As a long-time fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I approached “The Marvels” with high expectations, especially given the buzz around cameo appearances of iconic characters like Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) in the trailers. However, my anticipation quickly turned to disappointment when these scenes were noticeably absent from the actual film. This bait-and-switch tactic set a disheartening tone for the rest of the movie.
See the trailer they used here:
The characterization of Ms. Marvel was a central aspect that I found particularly jarring. As someone who identifies as autistic, I’ve appreciated nuanced representations of neurodiversity in media, like the portrayal of autism in The Flash. However, Ms. Marvel’s depiction felt exaggerated and borderline caricatural, raising questions about whether her character was intended to be neurodivergent or just poorly written. The performance, whether due to the young actress’s inexperience or the script’s shortcomings, did not resonate with me and detracted significantly from my enjoyment of the film.
Narratively, “The Marvels” suffers from a lack of a coherent and engaging plot. This issue was exacerbated by my lack of familiarity with Disney+ series, which apparently contained key contexts for understanding the film. Despite having watched all the previous Marvel movies, I was left confused and disengaged.
On the brighter side, I did find some enjoyment in the movie’s lighter aspects, like the presence of cats and the mid-credits scene teasing a potential X-Men movie. The introduction of a new, female Hawkeye and the hint at the formation of the Young Marvels were interesting concepts, but they weren’t enough to salvage the overall experience.
The film’s humor, which seemed targeted at a much younger audience, failed to match the wit and charm of my favorite Marvel franchise, “Guardians of the Galaxy.” As a 40-year-old childfree woman, I felt disconnected from the juvenile comedy and narrative style of “The Marvels.”
In conclusion, “The Marvels” felt like a significant misstep in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It might find its audience among younger viewers on Disney+, but for theatrical release, it lacked the depth and appeal that have defined the best of Marvel. The sparse audience in the theater on opening weekend seems to reflect a broader disinterest, indicating that Disney might have missed the mark with this installment.