The Marvels Review
The Marvels (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Nia DaCosta, written by Megan McDonnell, Elissa Karasik and Nia DaCosta and starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Samuel L. Jackson, Zawe Ashton, Gary Lewis, Park Seo-joon, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh, Leila Farzad, Abraham Popoola, Daniel Ings, Shardiah Ssagala, Cecily Cleeve and Ffion Jolly.
Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels isn’t necessarily the worst of the recent wave of Marvel pictures but it takes too many quirky risks that just don’t pay off. This movie sometimes feels more comparable to old science fiction bombs like Howard the Duck or Battlefield Earth than to actually good Marvel films of the past. It’s hard to say it, but Oscar winner Brie Larson could be doing much more challenging work than she does in DaCosta’s latest movie. However, let’s just say it because Larson displayed so much talent in Room that it feels like she’s selling herself short as an actress by continuing to do this role. Captain Marvel was passable entertainment several years back but this new movie feels so unnecessary. The Marvels may have been almost adequate as a Disney Plus streaming event but that’s it. What we’re left with is a movie that takes a lot of chances and makes odd decisions regarding the choices it chooses to make in its short 105-minute running time.
There have been stories about the budget of The Marvels and how high it actually was. I guess, maybe, the money is on the screen but it’s not supported or justified by the contents of the script. Larson once again serves as Captain Marvel who, in one of the better scenes in the movie, takes her fellow superheroes, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and the young Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) to a place where people speak in song. When one of those people ends up being able to speak in words too, Captain Marvel hilariously says that the person is “bilingual.”
Another element of The Marvels that works is when it uses the theme song from the Broadway musical Cats in a wild scene where Captain Marvel has a slew of cats that have tentacles coming out of their mouths swallow up some crew members to transport them easier. The idea is ridiculous but the choice to use the Cats music here is somewhat inspired.
The most likable person in the new movie is Kamala Khan. As played by Vellani, she’s passionate and energetic but the script doesn’t guide her with a compass to help her navigate her way through the story line. Her strict parents (Zenobia Shroff and Mohan Kapur) have to deal with the fact that Kamala ends up getting involved from some villains from another dimension as Captain Marvel and her niece, Monica, alternate with Kamala to take them on in Kamala’s house. This material could have been OK for a streaming movie but is simultaneously way too slight and a bit broad for a big budget feature such as this one. It’s also not funny to see Kamala’s parents’ house get destroyed throughout the scenes that occur early in the movie.
Another problem is the use of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Fury appears to crack some one-liners but feels out of place in certain sections that employ him to advance the plot. Nick Fury has been used to better effect in other Marvel films and Jackson seems to be going through the motions in his performance of the role here.
The rest of the underwhelming supporting characters include Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) who is one of the most forgettable villains in a Marvel movie in years. Ashton is not as much the problem as the writing itself which doesn’t create character traits that stand out significantly. Park Seo-joon as Prince Yan also gets lost in the shuffle with a thankless role in, oddly enough, one of the funniest sections of the movie— that aforementioned world where people sing instead of speak.
Larson tries but she could have done this role in her sleep. It feels like much of her dialogue could have been made up on the spot. Teyonah Parris has her moments and fares somewhat better in another role that could have been juicier if it was given the right character development. Vellani fares best as the most energetic character on screen but the film, unfortunately, keeps her character feeling a bit one-dimensional at times. In addition, the costumes employed in the movie make the characters look they’re trick-or-treating rather than saving the world.
I don’t want to say The Marvels is that bad because I’ve definitely seen worse. Howard the Duck and Battlefield Earth have their admirers, I’m sure. The Marvels will have some fans but they will be in smaller quantities than they were for 2019’s Captain Marvel which was a better film. Some movies can have entertaining moments that will entertain young viewers and this could be such a movie but Larson deserves so much better. Predictably, the end credits here have some surprises but they were too little and too late to save the movie from a less than marvelous fate.
Leave your thoughts on this The Marvels review and the film below in the comments section. Readers seeking to support this type of content can visit our and become one of FilmBook’s patrons. Readers seeking more film reviews can visit our , our , and our . Want up-to-the-minute notifications? FilmBook staff members publish articles by Email, Feedly, Twitter, Fac