A lot of negativity has been directed toward this movie and the women in it for months – years even – before it opened. As far as I can tell that negativity comes from boy-men who are terrified of people with vaginas or angry that they don’t have a girlfriend, or both. It’s the same hatred we’ve seen displayed against Scarlett Johansson, Daisy Ridley, The Matildas Soccer Team and basically any woman or group of women who have the temerity to take the lead in a space that some men feel should be exclusively reserved for humans that have a cock. Women must be so tired of this bullshit, which makes the fact they keep going despite it all even more admirable.
It’s also true that it’s become fashionable to hate on Marvel. I consume pretty much everything that Marvel puts out. But I’m no one-eyed Marvel Fanboy. Secret Invasion was a hot mess and the way it wasted fantastic characters like Maria Hill and Talos literally made me angry. It also severely damaged Nick Fury’s character, turning him into an asshole and a user. Some of the movies have been great, some of them so-so and some of them crapulous – I’m looking at you, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
So with all that behind us, what’s the movie like? Firstly, don’t listen to the haters. The Marvels is the best MCU fun since The Guardians of the Galaxy movies, full of delight and playfulness and a found family that is every bit as engaging as Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax and Rocket.
The very beginning is a little ‘info-dumpy’. But given this movie is bringing together Kamala Khan’s origin story as Ms Marvel in the TV show of the same name, Monica Rambeau’s transformation in Wandavision and Carol Danvers’s treatment by the Kree in the first Captain Marvel movie – for an audience that may not have seen all those elements – it does a creditable job bringing everyone up to speed in an entertaining way. After that a strange energy barrier does a quantum entanglement thing which links all three superheroes and the action – and fun – kicks off in earnest. Every time one of The Marvels uses her powers they swap places with one of the others. This makes for some truly kinetic fight scenes which are beautifully staged as The Marvels switch places and exchange blows with multiple antagonists. And when they discover that someone is destroying planets and upsetting the interplanetary travel network for a very dark purpose, their mission is clear.
At the core of the movie is Iman Vellani’s performance as Ms Marvel. She manages to telegraph teenage joy and fangirl energy without being in the slightest bit annoying. Her enthusiasm is what brings The Marvels together as a real team and helps Carol and Monica get past some difficult personal history together. There’s a visit to a planet that’s basically a worldwide Bollywood set (I know, it sounds stupid but it works). Goose the Flerken (who looks like a cat but can swallow an entire army if it has to) is along for the ride and is the cause of what has to be the strangest space station evacuation you’ll ever see. And in between all the fun and laughs and cool fights there are some really great character moments. Oh, and they manage to make Nick Fury not an asshole.
So instead of listening to men complain about a movie they haven’t seen, do yourself a favour and go enjoy The Marvels for yourself.