2023. PG-13. 105 mins. Directed by Nia DaCosta
In 2019, Captain Marvel came on to the scene in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her solo movie gave audiences her backstory and introduced the character to a new generation of fans. Since her solo movie Captain Marvel has made a few appearances in other projects. She had a brief but somewhat memorable outing in Avengers: Endgame, then showed up for cameos in both Shang-Chi and the finale of Ms. Marvel. Now, Captain Marvel is teaming up with Monica Rambeau and Ms. Marvel to take on a new villain in The Marvels.
The Marvels follows Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as she sets off on a new mission. While on her mission she ends up having her powers entangled with her old friend Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and teenage fangirl Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani). Anytime any of the three use their powers they automatically switch places with one another and end up causing confusion not only to themselves but to everyone around them. Carol, Monica and Kamala must work together to use their power switching to their advantage to stop a member of the Kree named Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) from destroying everything they know.
Director Nia DaCosta has put together a surprisingly fun and entertaining movie. While not quite ever reaching its full potential, The Marvels makes for an enjoyable time. Putting the characters of Carol, Monica and Kamala together as a team and watching them play off one another is one of the strengths of the movie. There are multiple dynamics going on between the reunion of Carol and Monica to Kamala getting to meet her idol in Captain Marvel and the three of them bonding and coming together as a cohesive team. Throw in Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who gets the team together because of their situation and Kamala's family for comedic relief and you have a pretty well-rounded cast of characters.
With the characters having their powers entangled with one another, this allows for some cool and inventive action sequences throughout the movie. Watching as the characters change places and must figure out how to utilize their powers together makes for some of the best moments. There are some genuinely funny moments throughout, but the movie does also boast some heart as well, making you get invested in the characters. A few sequences here and there feel a little out of place and feel like they could have been cut out as they don't add a whole lot to the overall story. Specifically, the sequence involving a planet where the entire population only speaks in the form of singing. It makes the movie come to a halt just to have a song and dance number that is not needed.
The biggest issue here is with the villain. Dar-Benn is just not a compelling villain, and her motivation feels like something we've seen in so many other superhero movies that it has just become tiresome. It doesn't help that Zawe Ashton doesn't add much to the character overall but that isn't entirely her fault. To go along with the poor villain the writing here is a big weakness. There is some dialogue that feels forced at times and a lot of the story elements never feel as impactful as they should. A few scenes also have some spotty CGI as well but for the most part the effects in most of the action scene hold up well.
Brie Larson does a solid job as Carol Danvers once again. While I do think that the character is a bit underwritten just like in her solo movie, Larson still does what she can with the role. Teyonah Parris gets more depth put into her character of Monica and she gives a really great performance throughout. All the side characters, including Nicky Fury and Kamala's family are fine with what they are given but they don't get much to do. The shining star of this movie is Iman Vellani. She is having the time of her life playing Kamala Khan and she knocks her performance out of the park.
All in all, The Marvels works more than it doesn't. There are issues with the writing, some bad CGI at times and this has arguably one of the weakest villains in the MCU. With that being said, most of the action sequences are fun and engaging, the three leads all give good performances, and their chemistry together is the highlight of the movie. Be sure to stick around for the mid credit sequence as it is one of the best so far in the MCU.