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The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Review | ‘The Marvels’ is the MCU’s latest lackluster release

Despite having fun moments and good character dynamics, the newest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe suffers from underdeveloped plot points.
Marvel Studios, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) in “Captain Marvel.”

Have you ever walked away from a movie feeling both satisfied and slightly confused at the same time? If so, then you probably understand exactly how I felt leaving the theater after “The Marvels.”

The newest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe boasted the return of Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, as well as characters from some of the MCU’s various television series including Captain Monica Rambeau, played by Teyonah Parris from “WandaVison,” and Kamala Khan, played by Iman Vellani of “Ms. Marvel.” 

While the TV series does give context for Monica and Kamala’s characters and their motivations, the background knowledge isn’t essential for getting a good viewing experience out of “The Marvels.”

Without spoiling anything from the movie, I did enjoy the character dynamics between the three titular Marvels; Carol and Monica clearly have a shared past causing tension between them, while Kamala is simply happy to be included on a mission with her idol, Captain Marvel. 

In the movie, Carol and Monica have unresolved tension surrounding Monica’s mother — who was also Carol’s best friend. This plotline was only touched upon briefly in the movie but seems like it should have been given more attention, as it is the focal point of one of the most important relationships in the movie. While I do believe that Carol and Monica’s plotlines should have been given more time to breathe during the movie, the character of Kamala made up for it. 

Kamala is introduced as a young girl who idolizes Captain Marvel. She has just mastered her light-based powers and desperately wants to be an asset to the team. Throughout the movie, she grows from a naive and excited girl into a mature hero. At the end of the movie, we even get a snapshot of her future in the MCU. 

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I loved watching Kamala develop as a person in the movie. Her family members added a comedic and relatable plot thread with their overprotectiveness of Kamala, even to the point of following her into outer space. 

The movie’s biggest problem was the development of the villain, Dar-Benn — a comic book character brought to the big screen for the first time in this movie. 

Throughout the movie’s runtime — just short of two hours long, clocking in as one of the shortest films in the MCU — the audience gets only small glimpses of Dar-Benn’s past. While his backstory was interesting, it needed more development and elaboration. 

The main conflict that fuels Dar-Benn and her motivations is only briefly shown on-screen, set between the events of the first “Captain Marvel” movie and this one. Because it was only briefly glossed over, I never truly felt connected to that part of the storyline. 

Likewise, Carol’s reaction to what happened could have been more powerful. Marvel needs to further explore the potential and motivations of her character. 

In the movie, the audience follows the three marvels to many different planets, hopping from place to place every couple of minutes. Increasing the movie’s run time could have created space to add some sort of resolution to the life-threatening obstacles of these places. 

Overall, “The Marvels” was a fun movie despite its plot holes. I recommend seeing the movie, even if only to see where the three Marvel’s storylines go, or to spend more time with my personal favorite character — Goose.

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About the Contributor
Riley Dunn
Riley Dunn, Arts Reporter
Riley Dunn is a first-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in English and Creative Writing and Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to her time at the DI, Riley interned for Swimming World Magazine.