Disney and Marvel’s latest MCU film The Marvels hits theaters this Friday with some showings as early as Thursday, but some lucky critics have already screened the film and shared their thoughts.
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 as “The Marvels.”
Critics aren’t being too kind and the film is ranking 60% “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 137 reviews. When there was half that number of reviews, Forbes declared The Marvels to be the third worst reviewed MCU film of all time, only scoring better than Eternals and the worst reviewed MCU film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. To be fair, the difference between “rotten” and “fresh” is just one percent. Earlier, the film was ranking 59% “rotten.”
Here’s what critics are saying:
Christian Holub from Entertainment Weekly said, “Kamala comes into her own here and works really well at meeting her heroes. Both the actress and the character are clearly so excited to be in a big Marvel movie that you can’t help but get a little swept up in it yourself. The film’s final scenes contain some classic MCU teases, but they’re most exciting to the degree that they promise even more Ms. Marvel to come. If anyone can get this dormant sun shining again, it’s her.”
Michael Phillips from Chicago Tribune declares, “Director and co-writer Nia DaCosta’s agreeable weirdo of a movie has a few things going for it. It’s genuinely peculiar, its nervous energy keeping things reasonably diverting. Also there’s an extended scene of Flerken.”
Valerie Complex from Deadline Hollywood Daily attested, “In an era where the Marvel Cinematic Universe frequently shuttles between multiverse escapades and interplanetary conflicts, Nia DaCosta‘s The Marvels emerges as a breath of fresh air, eschewing bombast for a nuanced exploration of its characters. DaCosta, alongside writers Megan McDonnell and Elissa Karasik, anchors the superhero spectacle in the tangible and personal, making the extraordinary feel accessible and grounded.”
Peter Bradshaw from the Guardian observed, “It is all, of course, entirely ridiculous, but presented with such likable humour and brio, particularly the Marvels’ visit to a planet where everyone sings instead of speaks. On this planet Carol is a princess, a setpiece presumably placed in the story purely so that Larson can showcase an adorable “princess” outfit, part of this film’s bid for the tween-sleepover customer base. Larson, Parris and Vellani are an entertaining intergalactic ensemble.”
Brian Truitt from USA Today had this to say, “The Marvels is that rare superhero adventure seemingly tailor-made for cat lovers, people really into body-swapping shenanigans and those who live for jubilant song-and-dance numbers.
And for Marvel Cinematic Universe devotees, the 33rd big-screen outing acts as a solid enough sequel to both 2019’s Captain Marvel and last year’s Disney+ series Ms. Marvel, with cosmic derring-do and strong performances from Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani. Directed by Nia DaCosta, Marvels throws a ton of plot at viewers that too often falls back to Marvel-y familiarity – world-saving stakes, villain with a light-up doodad – yet enjoyably soars when it centers on its core trio and dares to go gonzo.”
Lovia Gyarkye from Hollywood Reporter professed, “The conventional film pulsates with a quiet force propelled by the sincere bond between its three protagonists. Brie Larson reprises her role as Carol Danvers, the amnesiac pilot from the 2019 blockbuster Captain Marvel; Teyonah Parris is Monica Rambeau, whom viewers saw in WandaVision; and relative newcomer Iman Vellani is Kamala Khan, the star of the Disney+ series Ms. Marvel. DaCosta’s kinetic direction and intimate storytelling style lets audiences see this trio — whose lives collide in unexpected ways — from new and entertaining vantage points.”
Moira MacDonald from Seattle Times said, “For those who may be growing just a tad weary of the never-ending stream of Marvel Comics screen adaptations, note this about Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels: It is the first Marvel superhero movie to a) have a female trio at its center, b) utilize, to fine dramatic effect, the song Memory from the musical Cats, and c) get its job done in a swift, tidy 105 minutes. And while it’s full of all the expected Marvel metaphysical head-spinning — no, I don’t know how someone can jury-rig a wormhole or tear a hole in space-time, as happens here, please don’t ask me to explain — it’s also unexpectedly endearing, a pleasant popcorn-flavored joy ride into the cosmos, with three likable heroes as our guides.”
Of course, you can’t please everyone and there is almost an equal amount of bad reviews:
Richard Roeper from Chicago Sun-Times said “The Marvels has a kind of 1990s B-movie vibe throughout and is neither as funny nor as engaging and warm as it tries to be, despite the best efforts of the talented director Nia DaCosta and a trio of gifted and enormously likable leads in Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani.
Michael O’Sullivan from Washington Post agrees, “Despite its progressive bona fides, The Marvels is so fueled by fan service and formula, like pretty much everything in the MCU these days, that it gives short shrift to such basics as narrative comprehension.”
Lindsey Bahr from Associated Press shared, “It’s supposed to be a big deal that this movie has all women fighting a woman villain, but as is often the case with Marvel’s girl power attempts, it feels a little pandering in all the wrong places and doesn’t really engage with any specific or unique female point of view. When our three heroes suit up, they do so off screen and come out with fresh hairdos and makeup. They look like their best selves and will continue looking like their best selves throughout a harrowing battle, which leaves some of their uniforms torn but not an eyelash out of place. I thought we’d reached a pro-hair tie place with our female superheroes, but these women, including Dar-Benn, are defiantly against the convenience and instead are constantly flipping their locks out of their eyes during the fights despite seeming more practical than that.”
Rafer Guzman from Newsday was definitely not a fan, “Not everything has to be Citizen Kane. But there’s no reason to settle for fan-servicing junk, either. Sorry, but The Marvels is where I draw the line.”
Owen Gleiberman from Variety was underwhelmed, “As Taika Waititi established in his Thor films, there’s a place in the MCU for wackjob silliness. But in The Marvels, the bits of absurd comedy tend to feel strained, because they clash with the movie’s mostly utilitarian tone.”
Johnny Oleksinski from New York Post didn’t mince words, “If you thought Eternals and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania were low points for the limping Marvel Cinematic Universe, strap in for the ride to abject misery that is The Marvels.
The interminable movie, barely directed by Nia DaCosta, is not so much the story of Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and Monica Rambeau as it is a sad study of the downfall of America’s favorite screen franchise.”
Mick LaSalle from San Francisco Chronicle had this to say, “The movie is a mix of grandiose impulse and gross sentimentality, with an implicit anti-feminist, supposedly feminist message, in which the height of female achievement is to act like a neurotically violent man.”
Watch the trailer here:
Marvel Studios’ The Marvels stars Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Zawe Ashton, Gary Lewis, Park Seo-joon, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Nia DaCosta directs with Kevin Feige producing. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Mary Livanos, Jonathan Schwartz and Matthew Jenkins serve as executive producers. The screenplay is by Megan McDonnell, Nia DaCosta, Elissa Karasik and Zeb Wells.