Saturday 11 November 2023

REVIEW: The Marvels (2023 Film) - Starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Marvels" is an exhilarating yet flawed addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, combining the stories of Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, and Kamala Khan. The film ambitiously weaves a tale of cosmic unrest and quantum entanglement that propels the heroes into an unexpected collaboration.

The plot navigates the fallout from the Kree civil war, threading together the fate of Hala, the Kree home planet, with the discovery of Quantum Bands that hold immense power. Amidst peace negotiations and rifts within the Kree and Skrull realms, a disruptive force threatens not just one world, but the stability of the universe itself. This upheaval triggers an entanglement between Danvers, Rambeau, and Khan, forcing them to swap locations and face each other's adversaries, compelling them into an impromptu alliance as 'the Marvels.'

Brie Larson's return as Carol Danvers offers a deeper exploration of her character, showcasing a Captain Marvel grappling with the balance between duty and personal connections, adding layers beyond her previous appearances. Teyonah Parris brings Monica Rambeau to life, delving further into her abilities and legacy, expanding from her WandaVision portrayal. Meanwhile, Iman Vellani's Kamala Khan embodies the starstruck teen turned hero, echoing the excitement akin to Peter Parker's introduction in the MCU.

The film's brevity, clocking in just over 90 minutes(not counting credits), serves as both a strength and a weakness. On one hand, the tight edit prevents the story from dragging, ensuring a fast-paced adventure, and the deeper "woke" narrative that was surely there in the original version. However, it also leads to significant cuts, leaving potential storylines unexplored, possibly impacting the depth and emotional resonance that longer narratives could have provided. However with the negative feedback the film has received, clearly the filmmakers decided it was better to cut a lot of the far left woke narrative elements, and what is left is a more pure Marvel film.

The standout positives are the exceptional special effects, keeping in line with Marvel's high standards, and the endearing dynamics between the three leads. The film thrives on their camaraderie, though it's regrettable that Monica Rambeau's scenes, potentially addressing contemporary themes, (all the woke nonsense that I mentioned above), appear to have been significantly trimmed, which some might argue affects the storyline's completeness.

The film's biggest misstep, in my opinion, is the cringe-inducing scene featuring the singing planet, an odd deviation that disrupts the otherwise engaging narrative, just reminded me of when a TV series has a musical episode as an act of showing how talented everyone is. If they had cut that out as well, then we would have been left with an 80 minute film, so I understand they had no choice but to leave it in.

The Pakistani-American family of Kamala Khan provides a charming element, though at times veers close to stereotypical representations, yet delivered with a likable quality that contributes positively to the story, as well as giving the main laughs of the film.

The climactic battle against Supremor Dar-Benn, depicted by Zawe Ashton with physical prowess and intensity, leads to a multiversal threat, paving the way for both triumph and sacrifices, teasing potential future storylines in the post-credit scenes.

In essence, "The Marvels" is an engaging but imperfect Marvel installment, buoyed by charismatic performances and visually stunning sequences, I wonder if they will release a "Directors Cut" with all the woke elements included, perhaps on the home entertainment release, and if that version really is as bad as we were led to believe. 

The film, while delivering an entertaining experience, could have been better, but sadly Hollywood is more interested in "pushing the narrative" than it is delivering good old fashioned, fun superhero films. With that said The Marvels was way better than I expected.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Out in cinemas now.
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