The Marvels falls short of the standards set by other Marvel films, except for special appearances of familiar Marvel characters. However, if given some leniency, it provides 104 minutes of entertainment with a few uplifting moments.
The synopsis of the film goes like this: Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson) has reclaimed her identity from the tyrannical Kree and taken revenge on the Supreme Intelligence. But unintended consequences see Carol shouldering the burden of a destabilised universe. When her duties send her to an anomalous wormhole linked to a Kree revolutionary, her powers become entangled with that of Jersey City super-fan Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel (played by Iman Vellani), and Carol’s estranged niece, now S.A.B.E.R. astronaut Captain Monica Rambeau (played by Teyonah Parris).
The movie oscillates between different planets and solar systems, introducing us to the various clans that inhabit them. Unfortunately, the backstories of these clans are hastily explained, leaving the audience to piece together fragmented information. The conversations among the lead characters often feel like internal discussions, making it challenging for those unfamiliar with the comics to follow the storyline consistently.
The dialogues lack the seamless wit of previous Marvel flicks like Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy. Even the character of Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) – who has played a significant role in bringing the Avengers together – is reduced to a more comical character in The Marvels.
The forced humour in the script is jarring, lacking the artistry seen in previous Marvel films like the dry humour of Tony Stark in Iron Man or the Guardians who tried hard to be cool and fell flat on their faces, which was again a hilarious style that clicked with the audience. In The Marvels, however, the dialogue-writing lacks humour and any originality whatsoever.
While Marvel has historically excelled in combining great visuals with well-developed characters, The Marvels falls short in character depth. Larson appears expressionless, Parris seems awkward and Vellani’s animated energy fails to captivate. The relationship between Kamala Khan and Carol Danvers, reminiscent of Peter Parker and Tony Stark’s dynamic, lacks the same appeal, largely due to weak character development.
Post Endgame, Marvel seems to have abandoned sincerity in its storytelling, evident in plot holes and characters lacking depth (of course there are exceptions like GOTG 3, Spider-Man: No Way Home). The Marvel’s saving grace comes from non-human characters, particularly the cat (or should we say cats?) that provides entertainment throughout and contributes to one of the best scenes in the film.
The visual effects are, as usual, impeccable. The shots of various planets, the fight scenes, the entry points to planets, the humongous spaceships and the infinite universe, are captured to the tee. Some brilliant VFX and editing has gone into the shots that involved the powers of the three leading ladies getting entangled. Some of the VFX studios that have worked on this movie are ILM, The Third Floor, Weta FX, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Trixter, Rising Sun Pictures, Rise Visual Effects Studios and Framestore.
All in all, The Marvels is a well-packaged film that offers nothing new. But if you are a cat-lover, definitely go for this one.
The Marvels is produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Nia DaCosta. It is executive produced by Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Mary Livanos and Matthew Jenkins. Released in India on 10 November, the film is currently playing in theatres.
P.S.: Do wait for the one post-credit scene.