been waiting for, The Marvels is one of those MCU movies that won’t live long in the memory. Still, the snappy 105-minute run time means it never outstays its welcome.
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