This may be controversial… but The Marvels is actually one of the best movies in the MCU.
The Large Elephant (or Kree) in the Room
To take a few steps back for some situational context, the movie has received much hatred and backlash, flopping in the box office – largely due to a mostly straight white male hatred of Brie Larson, and the bandwagon follower effect cascading from that majority.
Brie Larson has promoted social equality, voicing on stage at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards – to the bafflement of many Caucasian men who afterwards got wind of it: “I don’t need a 40-year-old white dude to tell me what didn’t work about A Wrinkle in Time,” Larson said. “It wasn’t made for him! I want to know what it meant to women of color, biracial women, to teen women of color.”
Brie Larson calls for more movie critics of color, which is fittingly enough – exactly what Incluvie is all about.
Many – again mostly extremely loud and adamant male Marvel fans – complain the movie is “trying too hard” and “disingenuous” for having three women leads. Somehow it’s possible to grasp time warps, but not tolerable to imagine a universe in which a white woman, black woman, and Pakistani girl work together on a team. Unfathomable, might as well create a movie with an alligator Norse god of chaos variant. Wait a second… (See Loki – another favorite from the MCU, starring Tom Hiddleston).
Yes, sometimes a movie that has a diverse cast can make for a bad movie. Same as how sometimes a movie with an all-white-male cast can also make for a bad movie. However, the racial gender composition of the movie either way doesn’t automatically guarantee success or failure. Sadly it seems, however, that for a significant majority of the population, the mere fact that a movie stars diverse characters marks it irredeemable and unlikeable in the same way that one might avoid horror movies in favor of action movies.
A significant portion of Caucasian men are becoming anxious with not being the automatic hero / protagonist / winner of every situation anymore. This isn’t trying to shame anyone. It’s valid to feel startled by a new dynamic and worldview that’s different than the one someone has grown up with. However, if one can step back and look at things with a humble and objective perspective, there can be more allies. Allies ultimately benefits both sides / all groups.
For some background, in the phases of the Marvel movies:
The Infinity Saga – Phases 1, 2, and 3
Phase 1: 100 % (6 of 6 movies) featured white male leads
Phase 2: 100 % (6 of 6 movies) featured white male leads
Phase 3: 82% (9 of 11 movies) featured white male leads. The exceptions were Black Panther featuring Chadwick Boseman, and Captain Marvel featuring Brie Larson.
Phase 5: 80% (4 of 5 movies) featured white male leads. The movie with diverse leads is: The Marvels.
Okay, getting that elephant out of the room, back to the topic of why The Marvels is the one of the most EPIC movies in all of the phases and multiverses within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
10 Reasons Why The Marvels Killed it
To start it off, the 3 main characters themselves brought a powerhouse core combo. This was essential to the charisma of the movie.
Miss Marvel / Kamala Khan (actress Iman Vellani) brings wide eyed wonder, goodness, and comic relief to the film. She’s hilarious, fan-girling over her idol, Captain Marvel, and mind blown at the opportunity to not only meet with – but work with – her “Captain, My Captain” on a multiverse saving mission.
Captain Marvel / Carol Danvers – Brie Larson is the perfect actress to play Carol Danvers in the film. She brings real grit, authentically portraying insecurities and bringing true relatability to the role. She feels the inner turmoil from having done the right thing, albeit still hurting a large population unintentionally, drawing the ire of enemies. She brings cool role model / big sis vibes to both Miss Marvel and Monica Rambeau.
Captain Monica Rambeau (actress Teyonah Parris) brings the level-headed scientific (Marvel science as it goes) groundedness to the film. She doesn’t need or want a moniker even as Miss Marvel excitedly tries to brainstorm one for her. The hurt and baggage she carries from Carol abandoning her as a child manifests as guarded strength and distance at the beginning of the story. One may feel a knot in their throat, as she tries to digest and move past that pain early on.
The musical aspect of the Marvel movie when they enter the paradise planet Aladna communicated through song only is super fun. When does this ever happen! This isn’t Broadway, it’s the MCU after all!
Along with this, Captain Marvel is married to the prince of Aladna – played by Korean actor Park Seo-joon, and they have a ball – singing and dancing in royal robes for the planet citizens.
The action scene switches – the athletic coordination and special effects were delightfully skillful. The creativity and camaraderie involved was ninja level – a welcome and rare treat starring 3 women on screen.
The trio come together over their command of light. Carol can absorb light, Monica can see light, and Kamala can turn light into physical matter. This is the MCU reason why these 3 need to come together. It’s authentically crucial to the saga.
The cute kitties (Flerkens) eating people as a strategy in rescue. Need I say more?
Listing this as a separate point from the characters individually: the skillful mixing of superhero epic grandiosity and kid-like fun enthusiasm. The emotional core and implications for each of the characters individually and in relationship to each other was heartfelt (I’m not crying, you’re crying)
Like other MCU movies, of course there are cool tie-ins with other members from the Multiverse. Cameos of Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) from Thor, the new young Hawkeye (Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop), Maria Rambeau, and Beast from X-Men!
For viewers who don’t hate Brie Larson, and for viewers who think independently, we would love to hear your perspectives and reveiws too, as Brie Larson so truly – and controversially – called for.