Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) continues to protect and serve all in our universe. A new enemy named Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) has arisen, seeking a pair of powerful ancient armbands that she hopes will restore her home planet, Hala. While Dar-Benn successfully finds the location of one bracelet, she is annoyed the other is still missing and somewhere in the universe. Around the same time, Carol ignores orders from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and begins to investigate a strange wormhole that appears. Something unexpected happens, and Carol discovers a significant change in her powers: she is now connected to Kamala Kahn/ Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), who is currently on Earth, and Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), an official astronaut working for S.A.B.E.R.
Now, this trio of unlikely superheroes must not only figure out how to use their powers together – a highly wacky and complex task- but also work tightly as a team to prevent Dar-Benn from finding the second armband. Matters become more complicated when we discover that Ms. Marvel is currently wearing the second armband.
Naturally, The Marvels is connected to the well-known Marvel cinematic universe and has been directed by Nia DaCosta, best known for her recent work on Candyman (2021) and Little Woods (2018). In this new instalment, we see the return of Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel in the leading role, and this time, we have new characters joining her, whether she likes it or not. For those unaware, it’s helpful to go into this new film with knowledge of Captain Marvel (2019), WandaVision, featured exclusively on Disney+, and Ms. Marvel, also available only via Disney+. Still, being well-educated in the Marvel universe is not essential, thanks to brief flashbacks in the film’s opening.
Firstly, I’ll be open by saying I enjoyed this new trio of superheroes. They’re all likable and fun, plus Nick Fury is always a welcomed presence who naturally provides a few comedic one-liners to the mix. As for the plot, brace yourself. The sci-fi aspect is strong, and some moments consist of too much technology and space babble to comprehend and embrace cheerfully. Thankfully, the pace and runtime of this entire film is fast and quick, but sadly, it’s evident that a small sacrifice has been made to achieve this. Some moments between scenes end abruptly, and trying to follow scenes was a distraction on several occasions. However, the enormous red flag for me was the film’s main villain, who is profoundly bland, uninteresting, and forgettable. I was surprised to find this character lacked any real backstory or value for her cause.
Overall, as the latest instalment in the Marvel cinematic universe, The Marvels delivers a potent combination of sci-fi and adventure. The new instalment doesn’t go too deep with its story but has some fun with its unique concepts, characters, and planets. While I’m grateful for the fast pace and runtime, some edits between scenes are deeply distracting. The endless amounts of sci-fi babble gave the vibes of a television series, and the comedy will lead to differing opinions among the audience. For those curious, yes, the end credits are rewarding and enlightening. Still, as a new film, I appreciated its direction, but it remains only a slight improvement to some of the more recent entries.