REVIEW: Disney+’s Ms. Marvel Delivers the Hero the MCU Deserves
With so many films and now streaming series within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, audiences have been seeing over time how civilians in the MCU receive their heroes, from the backlash of Civil War's Sokovia Accords to the memorials of fallen heroes post-Avengers: Endgame. It's unsurprising, then, that eventually, an Avengers super fan would become a superhero themself, and who better to fill this role than Ms. Marvel, aka Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani). Not only is she a super fan of the Avengers, but viewers are certain to be super fans of her new show, Ms. Marvel.
Taking place in Jersey City, Ms. Marvel follows Kamala Khan after she mysteriously develops powers. Along with learning about how to be a hero, she is also trying to navigate being a teenage girl, from the struggles of not fitting in to living up to the standards of her family. While some MCU streaming series feel more like a film doled out in installments, Ms. Marvelis perfect for a serialized format. The first two episodes alone deliver a solid balance of slice-of-life issues (family, crushes, friendship) and comic book fun.
This series is a character exploration of Kamala, and she will easily win over viewers, especially those who have dreamed about being heroes themselves. This is in large part due to Vellani, who delivers a fun and relatable performance. Yes, Kamala is awkward and passionate, but that is what viewers will love about her. The issues she faces may not be an Avengers level threat, but for a teenager, they can be devastating, and Ms. Marvel does not treat what she is going through as lesser.
Kamala's perspective is all over this series, and for those hoping the highly stylized comic book tones seen in the trailer would be present in the series, they will be more than pleased. Similar to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there is such a love for this character and the medium she comes from. By far, this is one of the more visually engaging MCU titles -- both among the streaming series and films -- so major kudos to the directors, Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi (Episode 1) and Meera Menon (Episode 2). Along with dynamic cinematography, this is a colorful and vibrant show, one that will leave viewers excited for future episodes.
It's not just the effects that bring a welcome pop of vibrancy to the MCU. The way viewers are presented with Kamala's community and culture is so rich and genuine. The show does not try to explain facets of her Pakistani and Muslim heritage to viewers who may not be as familiar with it, as Kamala and her family do not need it explained to them. This world feels lived in, and it is just another layer to who Kamala is.
Along with her community and her passion for heroes, viewers also see her insecurities, as well as her family, one of the best pasts of this series. Getting to see a hero's home life is something surprisingly rare in the MCU, and Ms. Marvel doesn't treat family as a footnote. Yusuf Khan (Mohan Kapur), Muneeba Khan (Zenobia Shroff), and Aamir Khan (Saagar Shaikh) bring Kamala's family to life, and Kapur, in particular, will make viewers wish they had a family member like Yusuf. While there are complex issues in the family, there is also so much love, and it feels like the show is truly providing a personal look into a real household. Kamala's friends further show off how much love and support is in her life, and Yasmeen Fletcher's Nakia and Matt Lintz's Bruno are the ride-or-die friends everyone wanted in high school.
While the first two episodes may not paint a clear picture about what the big bad of the season will be, it doesn't need to. Ms. Marvel captures the fun captures the fun of comics and delivers a character that viewers will look forward to getting to know throughout the season. Even for those averse to shows about teens in high school, Ms. Marvel will likely be the exception. Meanwhile, for fans of the MCU or superheroes at large, Kamala Khan is a deserved hero. At the end of the day, Ms. Marvel delivers one of the most relatable and fleshed-out heroes in the MCU -- truly a testament, considering this is her MCU debut. Series creator Bisha K. Ali delivers a dynamic character who still has plenty of room to grow. As Kamala comes into her own, viewers will be excited to join Ms. Marvel on this journey.
Ms. Marvel is now streaming on Disney+ with new episodes arriving every Wednesday.