Friday, November 10, 2023

The Marvels


Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) ending the Supreme Intelligence inadvertently leads to Hala’s gradual destruction, leaving the Kree without water, sun, and atmosphere. Their new leader Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) searches for and finds one half of a bangle pair which has the power to create cosmic jump points. Despite vowing to find the other pair, which is in the hands of Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), she already creates enough havoc by sequestering Skrull refugee planet Tarnax’s atmosphere, waterworld Aladna’s bodies of water, and with plans of eventually stealing the Earth’s sun, all worlds that have a special connection to Captain Marvel. As the use of the mythical quantum band causes an entanglement among the light-based powers of Carol, Kamala, and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), the three team-up to stop their new enemy, but not without complications. The three of them must work together as a team while Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) attempts to hold the fort back at SWORD.

To be fair, The Marvels is one of the more enjoyable MCU films Disney has released lately as they try to muddle through what the shared universe ought to be post-Endgame. The movie is now the shortest of the MCU’s 37 and quite direct to the point, perhaps too direct to the point that people are now complaining about it being too detached from other properties or simply too standalone. The thing is, it really isn't any of that. After all, doesn’t this serve as some sort of direct sequel to Captain Marvel, Secret Invasion, Ms. Marvel, and WandaVision?

Talking about being a sequel, The Marvels does provide some closure for some loose ends from other properties that came before it. The biggest cliffhanger from Captain Marvel and WandaVision is how Carol and Monica’s relationship would be moving forward, and we get a definitive closure here. As for Ms. Marvel, we get to see the other missing bangle, but the movie fails to explain more about the mythology surrounding it. Where did they come from? Why is Kamala the rightful protector?

As for Secret Invasion, there really isn’t much going on here to know what happened after the events on that show. We see Fury in his space station as usual but there is no mention of his wife nor G’iah. What happened to the peace treaty they were brokering between the Skull and the Kree? Maybe we can just argue that it was in vain considering how Dar-Benn is now invading planets according to her whim. G’iah could’ve been Tarnax’s defender, for instance, but maybe Emilia Clarke just wasn’t interested?

As for Dar-Benn, Ashton portrays her in a sinister yet playful way. There is something about her I couldn’t quite pinpoint that makes me want to know more about her. Unfortunately, her backstory is as thin as the walls of the Supreme Intelligence’s storage room that Captain Marvel destroys in, like, five seconds. In the end, she is just one of the MCU’s now many one-off villains that serve their purpose and are dismissed as good riddance as quickly as they are introduced. Her exit was blah, at best.

As for Kelsey Grammer reprising his role as Hank McCoy, this one is a bit confusing. We can assume that the Fox universe X-Men and Fantastic Four will get their proper goodbye via Deadpool 3, so if Disney is getting rid of that universe for good, then didn’t they just doom Monica to a rather gloomy fate by sending her there? It is nice seeing Lashana Lynch play yet another multiversal role as Binary, though. How many different characters has she played so far? Amusing.

All in all, given the box office failure the film has been so far, it doesn’t even guarantee that it can end its domestic run with a hundred million, which puts it on par with DC’s box office bombs. Perhaps this is the end for Captain Marvel and, perhaps, rightfully so. The Avengers are done. Let’s move on to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, something new for the fans to look forward to, instead of hanging on to past glory that is no longer as appealing as it was back then.

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