The Marvels (2023)
November 9, 2023 4:24 PM - Subscribe

Carol Danvers gets her powers entangled with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, forcing them to work together to save the universe.

The Marvels, a sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel manages a a badly missed feature from recent superheroes film: it’s fun with a heart.

Does it have the epic tone of Avengers: Endgame? No, but not everything should. It’s a well paced 1 hour and 45 minutes of a good superhero tropes and stereotypes all mixed together in slightly new ways, with a largely female cast. Brie Larson is back as Captain Marvel, along with Teyonah Harris as Monica Rambeau and Iman Vellani as the always delightful Ms. Marvel.

The story opens with a previously unknown foe of Captain Marvel, Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) unknowingly unleashing a device that causes the trio of heroes to became entangled. Each time one of them uses their powers, they switch places with one of the others. This results in a few early hilarious incidents that brings the characters together. Quickly they learn of Captain Marvel’s foe, what her goals are, and develop plans to stop her. Typical superhero story, sure, but it’s deftly directed by Nia Dacosta, with appearances by Nick Fury, and Ms. Marvel’s very likable and heart warming family, The Khans. Long time fans of the MCU finally get a reasonable explanation of where Captain Marvel was in the early years of the MCU and it adds a bit of depth to the character.

Is it the best movie ever? No, but again, it doesn’t have to be. It’s a solidly told story, filled with great beats of adventure, action, and humor. With all the recent talk of the MCU losing its way, it’s nice to say that it hasn’t, just found a different way forward, and it’s damn enjoyable.

Could the villains have used another five minutes of character development? Absolutely, because Dar-Benn’s rationale for waging ware hit the sweet spot: understandable even if one personally doesn’t condone them.

Was everything solved by yet another super powered fight? Yes, but it was well done as the trio used their switching in effective ways that made it more interesting than a typical slug fest. Plus Monica did that thing at the end that will turn out to have far reaching consequences in the MCU.

No doubt others will want to talk about that and how it segues into the mid-credits scene. We learn that Monica is another universe, faced with unexplained people, to her at least, but the rest of us will welcome the appearance of certain doctor. Her tired reaction of “Oh shit” is pitch perfect, though. Marvel knows the multi universe story arc it has going can be a bit tiring, so seeing it poking fun at its own shtick is a good sign of the future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (50 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Don’t let the negative reviews sway you. This is a solid Marvel movie, easily in the 50th percentile of Marvel films, and better than many of the recent ones. The crowd I was with was into it, and cheered at many places. Iman Vellani is a STAR.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:30 PM on November 9 [11 favorites]

As someone who is still overall a fan of the MCU, I thought this was fine. Probably in the third quartile of MCU movies by my reckoning. If you're not a superhero movie fan, this probably won't be the movie that will convert you. I don't agree with the critics that are saying this is worst movie in the series, but it's still closer to the bottom than the top for me.

There are two scenes that are significantly sillier than the entire rest of the movie. I am curious as to whether it was the case that this movie was originally shot with that sillier tone throughout and it tested poorly audiences so they decided to reshoot things with your standard comic book movie tone. FWIW, I think that I personally would have enjoyed that all-silly movie more than the one we got.
posted by C^3 at 7:04 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]

The movie definitely shows some seams from trying to fix things in editing (C^3's theory seems plausible to me), but I enjoyed Kamala geeking out and the silly bits enough that I came out happy.
posted by bigge at 8:15 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]

Saw it this morning with spouse. We both enjoyed it. (I was in the tank for this movie already, and spouse was happy to see more flerkens.)
The light/silly aspects I take as being valid to introduce because Kamala is there - she's a fangirl, and genre-savvy, so having that tone is okay. (Yes, the soundtrack choice during the space station escape might have been a bit too much, but I was too busy laughing at the audacity of that choice.)
I was fine with the cameos in the main film. I do wish they'd chosen a different "new" character in the stinger to science-mumble introduce the 'new situation', but it was great to see Lashana Lynch as a non-dying Maria Rambeau there.
Yeah, the reconciliation scene between Carol and Monica was short, to keep the flow of the movie going. I'd have been fine with it taking a little longer (more scenes, or more depth in the one scene), just to give Parris and Larson more to work with.
The Marvel ongoing-theme of 'victimized people in bad situations making logical but harmful decisions' is there - it's still more valid than Thanos' motivation, and ya know... it isn't untrue to life.
The antagonist is so far gone in the pain, they can't take the way out of the horrible situation that the protagonists are offering at the end. That resonates with me.
And Carol's scene saying, "I thought I was helping people when I destroyed thing x, because I didn't understand the repercussions" worked for me. I see it as a matching bookend to Talos in the first movie: "This is war, Carol. My hands are filthy with it."
I have tickets for tomorrow and for Sunday - 11 AM shows because I am trying to avoid crowds, even with my mask on. I don't expect to enjoy it less, but I will try to pay attention to different things.
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 11:55 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]

I didn't realize the MCU could still generate a movie with an under-2-hours runtime. Looking forward to seeing it Monday.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:02 PM on November 10 [3 favorites]

Just got back. My partner and I both loved it, and loved it for the same reasons.

1. You could watch this with having no knowledge of the MCU (or Marvel Comics) and it would still be thoroughly enjoyable. For example, I pointed out a certain shirt being worn at some point and my partner didn't remember that from the first movie. They also watched Ms. Marvel limited series and don't remember how Kamala got the bangle. I have not yet watched Ms. Marvel, but I could still follow along just fine. (Definitely watching the series now. Vellani was awesome in the movie. She elevates the movie a full star.)

1a. If you had knowledge, it was a richer movie with an easter egg or two.

2. HOW SILLY! There was so much which was just so.... silly! We were laughing all of the time.

3. Related to all above, it being essentially self contained means we didn't have to worry about the universe exploding (much) and it didn't feel like a homework assignment in service of "MCU Big Plan V. 5, ep. 2".

I have thoughts on the last 15 minutes or so, but that's more "Ketchup vs. Mustard on a hot dog. You chose Ketchup and that's wrong because...." I understand the script and director's choice. I just would have handled slightly differently.

All in all, well worth seeing. A nice hour 45 to just not care about the world. (The runtime goes by superfast, too. Some really great pacing.)
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 8:34 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]

A great film, lots of things from lots of places coming together in a most pleasing way, and largely held together by the glue of Iman Vellani's bottomless reservoir of enthusiasm and being perfectly kidlike. I've got a bunch of different thoughts about these various aspects:

- I don't particularly have a lot of sympathy for the Kree; they've been shown as not-great in the past (both with their persecution/genocide of the Skrulls and with their war with Xandar ending up with Ronan the Accuser decimating the Nova Corps and nearly destroying Xandar itself), but Carol is correct in that that doesn't justify their genocide. That's the point of view of a heroine.

- The above feeds into why Carol didn't come back to Earth and/or get back in touch with Monica. I'd been wondering about that (there was a brief hint in WandaVision about that).

- Not much connection with Secret Invasion; Fury was the only character in both, and much more enjoyable here.

- My jaw literally dropped open when I realized that they were doing evacuation by flerkin. I wonder what it's like to be inside one? Are you unconscious or just kind of floating in the void?

- Musical Planet is my new favorite planet.

- The evacuation of the Skrulls to New Asgard was not only unexpected but raised a few unanswered questions, such as whether Valkyrie had Stormbreaker or if Heimdall Jr. figured out how to regrow Bifrost.

- The first credits scene was itself pretty funny because it's a mirror of Fury meeting Tony Stark for the first time and mentioning the Avengers, only different because it's Kamala trying to be like Fury and not really pulling it off. Young Avengers! Cool cool cool.

- The second one is not unexpected, although an interesting addition with Maria Rambeau; the juxtaposition of her with the particular setting both harkens back to the second Doctor Strange movie and also is apparently positioning that Maria as Binary, which is another past identity of comics Carol Danvers' (and difficult to explain without getting pretty deep into the weeds with Carol's tangled and occasionally not-great history in the comics). Absolutely apropos of nothing, I'm sure, Deadpool 3 comes out in July of next year.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:26 PM on November 10 [3 favorites]

My wife and I just got back from seeing this with our downstairs neighbors. We have kept up with basically all of the MCU (Secret Invasion being our only blind spot) and they... have seen a couple of movies. We all enjoyed the hell out of this, even if we had to do a lot of explaining on the drive home.

This was a big improvement on Captain Marvel in that Carol actually has a character arc of sorts to work through in this one (she screwed up BIG on Hana, almost enough to justify the Dar-Benn's actions, except that Dar-Benn is choosing the most personal and vengeful way to go about "fixing" things.)

Iman Vellani is, indeed, a star, and Kamala Khan is the key to this whole thing working. Carol Danvers is a little too godlike to be fully relatable (though, again, the Hana fiasco helps in that regard) and Monica Rambeau's character hasn't been explored enough yet to really make her a lynchpin, I don't think (though I like her.) Kamala is just incredible, though. Like, if you can't like her, you should probably look inwards about that.

And, of course, the space station evacuation sequence is probably the funniest sequence that we've ever gotten in the MCU. We were howling and near tears during that.

Anyway, loved it over here. Can't care what any critic says to the contrary.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:33 PM on November 11 [8 favorites]

Felt more than a little slapdash to me, but I still enjoyed it.

Maybe it's because I'm a charter member of the Carol Danvers is a Perfect Angel Who Can Do No Wrong club, but blaming the civil war and devastation of Hala on Carol because she destroyed the Supreme Intelligence doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Seems to me there would have had to be a lot of intervening choices by the Kree themselves to bring about that state.

Also...I feel like a military brat like Monica would not be so un-understanding about "I was away fighting some wars."

Ms. Marvel is very charming but she was stuck in one note for a looooong time given how everyone else was skipping around.

That was Kelsey Grammer-voice Beast, yes? Not Nicholas Hoult-voice?
posted by praemunire at 10:35 PM on November 11 [2 favorites]

That was Kelsey Grammar; he’s listed in the credits.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:18 AM on November 12 [2 favorites]

Just watched it and thought it was great! Fun, zippy, and of course Kamala Khan is the best.

My favorite li’l Easter egg was the outfit provided by Musical World to Monica having those big, white, flowy sashes from shoulder to wrist that evoked her original comic book outfit—and it gets even better when Monica tears them off and throws them in a corner.

What was also funny is how this completely contradicted Secret Invasion in a way that’s hard to reconcile. In SI Fury is washed up and near death; in Marvels he’s his usual ass-kicking self. In SI Fury insists that Skrulls couldn’t live as an alien community on earth because humans would destroy them, and everyone watching asked, “What about New Asgard?” In the Marvels, the Skrull refugees get to go to New Asgard.

Question about the moving scene—is that just the Khans helping Carol move into Monica’s house in Louisiana? Or are they moving in too because Carol trashed their house in New Jersey? Both options seem strange to me! Carol is super-strong interstellar royalty and she’s going to ask Kamala’s aged parents who she just met days ago to move her shit??
posted by ejs at 11:34 AM on November 12 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed the movie. It was delightful. I laughed too hard during the Cats scene.
posted by heathrowga at 12:17 PM on November 12 [2 favorites]

she’s going to ask Kamala’s aged parents who she just met days ago to move her shit

I'm guessing Kamala wanted to help and her parents were like, "we are not letting you out of our sight for the next TEN YEARS, young lady!!!"
posted by praemunire at 12:33 PM on November 12 [10 favorites]

Also, boy, if you want to argue that Carol is a lesbian, her purely platonic relationship with her husband and literal Handsome Space Prince Park Seo-joon could get you a long way. Although I imagine Kamala is already writing the "arranged marriage of convenience turns into something more" fanfic.
posted by praemunire at 12:35 PM on November 12 [4 favorites]

To that point, I super enjoyed this section of the Polygon article "The big questions we had after The Marvels, and a few answers"
They’re close friends. Close friends who do Christmas morning together with their baby — I mean — the baby that one of them had. Who’s Monica’s dad? Not in the picture, apparently.

Carol is ashamed to admit to Monica that she unintentionally caused an interstellar civil war. Monica is really disappointed that Carol wasn’t there for her childhood even when she could have been, which is really more of a parental expectation than a “family friend” expectation, but Carol and Maria are just close friends.

Despite this estrangement, Carol was clearly included in Monica or Maria’s will, from how she inherits their house after Maria gets stuck in another universe. You’re right to wonder what’s going on there, because this is a textbook example of “there’s no heterosexual explanation for this.”
posted by ssmith at 12:47 PM on November 12 [13 favorites]

Yeah, it kinda looked like the Khans were moving into the Louisiana homestead themselves, except that that doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense (they have pretty full lives in Jersey City even if their house is wrecked right now), but I think Kamala showing up in Manhattan to recruit Kate Bishop into (presumably) The Young Avengers means that they're still in the NYC metro-area.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:24 PM on November 12 [2 favorites]

This was a better Guardians of the Galaxy than Guardians of the Galaxy, IMO! Tight, funny, warm, great chemistry. Unlike in most Marvel films, the last battle wasn’t 45 minutes of bigger and bigger punches. The Bechel test was passed with popcorn. Very happy to have spent my money on it!
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 3:28 PM on November 12 [3 favorites]

Speaking of, I guess this is the first time I've seen the Marvel Studios opening sequence since GOTG3, and apparently, despite having seen it before 30+ (???) movies before, it is now indelibly associated in my mind with crying in the theater about Rocket.
posted by praemunire at 5:27 PM on November 12 [2 favorites]

Inventive fight choreography, good pacing, several major characters had interesting personal arcs that played into and off of each other, ties into wider universe without collapsing under the weight of context... it's everything I want out of a blockbuster film in general or the MCU specifically.

I think Beast was the best choice for the final scene. He's extremely familiar to even most casual audiences, but immediately marked as extremely alien to Rambeau. It's simple, it communicates a lot of information to the widest possible audience quickly, and Kelsey Grammer played the character memorably so hey why not get a talented and distinctive actor to lend gravitas to some emotionally complex high-strangeness.
posted by fomhar at 7:20 PM on November 12 [3 favorites]

Nick Fury is Abu Hurairah, that is all.
posted by cendawanita at 8:06 PM on November 12

It's a little strange to make Maria Rambeau Binary, by the way. That was actually Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel post-her powers loss to Rogue. But, hey, if it gives Lashana Lynch more work, I'm for it. Lady has swagger. I guess we've seen a world in which LL was "Captain Marvel" (Multiverse of Madness), so she could've gone through the plotline that Danvers did in the comics.
posted by praemunire at 10:02 PM on November 12 [2 favorites]

My lovely wife and I enjoyed the film for all the reasons listed above, but while I agree that even setting aside their own responsibility for their civil war and generally acting like intergalactic bullies, while it's well and good that Carol Danvers restarted their sun, they're still using air and water stolen from other planets at a hefty cost in lives, and it didn't sit well for me that the movie does nothing to address it.
posted by Gelatin at 4:30 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]

I loved how unashamedly girly/female gaze it was.

  • The way Kamala Khan was fangeeking all over her heroes
  • The women were never sexualized, even while Brie Larson was walking around in a white tank-top
  • The whole musical planet, including the pretty-boy prince and Carol's dress
  • Learning to sync powers through double-dutch jumprope
  • Mrs. Khan jumping into the fray when her husband was attacked, and just generally being a mother hen
  • The brief cameo by Valkyrie - in her role as King, rather than as a warrior

    It was candy-floss fluff, and while some parts don't hold up to much scrutiny, I was grinning like a loon the whole time.

    Someone on Tumblr said there are more cats in this movie than white men, which may be why the usual suspects have been review-bombing it.

    Iman Vellani is a gem. Halfway through the film, I thought that if movie novelisations were still a thing, it should be written in Kamala Khan's voice. Then I realized that AO3 will be swarming with them within a few weeks. Though, if Marvel has any smarts, Kamala Khan's History of the MCU will soon be a thing.

    PS: I do need the followup story of what Nick Fury plans to do with 29 flerkittens.

  • posted by cheshyre at 7:09 AM on November 13 [10 favorites]

    Gelatin: I think there was a brief bit in the epilogue where Nick Fury asked one of the folks on the space station for an update, and they said that recovery was smoothly underway on the planets that had been attacked, and Fury was all, "no, I mean about Monica Rambeau..." So while it's a throwaway line, they didn't completely forget about Singing Planet.
    posted by Navelgazer at 7:31 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]

    You’re right to wonder what’s going on there, because this is a textbook example of “there’s no heterosexual explanation for this.”
    The other thing to note about Carol and Maria is that in Captain Marvel, when Carol was presumed dead, all of her possessions went to Maria. It's not unheard of to have a close enough friendship with someone else in the military that they are your sole heir, but given that film was in the Don't Ask Don't Tell era, that detail really read as close "friends". (I've asked a few people who were in the military at that time and they also thought that sort of arrangement read as the sort of thing one was supposed to Not Ask about.)
    posted by Karmakaze at 8:36 AM on November 13 [5 favorites]

    There is a charming interaction after Kamala picked up on Monica saying "Aunt Carol" and then Captain Marvel shows up. Off to the side, Mr Kahn murmurs that they don't look related and Mrs Kahn replies "Shush. Family is complicated."

    I liked that they made Kamala's effusiveness a benefit to the team. Carol and Monica were never going to talk anything out without someone with decent emotional radar stepping in. As a counterpoint, Kamala also matured to the point that she could recognize she'd overstepped early on and it wasn't fair to treat Carol as an idol instead of a person.
    posted by Karmakaze at 2:14 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]

    Okay, that was delightful fun.
    posted by rmd1023 at 3:01 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]

    The evacuation of the Skrulls to New Asgard was not only unexpected but raised a few unanswered questions

    Not sure why you’d assume they went to New Asgard; the last we heard relating to that bit of real estate was President Ritson declaring that everyone born off Earth was an enemy combatant and would be hunted down and killed*. It’s possible that the Asgardians have decamped from coastal Norway to somewhere else. Seems to me Thanos’ retirement villa was a pretty pleasant and currently vacant planet; why not there?

    Of course, in eighteen months or so we will be seeing President Thaddeus Ross, so there may be a change of policy by then.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:15 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]

    PS: I do need the followup story of what Nick Fury plans to do with 29 flerkittens.

    I would pair up one to each new Avenger who gets a movie, and of course all of grown-up flerkittens show up in the inevitable team-up movie! And then they have more flerkittens!

    I'm a little sad this movie appears to be a victim of superhero fatigue. If more of Marvel's movies were like this--short, funny, explaining all the backstory the movie viewers need to know--maybe there'd be a little less fatigue around it all.
    posted by creepygirl at 9:58 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]

    Though, if Marvel has any smarts, Kamala Khan's History of the MCU will soon be a thing.

    I want a Disney+ series of this RIGHT MEOW.

    Overall I enjoyed this movie a lot. I would place is as a good solid mid-pack Marvel movie. It had action, it had laughs, I enjoyed myself.

    The villain could have used a little more time, and the final fight with the villain was a little too much shaky cam, and not enough choreography. And as others have mentioned, the resolution was a bit hand-wavey and they skipped over "what about the other holes in space?"

    Iman Vellani is, of course, the bright star of the whole movie. I loved her in Ms. Marvel and I loved her in this. She's adorable and born for the role. I didn't love her new costume. It's doing too much. Carol's costume got more subdued, and Monica's was fairly simple, but Kamala's costume got a lot of extra embellishment that looked a little too busy.

    Carol's explanation for being absent could have been expanded just a little by adding her reasons she gave in Endgame: There are a lot of planets out there that need help. It doesn't have to only be about this one planet, although I get that they were trying to tie it to the main villain.

    Also, no one in this thread is talking about the most important cameo: Pizza Dog.
    posted by Fleebnork at 5:34 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]

    It's a little strange to make Maria Rambeau Binary, by the way. That was actually Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel post-her powers loss to Rogue
    In the diegetic flashback scene, Carol says something to Maria to the effect "If you'd won that race instead of me, you'd be Captain Marvel." My take from this and the end scene is that in this new universe, Maria did win the race. She became Captain Marvel (or maybe went by Ms Marvel). She's the one who got drained by Rogue[1]. She's the one who had to have Xavier's help to slowly regain her memories and become Binary.

    Honestly, the writers probably didn't think it through that thoroughly, but the line in the flashback makes me think they might have, and it's my head canon either way, until contradicted by screen canon.

    [1] Which would have been an even more complicated identity crisis for Rogue than she had in the comics.
    posted by Tabitha Someday at 6:23 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]

    Though, if Marvel has any smarts, Kamala Khan's History of the MCU will soon be a thing.
    I want a Disney+ series of this RIGHT MEOW.

    I'd like to see a series of interconnected shorts on freely available on YouTube.
    Critics are complaining that the MCU has so much backstory, it's hard for new users to jump on.

    So what could be more accessible than Kamala Khan giving a 5 or 10 minute summary of "so here's the scoop on Iron Man" (with the occasional argument with Papa Fury over the meaning of "need to know")
    posted by cheshyre at 9:01 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]

    I'd like to see a series of interconnected shorts on freely available on YouTube.
    Critics are complaining that the MCU has so much backstory, it's hard for new users to jump on.

    So what could be more accessible than Kamala Khan giving a 5 or 10 minute summary of "so here's the scoop on Iron Man" (with the occasional argument with Papa Fury over the meaning of "need to know")

    This is such a great idea that I'm already angry that it doesn't exist.
    posted by Navelgazer at 10:09 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]

    So what could be more accessible than Kamala Khan giving a 5 or 10 minute summary

    50% of the recaps should be Iman Vellani, and 50% Michael Peña.
    posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:45 PM on November 14 [10 favorites]

    "My take from this and the end scene is that in this new universe, Maria did win the race." - Tabitha Someday.
    You are my new favorite person.
    posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 2:03 PM on November 14

    My take from this and the end scene is that in this new universe, Maria did win the race. She became Captain Marvel (or maybe went by Ms Marvel).

    This, or plot-equivalent, had to have happened in the Sorcerer Supreme Mordo-verse Dr. Strange visited in Multiverse of Madness, though, given what happened there, Monica is clearly not in the same timeline.
    posted by praemunire at 2:58 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]

    I saw this movie with nine other people and not a one of them laughed at the Flerkin evacuation scene. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? I died. It was brilliant. "LET THE FLERKIN EAT YOU," while "Memory" plays? THE BEST. I have no idea how Goose got pregnant and laid a bunch of brain eggs, but cats are weird.

    I wonder what it's like to be inside one? Are you unconscious or just kind of floating in the void?

    Good questions and not one I'd want to find out from firsthand experience.

    I REALLY REALLY REALLY WANT CAROL'S (Disney) PRINCESS DRESS. I loved Bollywood Musical Planet and her ah, marriage (maybe she's bi? or it's a beard situation?) to the hot prince out of nowhere, that cracked me up. Also that dance was hot.

    Kamala continues to be the most adorable, nerdy, enthusiastic superhero ever. She is the best. I like how Brie Larson's facial expressions alone make someone who seems inhuman human. Also enjoyed her running around in jeans and a tie-dye-ish sweatshirt, and at one point RAINBOW CROCS, where the heck did she even get those when she hasn't been back to Earth? I also liked Monica and their entire three-way team. I loved how just as I was thinking, "Someone needs to hug Monica" and Kamala was at the ready with a hug and dragging Carol in.
    posted by jenfullmoon at 3:54 PM on November 14 [6 favorites]

    I saw this movie with nine other people and not a one of them laughed at the Flerkin evacuation scene.

    Are...are your friends okay?
    posted by praemunire at 7:06 PM on November 14 [4 favorites]

    Not my friends, the other people who were seeing a movie at 12:30 on a Tuesday. All of whom had no sense of humor, apparently.
    posted by jenfullmoon at 7:47 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]

    I had a lot of fun watching this one. I was kind of afraid that people who hadn't watched the Ms. Marvel series wouldn't get it as well -- that the MCU is becoming more like comics where you have to keep up with everything -- and that by not watching Secret Invasion that we might have missed something. But apparently that impression was wrong!

    I loved the wackiness (but then, The Fifth Element is one of my favorite SF movies). I'll gladly take this and Guardians 1 and Ragnarok and the screaming goats over Infinity War/Endgame.

    I loved that Carol gets to have a personality again, after Endgame. And of course Kamala Khan is great :)

    I wish it was doing better in the box office, because it deserves better. I know Marvel is already putting the brakes on production in general because people are burned out on superhero movies... but this one in particular earning poorly really makes me afraid they're going to take the wrong lessons from it about who comics are for.
    posted by Foosnark at 5:17 AM on November 15 [7 favorites]

    Yeah I don't really understand why this film is getting weak reviews and doing so poorly. It's tonnes of fun, there's just a lot of sheer joy in some of the ideas in this one.

    The one thing that I think doesn't work is the sacrifice by Monica at the end. Given the events are a consequence of Carol's hubris (I don't think the Kree being dicks is exactly her fault, but she basically applied force and assumed that would fix a much more complex problem) thematically it seems that her choosing to sacrifice herself would be more appropriate. As it was, Monica kind of out of the blue does it and I think it undermines a bit the emotional weight.

    I do wonder if some of the reason this didn't do well is that not enough people are familiar with two of the marvels, and captain marvels film was only just fine, so there wasnt a big book to sell this film to people. I loved Ms Marvel so was sold on seeing this, but I don't think I'm in the majority unfortunately.

    I really hope that they don't back down on the young marvels, because any team with Kate Bishop and Ms Marvel is going to be massive fun
    posted by Cannon Fodder at 3:21 PM on November 15 [2 favorites]

    I really wish Kamala would run into Darcy and Luis. Marvel is sitting on a treasure trove of side characters that never appear much and they're worthy of a mini series. Something relatively low stacks, with the massive CGI budget, more character driven.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:16 PM on November 15 [7 favorites]

    I suspect that in addition to plain old superhero fatigue and a continuing reluctance to go to theaters due to plague, the fact that the heart of the film is a brown girl and there isn't a single white man anywhere in the advertising probably isn't helping. When I compare the buzz about the film pre-release to the actual experience of watching it, it really does seem to me that a lot of the negative reviews were pre-written based on expected fan response, the way newspapers keep obituaries on file. I've seen a run of articles about how Rotten Tomatoes reviews "inexplicably" flipped from rotten to fresh as soon as people actually started watching the film.
    posted by Karmakaze at 10:19 AM on November 16 [1 favorite]

    Disney didn't promo this film well at all. I really enjoyed Captain Marvel but, while the teaser "Intergalactic" trailer was fun, the second trailer was so unbelievably rote I wasn't sure I wanted to go, and the third trailer was all about people from earlier phases. Just terrible marketing. (There's been a plague of bad trailers lately. I haven't seen Elemental, but I do know the trailer appeared to have been AI-generated; based on the film's legs, it seems it wasn't an adequate representation at all. Did somebody at Disney hire somebody's cousin to do this work?)
    posted by praemunire at 11:31 AM on November 16 [1 favorite]

    I wasn't expecting much, but was a bit disappointed even so. It smelled like a troubled production that's barely managed to get a plot together. I liked the Captain Marvel movie and the Ms Marvel series so was hoping for something half-decent.

    There are two different big battles between The Marvels and Dar-Benn, both of which happen after the body-switch training montage. Usually you'd have something different, maybe a sub-baddie first and the big boss saved up for the end. Or they would lose the first battle, do the training montage to improve, win the second. The structure felt weird like the result of desperate last-minute editing.

    I don't think Iman Vellani was well served by the script. She's basically forced to do fangirl squee-ing all the way through. That doesn't really make sense either for the character or the plot. Surely she would be doing her best to look competent and assured in front of her hero. Or there would be some kind of character development where she either starts out trying to look cool but reveals herself, or starts out fangirling and calms down. But she's just a bit one-note here.

    It seemed a bit out of character too for Carol Danvers to be so willing to fight alongside a child. She's not Tony Stark with Spider-Man who you'd expect to be irresponsible.

    The tone felt all over the place. The Captain Marvel movie was played straight, Ms Marvel had more comedy, this movie uneasily shifted between comedy and tragic trauma.

    It feels like a more coherent plot would be something like.
    • Kamala Khan meets Carol Danvers, fangirls all over the place.
    • Carol Danvers refuses to go into battle alongside a child, orders her to stay out of the way. Kamala Khan is emotionally crushed.
    • Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau fight Dar-Benn, lose.
    • At the last minute as Dar-Benn is about to blast Carol Danvers, Kamala Khan swaps in and uses walls or mazes of hard light to delay Dar-Benn while they get away.
    • Big speech from Kamala Khan about her duty and how Carol Danvers has to trust her. Carol Danvers reluctantly agrees.
    • Same training montage where they learn to swap.
    • All three battle Dar-Benn swapping in and out, win.
    It seemed like they were trying to cram in too many storylines and elements and didn't really end up with something that holds together in tone or plot.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:58 AM on November 17 [2 favorites]

    Just saw it this morning in a mostly-empty theater (as I figured) and really enjoyed it. I’m sure I could pick at it a lot, but it was enough of a romp that made me happy that I don’t have any real desire to.

    I admit to loudly haw-hawing at the flerkin bit. It really got me sideways.
    posted by PussKillian at 3:04 PM on November 25 [3 favorites]

    Saw it yesterday. I honestly think whether someone likes it or not depends on what they want out of a movie.

    I'd say you wouldn't like it if you:
    - Want every part to make logical sense within the established rules of the story world
    - Are partial to interesting villains
    - Want characters who are clearly queer to be textually acknowledged as being queer

    But I think you would like it you:
    - Want to see strong performances that revolve around meaningful emotional moments
    - Enjoy a story that isn't afraid to get DEEPLY WEIRD
    - Like to see characters who are clearly queer even if the text doesn't acknowledge them as such

    (With an extra jolt of happiness if you:
    - Are in your early fifties or so and had a subscription to the X-Men in your childhood during the exact era when Binary was part of the team)
    posted by kyrademon at 3:25 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]

    We went on a whim tonight to see it and my wife and I loved it. Obviously I loved the evacuation scene and cats, er flerkins, galore – but also loved seeing Ms Marvel get to meet her hero and stand shoulder to shoulder in heroics. Lots of kindness in this movie, which I really dig.

    Felt very well-paced to me, the musical number was hilarious, and the whole thing was a visual feast as well.

    I am in my early 50s and was a steady X-Men reader but I don't recall Binary. Will have to follow up on that.

    Real pity this one didn't do better at the box office, I think it deserved a far better reception.
    posted by jzb at 5:51 PM on November 29

    > "I am in my early 50s and was a steady X-Men reader but I don't recall Binary. Will have to follow up on that."

    The Brood Saga, AKA the Sleazoids. 1982 space opera sequence, roughly issues 161 to 167. Includes the first appearance of Lockheed the Dragon, Kitty Pryde and Colossus becoming a couple, Xavier starting to recruit the New Mutants, and Carol Danvers turning into Binary.
    posted by kyrademon at 6:52 PM on November 29

    It was like a half a year. Then IIRC Carol took off with the Starjammers.

    I wonder if this Binary is a memory-wiped version. If the hinge point was really Maria winning that race, then Monica would have existed and Maria should have reacted to her with something other than complete lack of recognition. Unless she hadn't gotten those memories back.
    posted by praemunire at 9:50 PM on November 29

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