Discover more from The Mendez Movie Report
Review: The Marvels
Higher. Further. Faster. Together.
This is a quick review of the newly released film The Marvels. Keep in mind this is but one of the many movies I watch every year, and that whatever initial grade I come up for this film could change for better or worse with time. To better keep up to date with both my thoughts on other movies and if my feelings on this film changed, follow me on Letterboxd.
I’d also appreciate it greatly if you spread the word about the newsletter to any family or friends who would love to have film reviews, classic movie lists, and Oscars projections delivered straight to their inbox.
Via Letterboxd: Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, has reclaimed her identity from the tyrannical Kree and taken revenge on the Supreme Intelligence. But unintended consequences see Carol shouldering the burden of a destabilized universe. When her duties send her to an anomalous wormhole linked to a Kree revolutionary, her powers become entangled with that of Jersey City super-fan Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, and Carol’s estranged niece, now S.A.B.E.R. astronaut Captain Monica Rambeau. Together, this unlikely trio must team up and learn to work in concert to save the universe.
I truly have been underwhelmed by this year in film. Perhaps personal life struggles have colored my bias about this year’s slate so far, but overall I have found 2023 to be a downgrade compared to last year’s amazing catalog of movies. But this past weekend my hopes have started to climb that the best have been saved for last. As the awards season machine starts ramping up and I start attending screenings and getting screeners again, the quality in new films is going up. Recently I watched Poor Things and The Killer, two films which I came to really like and will probably show up in my year-end lists. But I can only do written reviews for only so many movies and so this weekend I have to write up a review for the major release that is the newest MCU flick in The Marvels - and unfortunately I do not have much praise to give this one compared to those two aforementioned titles.
I have never given an MCU film lower than a B- grade. Even the most divisive titles such as Iron-Man 2, Thor: The Dark World, The Eternals, or the more recent Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania have received just enough positive marks from me. That include the flawed but still enjoyable enough Captain Marvel which is the predecessor of this film. For the first time ever I have to say I outright disliked an MCU movie and will just let you know straight up I gave this a mediocre C+ initial grade. Maybe on re-watch that goes up to a just bare enough B-, but the point is this is easily my least favorite MCU film ever.
A part of this is because of the current makeup of the franchise which has now extended to shows on Disney+ that admittedly I have no time to catch up with. Because of this there are many major key characters and story bears presented in this movie that left me completely in the dark. The introduction to the character of Kamala Khan (Played by Iman Vellani), Ms. Marvel, to any non-TV viewers will come with little background explanation of who she is and what her family is like past her fangirling and jokes about her family adjusting to space travel. The introduction of a now grown Monica Rambeau (Played by Teyonah Parris) is all throwaway lines that allude to things I never saw on the Disney+ shows. You can argue that was my fault and I should have watched those series, but what are we doing here with film when I’m being told to do homework and binge shows on a streamer to understand a movie better?
That’s not accounting for the continuation of poor writing of the Carol Danvers character (Played by Brie Larson), a character I still feel like I know little about past her superpowers. Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury but is clearly sleepwalking through this with his worst performance ever as the character. The villain played by Zawe Ashton is weak and forgettable and this ends a great streak the MCU was in of well-written baddies even in their more divisive titles of late. I don’t blame Ashton for this as much as I do the script.
The editing and pacing of this film are a mess, it never allowed any of the story or character moments to breathe. The fight scenes are boring. The jokes are very hit and miss. The dialogue badly needed some re-drafting in certain scenes. For a movie that is the shortest in the franchise, I felt like it could’ve used so much more and yet I also got bored enough to find myself checking my watch half-way through.
There are a vocal amount of folks who seemed to have enjoyed themselves with this. And given I’m the dude who liked Haunted Mansion and The Exorcist: Believer, I guess I’m not the one who should throw stones on people having their own subjective experience with a subjective piece of art. All I’ll say is, this is the first time watching an MCU movie that I finally started to see what some have griped about in regards to feeling like they were watching mindless content creation rather than a piece of cinema onscreen. I, the guy who thought various MCU movies deserved Best Picture consideration and gave the recent ‘Guardians’ film an intial A- grade, have finally hit my rock bottom with this franchise. Its time for a change in creative vision when it comes to the once most powerful and popular movie franchise going today.