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The Marvels Fly High—Here's Why

"You can stand tall without standing alone."

Action-packed cosmic adventures like this are exactly why I'm a Marvel fan. And since the writers wisely left out the boring subplots that usually drag these movies down, The Marvels, having shed this cumbersome baggage, is free to soar.

My favorite comic books are about space-faring heroes who treat the furthest reaches of the galaxy as their own wild west frontier. There's always a new, universe-threatening dilemma around the corner, but our mysterious, cosmic cowboy will surely save the day, tip their hat to the crowd, and then woosh away to the next cataclysmic disaster.

Captain Marvel is giving us exactly the stories I live for, and The Marvels is a prime example. Our heroes are on a quest to set things right, and along the way we'll visit the strangest places in the galaxy and smile at several familiar faces. The whole movie made me feel like a kid spreading out a comic book on my lap. It's just right. But The Marvels is not just a success because it's got all the right pieces in all the right places, it's also blissfully bereft of the insufferable tropes that so often ruin comic book adaptations.

For example, are you sick of tedious origin stories? I certainly am. In The Marvels, two of our characters still haven't mastered their powers, and part of the fun is watching them learn and grow under Captain Marvel's leadership. It blends in with the story, rather than slowing it down.

And there's no romantic subplot slamming on the brakes. Mind you, a good love story is worth the price of admission, but romance is usually a boring appendage to a good adventure tale. We don't need every Marvel hero to drag along a shallow love interest. Get to the space monster already.

Finally, no endless brooding. Sure, Captain Monica Rambeau and Captain Marvel aren't always in good moods. They have a lot on their shoulders and a lot on their minds, but we're never forced to watch them endure their lonely burden in a drawn-out montage where they trace droplets of rain along a window or lay lifeless to the tune of a rock ballad. The story moves on, whether they're ready or not. And Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) doesn't let people brood for long, because she's having too much fun, which is what more superheroes should be doing. She's in space. She has a space cat. There's space people with magic space powers. It should be fun, and the best parts of the movie are watching Iman Vellani constantly lose her cool.

So... there's no romance. No origin story. And no sad hero montages. This leaves a lot of room for, you know, an actual movie. The Marvels has the shortest run time of any MCU film, but it packs a mighty punch and never feels rushed. I had my concerns when I learned that it was pushed back and given extra time in post-production, because that often leads to bloated movies where the studio tries to cram in as many ideas as possible, like a cinematic turducken from hell, but whoever was in charge of The Marvels knew how to trim the fat and leave us with a solid adventure story.

While The Marvels is a fun ride from beginning to end, I have to admit I'm not a fan of the opening graphics, which showed only the women of the Marvel universe. I think these gestures make a movie seem like a niche story, as if it's only supposed to appeal to women, but The Marvels doesn't push any agendas that would make men feel unwanted. It's a story for everyone.

You can't help but notice the cast is very female. I'm sure someone will complain about that, but, gender-wise, it's less one-sided than the Lord of the Rings films or the original Star Wars trilogy. Those were absolute sausage fests.

The delight of this movie is watching Kamala Khan fangirling her heart out, which is what all of us would do if we were asked to go an adventure with our favorite superhero. Sure, I'd like to pretend I would play it cool, but let's get real. If Sarah Lance asked me to join the Legends, I'd play it about as cool as Urkel.

But if I took anything away from The Marvels, it's that sometimes it's a good idea to meet your heroes.

Final Analysis: The Marvels provides a blueprint I hope more MCU films follow. Lots of laughs, lots of fun, and, most of all, lots of heart. Five out of five jellyfish hats.

Adam D. Jones is a writer, historian, and undefeated cat flerken wrestler. He's also something of a light-based superhero himself, having recently used a cat toy laser pointer to rescue his wife's sandwich.


  1. Me and my daughters (11 & 14 years) really liked The Marvels. Both of my girls are big Ms Marvel comic fans and they were delighted to see that character on the big screen. The film had a lot of humour and with a runtime of 100 minutes did not overstay its welcome. Besides across the Spiderverse a the best offering the MCU had in a long time!

  2. I thought this was a delightful movie, fun and at times pulled on your heart strings. Of course I like all three main characters already, and understand their full backstories, so perhaps I'm the target audience. I thought the chemistry between the three leads was off the charts, and I loved how there was a very strong sense that their friendship would continue.

    Also, I have to mention how excited I am about that one cameo that was a subtle hint that Captain Marvel might be having an affair with a certain character who I will keep nameless for spoiler reasons.

  3. Just saw this last night. I'm really struggling to understand the negative reviews in the media. It was fun, barrelled along from one fantastic set piece to the next. No, it wasn't some deep introspective character piece but who's really looking for that in a Marvel movie? This was a rollercoaster ride, which is exactly what I was looking for, and the cats bit had me roaring louder than I think I ever have in a cinema before.

  4. Wow this is the first place I’ve seen give this movie praise and it’s just nice

    I’ve seen more toxic reviews videos and comments on this film to the point where I’m waiting till it’s out before checking it out but you made me wanna see it


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