The Marvels – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Marvels – In the Chaos of Powers: A Comic-Book Adventure

What is it that we look for in a film?  Is it the unraveling mystery of ‘whodunit’ or the emotional coursing of ‘romantic love’?  From action to adventure, it comes down to that generative feeling.  When a film finds a way to grip the audience, there is bound to be some enjoyment.  What level that enjoyment can be … is the true unknown.  In this review, I look at the latest MCU/comic book film.  In a situation of mixing powers and space travel, it is a journey of generalities and fun.  Even with some odd narrative choices, The Marvels can be a genuinely fun comic book film with wacky moments. 

When a space encounter leads to an unexpected entanglement, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) must work together to stop certain evil from destroying the galaxy.  With comic book films, there are certain dynamics that are generally expected in their outline.  You have your introduction to the main players, the initial conflict, and a reveal of the villain’s motive.  In the beginning, we are quickly re-introduced to the main three (Danvers, Rambeau and Khan), showing their status within the greater MCU continuity.  The film quickly moves through a series of expositional moments, leading to the three having their powers entangled.  From here, it leads through a series of comical and rambunctious moments that showcase a touch of creative flavor from a directive perspective.  Through unique action scenes and colorful chaos, it builds through a standout display of comedic flow and intense conflict.  Once everything settles down, the three (along with Nick Fury) learn that Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), a Kree citizen is stealing resources from other planets to save her home world, but it is at the expense of costly disruption in universal travel (plot point).  This becomes the through line (for the film), creating an adventure like narrative that builds on two things: the three heroes navigating their entangle powers and the hero/villain motif: stopping Dar-Benn from destroying the galaxy.  As the journey shifts from chaotic moments to an adventure escape, it begins to level out its sense of awe and wonder with generalities of the comic book genre.  Within the strong character dynamic between our three leads (Larson, Parris and Vellani), the storytelling is left to rehashing tropes and clichés of the genre.  This creates a fractured narrative, where potential of planetary adventure and character intrigue is drowned out by style over substance. 

As the three endure the chaos of their powers, they are in a race against time to stop Dar-Benn.  As the journey continues through its underdeveloped narrative, the fun banter and character dynamic of Danvers/Rambeau/Khan brings you that heart of the adventure.  Certain revelations help add girth to the one-dimensional aspect of the journey, allowing the potential (of story) to rise slightly above certain stylistic plot driven moments.  With dire consequences on the rise, we head into a third act that showcases the strong characterization against the backdrop of the hero/villain motif.  Within some unique action sequences and unexpected twists, we head into an unpredictable climax and a full circle epilogue.  The Marvels is a comic book film with strong potential lost in stylistic choices.  If you’re a fan of the characters, the MCU or comic book films, I say you will have a fun time.  For everyone else, it can be fun on the big screen at the right price.

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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