By now, if you are a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you are probably already familiar with THAT Variety article. You know, the one where is said Marvel Studios was in trouble? We covered it here if you want to check it out. The article used The Marvels as one of the examples of Marvel’s problems, saying that the film had to undergo a month of reshoots and that test audiences gave the film “middling reviews.”
I don’t know what version of the film those test audiences saw, but the version I just saw was a really, really good film with moments of gonzo, coo-coo crazy greatness sprinkled in.
If you haven’t read Rich Drees’ review, I recommend you do so now. I agree with pretty much everything he said, but I will use this review point out things I liked that he didn’t mention. However, I will have to cover the same ground as him in one area- Iman Vellani.
Marvel certainly lucked out when they found Vellani. I don’t know if it is her quality as an actress or just that it is the perfect marriage of part and player, but Vellani’s Kamala Khan is right up there its Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers as one of the most perfect adaptations of a comic book character to the big screen,
Her constant fangirling over Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) could have been cloyingly annoying in other hands. Vellani makes it utterly charming. The screen lights up whenever she is on camera. If it sounds like I am part of the Iman Vellani fan club, well, I think I am. She is the best part of the movie hands down. I can’t wait to see more of her in the MCU.
Another thing about the film that I loved was the fight choreography. The last time I saw fight scenes this noticeably good was during Birds of Prey. There is a fight during the beginning of the film that is completely exciting and fascinating. It kept me on the edge of my seat and had moments of great humor and drama mixed in with the inventive action. It is one of the best pieces of filmmaking I have ever seen. Kudos to fight coordinators Liang Yang, Andy Lister and Trayan Milenov-Troy.
And if you like fan service, then this film is for you. A famous weapon from the comic books is finally introduced. The iconic debut costume for one of the characters receives a nod. And there are cameos by other MCU characters–and not just in the post-credits scenes. The film sets up a lot of future Marvel projects. A lot of them. So, if you want to keep up on the MCU, this film is required viewing.
And I should say that this film does give you all you need to know about the characters and their relationships to each other without beating you over the head with it, unlike some recent MCU films (**Koff, koff Eternals Koff, Koff**). But your enjoyment of the film would be greatly enhanced if you watched Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and WandaVision beforehand.
And I feel that I should point out the two most wonderfully wacky moments of the film. I’m not going to spoil them for you–I wouldn’t dare–but just so you don’t go to the bathroom or to the concession stand during them. First is when they are approaching the water planet and the second is when Fury is about the implement his escape plan for the satellite. You’ll know them when you see them, but when you see them, stay seated and bask in their wonderful weirdness. The latter of the two, and I say this knowing I am wired differently than a lot of you, has instantly become one of my favorite scenes in all the MCU.
Marvel Studios might still be in trouble, but The Marvels shows their way out of it. Short, pithy films, with great actors playing great characters that balance humor and heart. It isn’t perfect, but it is entertaining.