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Marvels, The


Stars: Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, Teyonah Parris, Zawe Ashton, Samuel L Jackson, Seo-Jun Park, Leila Farzad, Daniel Ings, Hailee Steinfeld, Tessa Thompson. Voice: Kelsey Grammer

Director: Nia daCosta

This Marvel movie is all about girl-power, but it's not nearly as much fun as you might think. The heroes and the bad guys are all women, although they aren't able to to take as much advantage of some all-girl badinage as you would hope.

Larson quacks her way through the role of Captain Marvel, although, since there are few subtleties in the formulaic dialogue, this isn't so much of a disadvantage as you might fear. And, as the villain(ess), Dar-Benn, is fiercely played by Brit actress/director Ashton, at least you can hear every word she says.

The plot, however, really revolves around Asian-American teenager Kamala Khan (the 21-year-old Vellani easily passing for mid-teens), who has a bracelet that is half of a pair that possess magic powers (the other one's in the clutches of Dar-Benn) and soon has her teeming up with Marvel and partner Monica (Parris), daughter of Larson's long-deceased bestie.

The action really isn't that exciting, the best sequence coming when the 50-plus crew members of Samuel L Jackson's crashing spaceship escape inside (!) an army of extra-terrestrial cats. Otherwise the plot is as much of a jumbled mess as Kamala's parents' apartment after the superheroes come and go via boring body switches made possible by Dar-Benn's blasting a hole in the space-time continuum (I think). There's even a song-and-dance section in the middle that looks as though it was ripped from Disney's version of a Bollywood musical.

One of the major characters appears to meet her doom at the end, but Marvel simply can't leave this sort of thing alone, and she duly pops up again in a mid-credits sequence.

David Quinlan

USA 2023. UK Distributor: Disney (Marvel). Colour by Company 3 (digital dailies: Technicolor).
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 10 Nov 2023