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'The Marvels' Review: A Fun, But Messy Movie

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

The Marvels was directed by Nia DaCosta and stars Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, and Samuel L. Jackson. This time, we see Carol Danvers return as Captain Marvel and team up with Monica Rambeau and Kamala Khan when they keep swapping places after they use their powers. The Marvels is the third and final MCU movie to come out in 2023. It also comes out right after the Actors’ Strike is over. Captain Marvel hasn’t been the most popular character in the MCU so far. Her first movie, despite making $1 billion worldwide, got a mixed response from fans. How would The Marvels pan out with a new direction and new characters?

The Marvels fixed certain issues I had with the 2019 Captain Marvel movie. Brie Larson as Captain Marvel is a better, more compelling character this time. She has more personality and likability. Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau is great as well, and they explored her relationship with Carol Danvers. Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan is the heart and soul of the movie. The chemistry between all three actresses works, and when the characters work together, it's the best part of the movie. Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury is still good, but not his best performance as Fury.

The Marvels is also a lot more entertaining than Captain Marvel. The humor works at times and has many moments that will make audiences smile. There's a planet where all the citizens sing and it starts as a cringe scene, but the looks of disbelief on Kamala and Monica’s faces make that scene hilarious. The humor involving the cat aliens called Flerkins also made me laugh, especially as a cat owner. While The Marvels is entertaining and has great protagonists, it is far from being a great movie.

The Marvels has one of the worst MCU villains in Dar-Benn, played by Zawe Ashton. It’s not Ashton’s fault that the character was poorly written, though. There was potential with Dar-Been and her motivations against Carol, but it was executed poorly. The story feels all over the place and rushed, in comparison to Captain Marvel, where scenes felt long but at least took the time to develop characters and explain stuff.

The issue with a rushed story all ties into the runtime of The Marvels. The movie has a runtime of an hour and 40 minutes, which is the shortest in an MCU movie. The movie could have easily been 10 to 20 minutes longer. They could have used more time to develop the villain better and give more time for the heroes to bond. When the heroes are bonding and getting close, the movie is at its strongest.

The action starts as entertaining and fun, but fumbles in the third act. The third act of a comic book movie should be exciting. Instead, it feels rushed and kind of boring. Something happens at the end that should be emotional because of what happens, and the heroes are likable, but the movie rushes it and doesn’t give the audience the time to process it, which pales in comparison to other MCU movies with emotional moments like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3. The mid-credit scene has a great, surprising cameo, but it’s getting to a point where it might not be worth it if the movie doesn’t deliver. Also, will this scene lead to something right away? Some mid-credit and post-credit scenes from previous MCU movies have yet to be addressed.

Overall, The Marvels fixed some issues with Captain Marvel but also moved away from the stuff Captain Marvel did right. Brie Larson is a lot better at playing Captain Marvel this time. Teyonah Parris and Iman Velloni are still great. The villain is one of the worst MCU villains. The movie has funny moments but fails to execute the serious moments. The writing could have been better. It’s sad that while Captain Marvel’s character improves, she has yet to get a great movie.

My final grade for The Marvels is a C+. It improves by having more entertaining moments, and Carol Danvers is a better character, but a rushed plot with a forgettable villain holds this movie back. What are your thoughts on The Marvels? Let us know in the comments below.

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