THE MARVELS. Colorful Vomit of the Flerken [REVIEW]

The Marvels is a film with a few cool scenes that don’t connect into a coherent story.

Marcin Konczewski

11 November 2023

I would be a liar if I immediately wrote that The Marvels is a bad film in every aspect. Well, there are indeed moments when Nia DaCosta’s film looks good. It’s colorful, presents some unconventional visual ideas, and attempts to build a new quality at the level of the heroine team. Unfortunately, all of this ultimately… doesn’t make much sense. Marvels turns out to be a mishmash of scenes devoid of a script, where everything is too much and too intense.

What bothers me the most is that the lack of a sensible (or any) script causes characters with potential to lose all their chemistry and power. It’s visible, especially after a fairly promising Act I, where I genuinely liked the concept of the action setup, and there seemed to be potential for a good MCU film. The motif of swapping places is unconventional. Its best moment is a fantastic fight scene where this idea is really well executed, especially in terms of editing. I haven’t seen anything like this in the MCU before. Paradoxically, similar fragments, good moments, exacerbate the disappointment and prove only one thing – there was space to make something really interesting with Kamala, Monica, and Carol. Somewhere in this narrative mess, jumping from location to location, there is also some chemistry breaking through. Unfortunately, their character arcs are really botched. The creators, after a good starting point, skimmed the surface of plot and drama like a skilled skater on a well-polished ice rink. Oh, if only someone skillful with a better script had pulled all the threads together, as is the case with the outlined Khan family relationship, we would have gotten a conscious, cool, and entertaining film… Instead, we got an inconsistent, composed of many unnecessary sequences, inflated to senseless limits, Marvel’s mediocrity with a tragic, poorly (pretextually) motivated villain. She’s an even worse character than Malekith, whose name you can forget immediately after watching.

I have to say this, even though I don’t intend to join the mindless chorus of critics – I don’t like Captain Marvel portrayed by Brie Larson. I’m not biased against the actress; I just don’t like this interpretation of the character and the means used by Brie. It’s just an annoyingly detailed character for me. And knowing this, the creators decided to change the character of Danvers and rebuild her. And you know what? Unfortunately, Carol is the weakest element of The Marvels, aside from the paper-thin villain. Ultimately, it seems as if Captain Marvel was pulled from a parallel universe and told to pretend to be her predecessor. The blame lies with the script, but Brie also has to make a great effort not to reveal how much this role tires her. On screen, she looks as if someone is forcing her into those artificial smiles, dances, and she has no tools to offer anything else. Larson’s stony expression is the same even when shedding tears. Ms. Marvel and Monica come off better in this regard. They somewhat carry the film by the ears. However, Monica completely loses out due to the superficial relationship with Danvers, and since the bombastic finale is a total flop, and she is its main character, it’s unfortunately hard to write positively about her. Therefore, in my eyes, only one of them stands out in the whole unusual trio – Kamala Khan. Her Ms. Marvel is innocent, as charming as in the series, and just like in that production, she suffers the most when she has to step into the big world-saving mission mode. It doesn’t work on the level of such well-constructed characters as Kamala, Spider-Man, or Kate Bishop. They are cool buddies from the neighborhood. However, I will insist that if everyone on the set were as committed as Iman Vellani and her film family, we would have a nice, perhaps less demanding but consistent, entertaining production.

Do you remember that one friend who copied from you so mindlessly during the test that he even copied your name? That’s another case of The Marvels, which in many moments, completely inconsistent with the tonal aspect of the entire saliva-glued story, is shamelessly copying James Gunn’s productions. Can I list them? Let’s go: the sequence on the water planet with the “prince and princess,” the plot with the flerkens, generally the whole vision of space. Not only is all of this evidently lifted from James Gunn, but it’s also unnecessary. Well, they couldn’t be the second Guardians of the Galaxy. However, world-building here has a lot more problems because the issue of power levels of superheroes has never been so apparent. In this respect, nothing makes sense – at one point, Danvers has the power to reignite extinguished stars, and at other times, she gets a beating from an opponent who theoretically steals her power but ultimately can’t handle it. All of this lacks logic, consequence. The absence of it, plus the spreading of the concept over too large an MCU, is also evident in the character of Fury, who has nothing to do with the grandfather from Secret Invasion. It’s as if someone erased that series.

The Marvels is a film with a few cool scenes that don’t connect into a coherent story. Unfortunately, despite significant potential for shaping a completely new superhero relationship, we received a script mess closer to Xena-level series, typical productions from the 90s. There are a few interesting ideas here, at least one brilliant fight scene on the scenic level. However, what’s the use when it’s a story about nothing? In fact, it was additionally chopped up in post-production, making it clear which scenes were shot earlier and which later. As if that weren’t enough, the whole thing is powdered with a copy of James Gunn’s films. Not very nicely, because such copying can only symbolize a fairly common image from the movie – the flerken’s puke.

Marcin Konczewski

Marcin Konczewski

The founder of the Kon (Horse) Movie fanpage, where he transforms into a film animal who gallops with pleasure through the multiverse of superhero productions, science-fiction, fantasy and all kinds of animations. If he had to say something about himself, he would say that Kon is a pop culture lover, a self-proclaimed critic constantly looking for a human in cinema, a fan of non games, literature, dinosaurs and Batman. Professionally, a teacher (by choice), always opposed to the concrete education system, strongly pushing alternative forms of education. He quietly writes fairy tales and fantastic stories for his little son. A Polish philologist by education. He collaborates with several publishing houses and YouTube channels.

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