Review by Shauna McCrudden
Another day, another Marvel film. But this time it’s the sequel to the billion-dollar earner and the studio’s first female superhero movie, 2019’s Captain Marvel.
For her second outing, this movie focuses on Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), who is shouldering the burden of protecting the universe and feeling very isolated while doing so. But when her duties send her to investigate a wormhole, her powers become entangled with two other superheroes, Kamala Khan aka Ms Marvel (Iman Vellani) and Carol’s ‘niece’, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), to form the Marvels.
First the positives: this movie is as entertaining as any other movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). If you like superheroes, you will definitely like this. The characters and relationships feel fleshed out and likeable, they have fun superpowers, and there are big, beautiful battles on colourful planets. And with its intriguing ending and mid-credits scenes, you know exciting things are still to come.
But now, the negatives: the pacing is a little all over the place, especially in the third act. The plot is chaotic at times to the point that it makes you think the creators were throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. For example, the characters decide to go to a singing planet as they believe the villain wants something there. We meet what seems like important characters and find out a little about Carol’s past adventures. But after a 10-minute battle ensues…everyone just ups and leaves, good and bad guys alike. The planet is never mentioned again, and it feels like it was there just to pad the runtime.
Another negative (or a positive depending on how you look at it!) is how dependent this film is on fans being up-to-date with every single Marvel project. For context, this is the 33rd film in the franchise and the 42nd project overall if you include the nine streaming shows. It is not only a sequel to Captain Marvel, but also a continuation of two TV shows, Ms Marvel and WandaVision, with Kamala and Monica crossing over from their respective shows. It also references Samuel L Jackson’s Secret Invasion series and even the Hawkeye show. There is plenty of talk of the Kree and Skrulls, which is easy to understand from this story alone. Still, if you are unfamiliar with any other recent project, you might find it confusing as to why anyone cares about these alien characters and why Carol is so involved!
But the standout here is Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan. Fresh off her own show, the Ms Marvel actress is perfectly cast and brings much-needed enthusiasm and energy. Her love and fan adoration of Carol brings a lot of humour to what could potentially be ho-hum scenes otherwise. Going by the ending, it seems Marvel Studios definitely knows what a diamond they have on their hands with both Kamala and Monica clearly being set up to lead major movies in the future. But strangely, despite being the lead, Carol has no such set-up. But hopefully, we get to see Captain Marvel fly again.