This is a review of the first two episodes of Ms. Marvel and it is spoiler-free.
Ms. Marvel is for everyone, but it’s not FOR everyone. Confused? Let me explain. The cast, crew, and creative team behind Ms. Marvel went to great lengths to make this feel like it was “just another superhero story”, but not in the way you think. They’ve highlighted the cultural aspects of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian culture and accentuated them. They’ve also combined that with the growing pains associated with a teenage girl in that culture. That’s what you get with Ms. Marvel. So when you’re watching this show as an 18-45-year-old male, you might realize, it’s not made entirely for you. It’s made for everyone to enjoy, male, or female, it doesn’t matter. Little girls are going to want to be Kamala Khan, it doesn’t show off the normal cultural aspects we’re used to in the MCU.
And that’s the best part of Ms. Marvel.
Kevin Feige and the creative team, Bisha K. Ali (Head Writer), Sana Amanat (Writer/Producer – based on the character by), Meera Menon (Director episode two), Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah (Executive Producers and Directors episode 1) went to great lengths to make Ms. Marvel feel like it was just a slice of life until the superpowers come into the equation. That’s what makes the show feel so organic. There’s no origin story, we don’t have to spend two hours waiting around for something to happen. The origin story does come, but the events before it, center around going to Avenger Con and are less about how Kamala gets her powers.
The cast are really the ones that shape this material into something great though.
Iman Vellani Is Your New Favorite Marvel Actor
The star of the show is Iman Vellani, she embodies all that it means to be Kamala Khan. It also helps that Iman is a gargantuan fan of Marvel in real-life, so she slides right into this performance with similar energy to Simu Liu in Shang-Chi. After watching it, you just want her to interact with all your favorite characters. She brings that kind of joyous, passionate energy to the part. Whenever she gets to meet Captain Marvel is going to be a hell of an occasion. As for the rest of the cast, it’s huge and diverse but filled with smaller performances that add to the overall narrative. Rish Shah, Yasmeen Fletcher, Matt Lintz, Mohan Kapur, Zenobia Shroff, and Saagar Shaikh all throw in fantastic performances. Yasmeen Fletcher has a particularly weighty part playing Kamala’s best friend Nakia.
The plot and feel of this one is very much like Spider-Man: Homecoming. Tonally, it’s incredibly similar to that film. While that one had Tony Stark interacting with Peter Parker, the plot ended up feeling very small-scale. Here, the only real connections we have to the MCU at large are Kamala’s YouTube videos and Avengers Con. The way she gets her powers might be different from the comics, but when is the MCU 100% comic-accurate? Her powers (minus a blue glow because of the gauntlet), are pretty much the same. So those that are already “hating” on the show for that, it’s not for you.
The one thing that I can critique these first two episodes on is the fact that our antagonists, outside of some connections with Spider-Man: No Way Home, aren’t really there. They could be some shady government figures (N.I.C.E.?), but it’s just not really well executed. There are only six episodes of Ms. Marvel, and through two episodes, we don’t have a solid villain. Outside of that small critique, the show is excellent.
Ms. Marvel is tons of fun and doesn’t give too much away in these first two episodes. After all the multiversal action we’ve dealt with, old characters returning, and cracks in time and space, it feels pretty good to go small. Iman Vellani embodies all that is Kamala Khan and if these first two episodes are any indication, Ms. Marvel is set for the future.
The first episode of Ms. Marvel streams on Disney+ on June 8th.
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