The Marvels continues Marvel’s Phase Five not with a bang, but with a whimper, following the poor Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and the third volume to the usually mediocre Guardians of the Galaxy.
As I left the auditorium, I saw what I show below, since I took a picture. It rather summed up my cinematic experience…
I’ll preface this by saying that while I’ve seen those films, I’ve not watched either 2019’s Captain Marvel (led by Brie Larson) or last year’s Ms Marvel series, which introduced Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, a character created by Disney with diversity in mind amongst the superheroes, who’s from New Jersey and, based on what I picked up on the script in this, she has saved the city once before. Well, it’s a good job she’s still there, then, as peril is afoot once again.
Zawe Ashton (Velvet Buzzsaw) turns up as Mr Benn… sorry, Dar-Benn, who finds a ‘quantum band’ (fancy bracelet, basically) on some far off planet (I could look it up, but quite frankly, if the film can’t be bothered to put the name onscreen, why should I make the effort?) She can’t find No.2, but it’s in New Jersey, of course, as Kalama has been given it by her grandma, as you do.
Up in space is Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris – They Cloned Tyrone), an astronaut for S.A.B.E.R… I understand, which initialises for… well, who cares. They didn’t bother to explain that, either. She’s working alongside Nick Fury (Warburton bread enthusiast Samuel L Jackson), albeit working in the loosest sense, as everyone just shouts or tuts a lot.
Due to a surge source, there’s a ‘jump point’ (me, neither) that’s malfunctioning, and it makes body-switching happen between Brie, Monica and Kamala, so Brie ends up in Kamala’s bedroom, for example, with its owner somewhere else, annoying her once she hears about it, because she’s obsessed with Captain Marvel and has just missed her. I know I’d feel the same if Jennifer Aniston turned up in MY bedroom, and I was out!
Wormholes keep popping up at random, and because reasons, this leads to a big fight scene which takes place in more than one location which – along with the body-switching – just made zero sense whatsoever and just filled time, even in The Marvels, which, at 105 minutes, is the shortest Marvel movie ever. So, this was basically a 45-minute Disney+ Christmas special just put up on the big screen to fill a (worm)hole in the Phase Five schedule.
Okay, so plot time, and the reason why Zawe’s character is in such a tizzy, is because she wants to steal water and sun from Aladna, as her planet, Hala, is dying… Ugh, how many times have we had this plotline before in movies? Will she happily sacrifice another planet in a bid to selfishly save her own? What do you think.
Probably the best scene in The Marvels involves numerous cats… sorry, Flerken, yet they resemble cats – including Captain Marvel’s Goose, along with the song Memory (below), from the musical, Cats. I won’t go into detail, but you’ll know it when you see it. However, it does make the film feel like it’s descending into farce.
As for the rest, here’s a list of random observations:
- Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson – Creed III) has a very brief cameo, for reasons I couldn’t understand. Then again, she turned up in Thor: Love and Thunder, is a woman who turned into a lesbian and declared herself as King. I think these scripts are written by a faulty A.I. program!
- Kamala shakes Brie’s hand eagerly, apologises and says “I should’ve asked permission”. Is this Metoo in space?
- Zawe’s character has a hammer like Thor, called the Universal Weapon – ugh, what an awful name. Is that the best Marvel could come up with?!
- Captain Marvel goes to a planet of Song, where she apparently has a Chinese prince as a husband, so all the races are represented. Oh, the diversity… Also, he doesn’t *have* to sing in order to be understood, so he’s “bilingual” – that’s the only joke that made me laugh.
- Kamala says, to Brie, “Captain, my Captain” from Dead Poets Society. Movie reference! DING!
- Why in any spaceship is there never enough escape pods? Didn’t they learn from the Titanic?
- At one point, Kamala asks, “What is going on?” Exactly.
- The trailer had a line with Fury asking “Where’s Captain Rambeau?” – This is NOT in the film, so why put it in the trailer? Was the film put together by the same faulty A.I. program?
And even when I DID see the trailer, I just wondered… Rambo? When’s Mr Stallone turning up?
- The Marvels script highlights a typical example of the baddie being greedy and overambitious, before they eventually come a cropper. How many times has that been overused?!
- On the plus side, Brie Larson has clearly been working out, as she has good physique in this.
Overall, after Thor 4, AntMan 4 and this, Marvel just aren’t trying any more, are they?
Oh, and I saw this in 3D, but the 3D never works close-up, while it’s fine in the middle distances. On the whole, it was completely unnecessary, and had no reason to be used. Perhaps it was just there for the ‘Memory‘ scene. That’s also one scene which uses some of the occasional IMAX visuals expanded to 1.90:1. I understand these total around 30 minutes in the film, but given how it all jumps about a lot, the aspect ratio switching was as unnecessary as the body-switching.
Oh oh… and the worst thing. At a point in the film, astronaut Monica can’t fly yet. Fury tells her to “use ‘black girl magic'”, so already, there’s some Antiwhiteism in the script.
No wonder this is what they call a “box-office bomb”, since it’s cost $220m net to make, it will need to make up to three times its budget to break even. After its opening weekend, it only just broke the $100m barrier, and this is its only weekend to make that extra IMAX moolah, since from Friday, the new Hunger Games movie will take its place. It also doesn’t help that producer Kevin Feige is overseeing bad films, and adding to the overall malaise about Marvel movies in general.
The Marvels also has some mid-credits scenes and something after the credits. For that info, see the video below.
The Marvels is in cinemas now, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Running time: 105 minutes
Release date: November 10th 2023
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (4.5K), Dolby Vision; 1.90:1 (IMAX version, some scenes)
Cinema: Odeon Trafford Centre
Director: Nia DaCosta
Producers: Kevin Feige
Screenplay: Nia DaCosta, Megan McDonnell, Elissa Karasik
Music: Laura Karpman
Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel: Brie Larson
Monica Rambeau: Teyonah Parris
Kamala Khan / Ms. Marvel: Iman Vellani
Nick Fury: Samuel L Jackson
Dar-Benn: Zawe Ashton
Emperor Dro’ge: Gary Lewis
Prince Yan: Seo-Jun Park
Muneeba Khan: Zenobia Shroff
Yusuf Khan: Mohan Kapur
Aamir Khan: Saagar Shaikh
Talia: Leila Farzad
Dag: Abraham Popoola
Ty-Rone: Daniel Ings
Kree Announcer: Alex Hughes
Little Monica: Kenedy McCallam-Martin
Dr. Henry ‘Hank’ McCoy / Beast: Kelsey Grammer
Binary: Lashana Lynch
Kate Bishop: Hailee Steinfeld
Valkyrie: Tessa Thompson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.