The Marvels review: Brie Larson superhero caper thrives when at its most ridiculous

The newest Marvel film lands in cinemas on Friday, 10 November

THE MARVELS, (aka CAPTAIN MARVEL 2), from left: Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau, 2023. ph: Laura Radford / © Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
The Marvels stars Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau, who team up to fight a common enemy when their powers become interlinked (Marvel)
  • 🎞️ When is The Marvels out in cinemas: 10 November, 2023

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 3/5

  • 🎭 Who's in it? Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Samuel L. Jackson.

  • 👍 What we liked: When the film goes into ridiculous territories it's at its most amusing, Kamala Khan and her family's dynamic onscreen is infectiously funny, and the narrative around Carol and Monica's frayed relationship.

  • 👎 What we didn't: The film falls into generic superhero tropes quite often.

  • 📖 What's it about? When their powers become entangled and forces them to switch places, Captain Marvel, Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau work together to stop Kree leader Dar-Benn from wreaking havoc across the galaxy in a bid to save Hala.

The Marvels has a lot of pressure on it to perform well as recent Marvel projects have failed to generate as much buzz at the box office as they have done in the past, the question is is it good enough to do so?

Starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani as Carol Danvers, Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, respectively, the film ties three characters stories together by thrusting them in each other's orbit through a body-swap comedy, with a superhero twist.

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The trio's powers become interlinked following exposure damaged space ports, which have been impacted by Kree leader Dar-Benn as she launches her initiative to take what she can from the universe in order to save her home planet of Hala. Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel and Monica have to team up to stop her.

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers in Marvel Studios' THE MARVELS. (Marvel Studios)
The Marvels tries to make good on its body-swap comedy elements, and for the most part it works until the film slides into a generic superhero tropes (Marvel Studios)

The Marvels does try to make good on its premise as a body-swap comedy, and the film does best when it leans into the more ridiculous nature of its narrative which takes the trio to different worlds, one of which is a planet where everyone talks in song and we are gifted with a musical number featuring Larson and Marvel newcomer Park Seo-jun.

Park's appearance in the MCU feels apt given his K-Drama heartthrob status, but the film sadly doesn't capitalise enough on its ridiculous moments.

THE MARVELS, (aka CAPTAIN MARVEL 2), Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, 2023. © Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection
Where The Marvels succeeds is when it explores its more campy side (Marvel)

There's also another silly moment featuring Flerken like Goose, Captain Marvel's trusty "cat" companion, that is hilarious, but, like the musical element, mainly highlights the missed opportunity of allowing the MCU to go full camp.

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What this means is that the audience are given a film of two halves: One features these small, funny moments while the other has the same, generic plot points featured in most superhero movies — making The Marvels a middle-of-the-road movie in the MCU with flashes of brilliance.

Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan in Marvel Studios' THE MARVELS. (Marvel Studios)
The Marvels cast do a great job, particularly Iman Vellani who makes the film a joyful watch (Marvel Studios)

That being said, the film's cast does a brilliant job of bringing the story to life. Vellani is a particular delight, with her and her family —played once again by Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, and Saagar Shaikh— bringing a sweet, joyful element to the story, particularly after Kamala is finally able to meet her all-time hero Captain Marvel and fangirls her heart out.

What other critics thought of The Marvels:

Larson and Parris are given a narrative with more emotional weight, given the backstory between Carol and Monica who haven't seen each other in decades and take tentative steps to reconnect after so much time apart, and their shared grief over the loss of Monica's mother Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch).

(Center, L-R): Zawe Ashton as Dar-Benn and Daniel Ings as Ty-Rone in Marvel Studios' THE MARVELS. (Marvel Studios)
Zawe Ashton is let down by a largely forgettable character like Dar-Benn (Marvel)

And while Zawe Ashton tries to gives as much gusto as she can to her dramatic performance as Dar-Benn, the villain isn't given much in terms of story to compel viewers to her side, making her a largely forgetful adversary.

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Thanks to the cast's shared chemistry, The Marvels is an enjoyable viewing experience and while it does fall into the trap of giving us some of the same superhero tropes it is a fun watch.

The Marvels lands in cinemas on Friday, 10 November.

Watch the trailer for The Marvels: