Film Review: What Evil Lurks Behind ‘The Marvels’

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Rated PG-13 (Marvel Studios)

“She tore a hole in space….”  

First of all? Cut the crap. There is no such thing as “superhero fatigue.” That’s just an annoying, subliminally disguised “anti-woke” term made up by waning, embittered, self-indulgent directors (and their simpin’ hatin-ass counterparts) who are terrified and utterly baffled by the timeless appeal of heroes.

Good vs evil” archetypes are a common moral theme as old as time in all story-telling and genres. Be it war movies, westerns, action, spy-thrillers, horror and sci-fi, there’s absolutely nothing new about people wanting sharply defined heroes and villains and particularly in dark times like these.

What really bothers the crap outta’ me are the thinly veiled sexist comments that are masquerading as “critiques” (especially toward majority women helmed and crewed projects like “The Marvels”) and I’m not having it. Guys like this love to bring up box office numbers as an “argument” yet those very same dudes conveniently leave out the fact that far and away, the biggest film of the entire year, “Barbie” (yet, another movie they never bothered to see) made well over a billion (that’s with a big fat ‘b’) dollars, so miss me with that tired-ass angle. 

What guys like this are really saying (but don’t want to admit) is that they’re really not against Marvel. They’re against the increasingly inclusive representation of the people who are featured IN these films. Heroes of today are simply no longer centered on or are about those who look like their typically loudest naysayers.

Color me surprised. And what I find most puzzling is that the majority of those who are hatin’ on “The Marvels” predictably, didn’t even see it and those who did, overwhelmingly enjoyed it.  

Anytime you’re talking about a movie with three of the principals (as well as the director, Nia DaCosta) being women you’re always going to get a hardcore pack of incels foaming at the mouth. Which, to me, is all the more reason to champion it. It’s a fun, feel-good entertaining early “Star Wars”-esque, superhero romp plus there’s a pleasantly surprising family dynamic as well. Its (ahem) “Jardiance” moment aside, tonewise, it’s nowhere near as wacky as say the last two “Thor” movies, yet it’s just as enjoyable. 

The true strength of this movie is the clear chemistry of the cast. The interaction between Brie Larson and the irrepressible, scene-stealing Imani Vellani (and Zenobia Shroff as her fiery, feisty, overprotective mother) is completely adorable, and the radiant, utter fineness of Teyonah Parris (especially in that costume alone) is well worth the price of admission.

Best of all, there’s a palpable familial dynamic amongst the three. And while not as bombastic and high stakes, drama-fraught as “Infinity War” or “Endgame” (of which, very few movies are) ironically, I’d imagine that like “Shang Chi” and “Eternals” (as with niche comedy projects like last year’s Jokoy’s “Easter Sunday”) this is precisely the kind superhero romp that would be well received in the comfort of one’s living room where entire families can enjoy it.

Despite the impact of the SAG-AFTRA & WGA strikes (the stars weren’t allowed to promote it) the uninspired, lackluster, matter-of-fact marketing and petulant, mewling fanboys’ prognostications of MCU doom aside, “The Marvels” is nowhere near as bad as its haters would want it to be and far better than fans expect. 



Andre is a Los Angeles-based writer and stand-up comedian.

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