The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | ‘The Marvelsʼ shows that the MCU continues to decline in quality

Photo courtesy of IMDb
Iman Vellani, Brie Larson and Teyonah Parris in 2023 Marvel Cinematic Universe film “The Marvels.”

Nia DaCosta’s “The Marvels” is the newest entry in the long-running Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film is a continuation for 2019’s “Captain Marvel,” 2021’s “WandaVision” and 2022’s “Ms. Marvel,” and is the MCU’s most messy and unpolished work yet.

There isn’t much in “The Marvels” worth writing home about. The movie starts and ends with very little in between. 

The movie feels like a shallow attempt to set up future sequels and cameos — namely in this movie’s ending that comes out of almost nowhere, and a midcredit scene that feels undeserved. 

Arguably, the setup of new projects and sequels are one of the main appeals with many of these new projects and the MCU as a whole. 

However, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” have fairly proper and coherent storylines; “The Marvels” is a melting pot of every MCU issue. 

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    After a devastating civil war within the Kree people that deteriorated their planet Hala, Dar-Benn, the new Kree leader, finds one of the Quantum Bands. This allows her to open jumping points in space when combined with her staff called the Universal Weapon. 

    With the bands and her staff, Dar-Benn would be able to bring resources from other planets onto Hala; however, she realizes that the other band is still missing. As shown in “Ms. Marvel,” it is currently being used by Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel.

    The movie seemingly sets up Kamala’s bangle to be a sort of McGuffin to lead the plot, but doesn’t follow through with that, even though it’s central to the plot and the villain’s desires.

    Captain Marvel — otherwise known as Carol Danvers — and Captain Rambeau investigate the jump point. However, upon coming in contact with it, all three heroes get their powers entangled. This results in them switching places with one another whenever they use their powers.

    Despite their differences, the trio band together to stop Dar-Benn from hurting other planets.

    The movie doesn’t do an effective job in explaining or detailing some of its characters and events. It also doesn’t set up its villain effectively. 

    The audience is given little backstory as to who Dar-Benn is, only that she was a Kree soldier working under the Supreme Intelligence and was witness to Danvers destroying it. This led to the civil war of her people — this is all that we know of the movie’s villain. 

    Instead, the movie spends most of its time with montages of memories from previous MCU entries and scenes that feel like filler.

    “The Marvels” has the shortest runtime of any MCU movie to date, with a total of 105 minutes. The MCU’s movies often come in at around the two-hour mark if not more. 

    When done effectively, a short runtime can benefit a movie as to not drag out its contents, but in this case — with the events of the movie being a huge universal threat — a little more content could’ve made the movie feel less rushed and sporadic.

    There is one good thing that went into “The Marvels,” and that’s Iman Vellani’s performance as Kamala Khan. Vellani expertly embodies the spirit of Kamala and her teenager-like behavior. She delivers many of the movie’s only funny moments and is arguably the best part of this film.

    It’s a shame that her performance gets wasted for this movie. It’s obvious that Vellani not only loves her character, but has fun portraying her. 

    Evidence for this love includes the fact that Vellani is currently a writer for the newest Ms. Marvel comic storyline, “Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant.”

    “The Marvels” is a disappointing end to what has been a fairly disappointing year for the MCU. Despite “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” bringing the MCU “back to formula” earlier this year, this is quite possibly the MCU’s worst year yet.


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