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The Marvels (Film Review)

3 min read

When Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck gave the world in 2019 it served as a nice primer for the highly anticipated Avengers: Endgame, and with over a billion dollars at the box office, you'd be forgiven for assuming the superhero film was a beloved classic of the genre. Despite being a fun origin story, marked by decent actors and occasionally zippy action, the film earned the ire of unwashed keyboard warriors everywhere who label even the slightest hint of a non-white, non-straight, non-male protagonist as “woke”.

The sequel, helmed by Little Woods and Candyman director , has courted controversy from corners thanks to daring to cast *shudder shudder* women! Admittedly, being primed for does require you to have seen Captain Marvel (so you know who she is), WandaVision (so you know who Monica Rambeau is), Ms Marvel (so you know who she is) and Secret Invasion (so you know why Fury is chilling in space), but for the uninformed, some handy dialogue and quick explanations give you the basic info you need.

The film marks the shortest entry into the MCU to date, and that is both the best and worst thing about the film. It's not a long, drawn out affair, getting down to business setting up big baddie Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton – underused), who wants to rip holes in space to bring her planet to it's former glory and holds Captain Marvel responsible for it's fall.

DaCosta is a stylish director, and one who can make a serious point. For anyone who saw her legacy sequel Candyman will know, she can both honour something and change it with grace and ease. As the light-based powers of our heroes entangle and cause them to swap places, DaCosta makes sure we know where everyone is during a particularly fun fight sequence that goes from different corners of space to New Jersey.

The pace is, at times, a little frantic. The film hints at a longer, more expansive story, one that offers more of an arc for Larson's considerable talents. It feels like DaCosta is too afraid to outstay her welcome, despite her confidence with the action and some slick transitions that feel ripped from the pages of a comic book.

Where the film soars isn't so much in the bigger world building, or hinting at more multiverses, but in the interactions of these three women, two of whom have long buried history and one who is in constant awe. Larson and are both very good in their roles, anchoring the film with a sense of jeopardy. But it's , building on the promise of Ms. Marvel, who steals every scene she's in, even as CGI cats and a clearly joyful Samuel L. Jackson try to wrestle it from her hands.

The film won't please everyone, and it's more outlandish moments might turn some people off, but this is what a good time at the cinema is, fun, and with enough emotion to carry you through. It just feels like after the mammoth runtimes of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, there was a desire to cut this down, which is to the film's detriment. 

It does go higher, and further, but puts a little too much stock in faster.

The Marvels is in cinemas from November 10.