Film: The Marvels (2023)

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It’s been a while since I last went to the cinema – and being a Marvel Studio addict, today was the perfect excuse with the release of their latest blockbuster, The Marvels.

Official Trailer

YouTube player

It’s fair to say that Marvel’s output hasn’t been quite so marvellous of late! Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 3 (May 23) was OK, as was Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (February 23) – but hardly their best. Whilst Thor: Love and Thunder (July 22) was a complete embarrassment and one of the worst films I’d seen in a long while.

Having said that, I don’t think any Studio could maintain the high quality of their earlier outings, given how many films have been part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the MCU) to date. Unbelievably, this one is their 33rd in the series, and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s a return to form.

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For those who like lists, if you’re wondering if this one is part of Phase 5 or Phase 6 (I was!), it’s the former with Phase 6 coming along NEXT year (details HERE). If you’ve no idea about MCU ‘Phases’ then be sure to click on the box above.

Those who know me, know that I do like a good sci-fi story. Up until recently, the whole Marvel series of movies was something that always I looked forward to – Ann, not so much – but for me, they were always a treat. So, tonight, there were some heightened expectations tonight for this super-fan! 📈

Maybe it wasn’t a good sign in that as Jo, Janet and I arrived at the local Odeon for the 7pm performance – it was almost deserted! Maybe everyone was already seated for Marvel’s latest blockbuster? With our hot drinks in-hand, we headed for Screen 4. Disappointingly, it wasn’t much busier, where by the time the film began, there were only about 30 of us! ☹️


Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, has reclaimed her identity from the tyrannical Kree and taken revenge on the Supreme Intelligence. However, unintended consequences see her 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 two other superheroes to form the Marvels.
Thanks IMDB.

The Cast

Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel
Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau
Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel
Zawe Ashton as Dar-Benn
Park Seo-joon as Prince Yan
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Full cast list here

The Creatives

Directed by Nia DaCosta
Written by Nia DaCosta, Megan McDonnell, Elissa Karasik
Based on Marvel Comics
Produced by Kevin Feige
Cinematography Sean Bobbitt
Edited by Catrin Hedström and Evan Schiff
Music by Laura Karpman
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


The first thing to say is that this is ‘only’ 105 minutes long – that’s quite short for Marvel’s output of late!

You know what? I really (really) wanted to love this one, but as things turned out, it wasn’t to be, and I’ve now filed it under the same category as those mentioned earlier in this Post together with some of the recent Disney (who own Marvel Studios) TV series – yes, ‘Secret Invasion (2023)’ I’m looking at you! 👎

Now, after the most recent run of mediocre Marvel movie offerings, I’m more interested in WHY it didn’t tick the boxes for me? OK, as a slightly cynical 67-year-old, I ‘get it’ that I’m not the target demographic! 👎👎

On a positive note: consistently impressive special effects (some of the best), a stirring and majestic soundtrack, comfy cinema seats, not too busy (and therefore no conversations during the film by our neighbours), plenty of cats on-screen (yes, really) and Samuel L Jackson! What’s not to love?

Well, for me, quite a lot!! ☹️

Where to start? I’m told that one of the keys to a successful film is that you have to care about the characters. I didn’t, not a bit, apart from Ms Marvel who was quite likeable as a wide-eyed newcomer to all of this. For the other two leads, step forward a couple of cardboard performances struggling to drive a wafer-thin plot (that’s already been done to death so many times elsewhere – a ‘split in Space-Time’ 🥱🥱). Next, Samuel L Jackson, a regular and pivotal character across much of the MCU output, was woefully under-used, and could have pretty much ‘phoned in’ his performance. For lovers of our furry friends, for many, the most memorable scenes were probably the ones featuring cats – surely a bit of a worry in itself. Elsewhere, the action scenes, although perfectly choreographed, were so frantic, they were difficult to keep up with (and not helped by the sub-plot where the characters involuntarily changed places when they used their superpowers).

So far, so bad! But there’s more! There’s a tendency in many popular TV/Film franchises, once they become popular to include a musical scene or even a whole episode (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer [2001] and more recently Star Trek: Strange New Worlds [2023] are just two examples). It’s a difficult one to pull off – and a bit of a gamble – where seeing your favourite non-singing characters bursting into song, can be a shock to the system. I won’t spoil things here by sharing the details of this latest attempt, but it may be an idea to remove your shoes to give your toes more room to curl! 😲

By now, you’ll have got the impression that this one wasn’t for me, but we did stick around for the now-obligatory mid-credits scene. For those new to Marvel, this is their way of teasing the audience for something yet to come in a future production. Suffice to say, it’s worth waiting for, and for me, was the high spot of the movie and links all the way back to 2008. By the way, there’s an end-credit scene too, sort of, but if you miss it, unlike the film’s mid-credit equivalent, it’s not a deal-breaker.

All-in-all, I really do think Marvel has lost its mojo of late and I hope they turn it around soon. Consequently, I think this one is for completists and collectors (yes, that’s me!). However, unlike me, if this one turns out to be to your liking, then I’d recommend watching the ‘Ms Marvel‘ mini-series on Disney+ to fully appreciate the background to her character.

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