What Critics And Fans Are Saying About The Marvels

Another year of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is drawing to a close and, folks, it's been a pretty turbulent flight. The hope was that co-writer/director Nia DaCosta's "The Marvels" would, at the least, bring things in for a smoother landing, seeing as it assembles a squad of superheroes from some of the better MCU entries in recent years. Leading the way, of course, is Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), who made a splash in 2019 with her solo film, "Captain Marvel," on her way to socking Thanos in the jaw (somewhat literally) in "Avengers: Endgame." But far from being alone, "The Marvels" sees Carol joining forces with her late bestie Maria's daughter Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) — who's fresh off gaining some shiny super-powers of her own in the acclaimed series "WandaVision" — and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a rambunctious teen and Captain Marvel fangirl who stole everyone's collective hearts in her MCU series "Ms. Marvel."

"The Marvels" pits this triumvirate of energy-projecting superheroes against Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), a rogue Kree warrior whose vengeful scheming threatens to destabilize the ongoing peace talks between the Kree empire and the Skrulls (itself a subplot that was set in motion on the "Secret Invasion" series and, well, the less said about that show, the better). Complicating matters, Dar-Benn's malicious multiverse-manipulating machinations cause Carol, Monica, and Kamala to abruptly start swapping places without a moment's notice, which makes it harder for the trio to do that whole saving-the-day thing. But perhaps the bigger question is, can "The Marvels" rescue the MCU from its current downward slide?

Now that the film is out in theaters, let's see what the moviegoing masses have to say.

What does /Film think of The Marvels?

To say the /Film team is mixed on "The Marvels" would be a bit of an understatement. In his review, Jeremy Mathai wrote that "Vellani's big-screen debut singlehandedly makes 'The Marvels' worth your while," yet he found the film as a whole to be a "disjointed and painfully rushed effort, which comes with the metallic aftertaste of a made-by-committee affair." He ultimately rated the movie a five on a scale of 10, noting, "But even at its most enjoyable moments, 'The Marvels' succumbs to the temptation of franchise-building over all else."

/Film's senior news editor Jacob Hall had a similar take, tweeting, "You can really feel the post-production flop sweat on THE MARVELS, a film built entirely on good intentions and lackluster execution. Not quite a LOVE AND THUNDER disaster, but a crushing disappointment. Iman Vellani crushes it, though."

In contrast to that, /Film's BJ Colangelo tweeted, "Nia DaCosta's ['The Marvels'] is a blast and a half! Any complaints I have come with the caveat that I could practically hear a studio note commanding it. Iman Vellani is a superstar and there are two moments in particular that now rank as my fave MCU moments — period." /Film's Rafael Motamayor was even more enthusiastic, tweeting, "['The Marvels'] rules!! This is the funniest Marvel movie by far, and one of the weirdest ones yet. Iman Vellani is a star and she deserves the world."

If nothing else, it seems everyone agrees: Iman Vellani (and Kamala Khan) is a shining star who deserves to lead the MCU into the future.

What are critics saying about The Marvels?

"The Marvels" currently has a 60 percent "Fresh" rating and an average score of 5.9/10 among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, which makes it the third lowest-ranked MCU film on the website ahead of "Eternals" and "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." In her review for Inverse, former /Film editor Hoai-Tran Bui wrote, "'The Marvels,' for better or worse, embodies Marvel's current identity crisis. There's a nugget of the truly innovative movie within it, which plays out mostly uninterrupted for the first half. But it's when 'The Marvels' becomes beholden to the overall MCU that its ramshackle script starts to fall apart."

Even the more positive reviews tend to come with related caveats. For example, when reviewing "The Marvels" for The Film Verdict, Alonso Duralde wrote that while DaCosta "deserves praise for shaking up business as usual in the MCU, the film ultimately lacks the commitment to fully embrace the smaller scale of human interactions, resulting in an awkward mashup with the typical tropes and beats of a Marvel movie." Overall, though, he found more to enjoy about the film than not, stating that it offers "plenty of oddball delights" and calling it "an entertaining, if shambolic, 105 minutes."

As with the /Film crew, though, critics were pretty unanimous in their praising of Vellani and her MCU counterpart. In her review for Girl Culture, Caroline Siede called Kamala "the biggest draw of 'The Marvels,' or at least the element that gives the movie its heart." And while she admitted the film "barely holds together," she added, "But led by Khan's effervescent performance and some kooky comedic choices from co-writer/director Nia DaCosta, it's also a pretty undeniably fun time at the movies too."

What are fans saying about The Marvels?

For the most part, fans seem upbeat about "The Marvels." Twitter user "mal" called the film "a nonstop cosmic thrill ride [that] has been undersold like hell," adding that the chemistry between its leads was "absolutely the highlight, the moment they were brought together, their connection felt so human and palpable." As a whole, they described the movie as "a refreshing change of pace in the MCU" that has "put a battery in the back of the MCU while also setting up some incredible things for the future, need everyone to see this."

Another Twitter user, "A," was equally effusive, writing that the "Marvels" trailers "really didn't do Nia DaCosta's camerawork and visuals justice" and praising the filmmaker for delivering "some of the BEST action scenes in the MCU." They went on to herald the movie's leads, writing, "They are just PERFECT together and thankfully they also get their own moments to shine. Carol is so f**king POWERFUL. Kamala's hardlight powers look so good on the big screen, and lastly Monica ... oh Monica the goddess that you are..."

On the whole, it sounds like there's a lot people are enjoying about "The Marvels," from its wilder creative choices to the main cast and particularly Iman Vellani's turn as Kamala Khan. But at the same time, it appears to be hampered by many of the same technical and storytelling problems that have plagued most of the MCU's Phase 4 and Phase 5 releases ... which won't do much to deter those calling for the property to be allowed to ride off into the sunset. Here's to hoping for better days ahead for the franchise as it prepares to head into 2024.

"The Marvels" is now playing in theaters.


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