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I was less annoyed and more entertained by The Marvels than by other recent Marvel movies but that doesn’t make the film any less of a disjointed, tonally bizarre, often plainly bad picture.

I have long given up on following every single TV show Marvel churns out, so it was always going to be a struggle to figure out what is going on in The Marvels. Yet I'd bet that even people who slavishly watched every Marvel minute for the past 5 years will be puzzled by the film.

Going into detail about the screenplay would be moot: The Marvels is yet another film in which a bunch of superheroes team up to fight a baddie about to destroy the universe. Even the fact that all of said heroes (and the villain!) are women doesn't count as a novelty these days.

No, let's talk about why the film was so clearly severely cut down from a much longer runtime. Did Kevin Feige cave for the chorus of Marvel fatigue to come up with the shortest movie in the studio's history? If he did, and if there is indeed more material out there - which seems a given - than I cannot fathom why he cut any of that and still kept in a bonkers 10-minute sequence on a Bollywood musical planet.

There is an argument to be made for finally putting the fun back into comic book movies, but The Marvel gets the tone so horribly wrong that the film often looks more like an elaborate spoof than like the sci-fi blockbuster it wants to be.

I don't doubt there are still people out there who will like The Marvels for being different. But - like the cat-like alien in the film - I'll happily eat anything you put in front of me if you find one person who outright loves this unfocused, unfunny mess.

release: 2023

director: Nia DaCosta

starring: Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, Teyonah Parris, Zawe Ashton


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