Marvel is BACK! After a few outings that didn’t hit their own high bar, THE MARVELS streaks in to deliver funny quirky moments, action showpieces, and genuine emotion. While the main plot at first was hard to grasp, the three superheroes – Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) shared oodles of screen time, and their chemistry was captivating. Kamala and her family are the heart of the film, and have the point of view of the audience as they try to grasp what is happening. Read on for our review, and what you should watch to prepare.



Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel) was previously brainwashed by the scientifically and technologically advanced militaristic alien race known as the Kree to fight alongside them in their tyrannical quest for power. She has since reclaimed her identity and power and has taken revenge on the Kree Supreme Intelligence. This has caused unintended consequences with Kree revolutionary Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) intent on re-establishing the Kree’s power at all costs. To that end, she finds the twin to Kamala Khan’s ancient bracelet, and uses it to rip a wormhole in space. 

While investigating this wormhole, Carol Danvers’ light powers become entangled with Kamala’s and Captain Monica Rambeau’s similar powers. The three switch places with each other as they use their powers at the same time. Now, this triad of superhero, super-fan, and super-intelligent S.A.B.E.R. astronaut must work together to save the universe. Oh, and there’s baby Flerken (just don’t call them cats).

Flerkittens in Marvel Studios’ THE MARVELS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

MCU Homework

We are no longer in 2008, with only two Marvel Cinematic Universe films (IRON MAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK) to keep track. The MCU now boasts 33 films and 10 TV series produced under the Marvel Studios banner. Gone are the days when you could just “jump in” to a Marvel movie, because now there are so many connections to previous entries. With that said, who would dare jump into such a vast franchise hoping to understand the story with characters previously seen in the cinematic universe!? 

So what should you watch before THE MARVELS?

CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019) – Considering that THE MARVELS is “Captain Marvel 2”, the original is essential! The film establishes Carol Danvers’ (Captain Marvel) origin story and her light powers, as well as her relationship to Nick Fury, Monica Rambeau, and her cat Goose (who is a Flerken – an alien that looks like a cat, but has a pocket dimension in their stomach). The Kree and the Skrulls are alien races constantly at war with one another in the Marvel comics, and this film details that story as well.

MS. MARVEL (2022) – This series is Kamala Khan’s origin story. It establishes her perky and uplifting personality as well as her relationship with her family, especially her mom. The series lays out how she gets her special light powers, with the help of an ancient bracelet passed down from her grandmother. One of the funniest lines in THE MARVELS has to do with the way Kamala got the bracelet.) Knowing how much Kamala obsesses over Captain Marvel will help explain her over-excited reactions in the film.

WANDAVISION (2021), Episodes 4 and 9 – We recommend watching the entire series, as it is still our favorite of all the Marvel Disney+ series. But if time is of the essence, Episode 4 “We Interrupt This Program” is the beginning of Monica Rambeau’s origin story, told from her point of view. The opening of this episode has a direct visual reference to THE MARVELS mid-credits scene, so have it fresh in your head! The episode also establishes Monica’s feelings of abandonment  towards “auntie Carol”. Episode 9, “The Series Finale”, shows Monica stepping into her powers, and how she transitions into working with Director Fury in the opening of THE MARVELS.

‘Nuff said!


It is so refreshing to see a new Marvel film that brings back the off-beat humor and genuine character relationships that made the MCU what it once was. While the plot was confusing at times, it does sort itself out with the three leading ladies’ genuine chemistry. Carol is the matriarch of the trio, Monica the emotionally distant “niece”, and Kamala the excitable, emotional teen super-fan of superheroes, especially Captain Marvel. Kamala takes the role of the point of view from the audience with her excitable fandom and putting Captain Marvel on such a high pedestal. She later apologizes for that as she didn’t let Carol Danvers be an actual person who couldn’t make mistakes. A valuable lesson we could all learn. Together, the three teach each other life lessons, just by being who they are. Their emotional journeys are a joy to watch.

(L-R): Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, and Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios’ THE MARVELS. Photo by Laura Radford. © 2023 MARVEL.

Iman Vellani steals the show! She and her alter-ego character, Kamala Khan, breathe such joy and positivity into the film. Her youth and family values are extremely relatable, and any scene with Kamala and her mom became the emotional core of the film. And, she doesn’t have the annoying teen angst cliche that you see in most recent shows and films. Kamala shows that life is what you make of it and sees the positivity in building up, not tearing down. It is gratifying to see this young cheerful superhero step into an exciting role in the final scene of THE MARVELS. 

Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan in Marvel Studios’ THE MARVELS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

As far as villains go, THE MARVELS is Kang-less, which in our opinion is a good thing. He in no way reaches the heights of the compelling Loki, Thanos, and Agatha Harkness. The villain here is Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) who falls between Kang and Loki. Her motivations are clear as she is trying to restore the homeland of the Kree and payback Captain Marvel as she calls, “The Annihilator” for destroying their sun. In the comics, Dar-Benn is a pink male general who uses Silver Surfer as a weapon. I hope the MCU uses that storyline in the future. 

Zawe Ashton as Dar-Benn in Marvel Studios’ THE MARVELS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

Behind the scenes, director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods, 2021’s Candyman) does a great job with the three female leads and lets them play and have fun. She is definitely a welcome addition into the MCU family and hope to see more from her. There has been flack about her leaving the project during post production to work on her next film. But since THE MARVELS went overtime with four weeks of additional photography, she contractuality had to move to her next production. Don’t hold that against her. And yes, the visual effects are still below par. Know that going in so it won’t distract you when you see the digital Flerkens or Carol Danvers flying through space. As silly as the film sometimes gets (looking at you planet Aladna with your language of song), the half-rendered effects blend in. 

Once again, THE MARVELS calls back the fun we had with the MCU films. The first act does get heavy with a lot of exposition which sometimes gets buried in the explosive soundtrack. The power-switching sequence is really dynamic, but the reasoning for it should have been explained a little earlier. However, after the first act has done its job, sit back and enjoy the roller-coaster ride that will bring plenty of laughs and gasps. 

As if we have to tell you, make sure you stay for the mid-credits scene and a post-credits audio tag. Our theater erupted in cheers and applause and that’s all we can say. Stay far away from non-spoiler videos and articles since this secret is sure to be spoiled too soon as well as another Disney+ MCU connection. We can’t wait for the eventual payoff these scenes promise.

THE MARVELS is rated PG-13 and runs a thrifty 1 hour and 45 minutes. The film opens in U.S. theaters Friday, 11/10. Do you have your tickets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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