KSL Movie Show review: ‘The Marvels’ wasn’t worth my time

Nov 10, 2023, 10:00 AM




SALT LAKE CITY — For those who typically read the KSL Movie Show review, I don’t normally start out my reviews like this, but I simply did not fully enjoy my time with “The Marvels“, despite its less-than-two-hour running time.

Nope — not even, “Yeah it might be a hot mess, but at least it’s short!” That’s not a plus and certainly no excuse.

So what’s the problem with this movie for me?

Here’s my theory on why the last handful of MCU films (including this one) are not receiving glowing reviews and stand-and-cheer crowds.

To put it in basic terms — the movies are more about power, politics, and gee-wizardry and less about people and plot lines.

Let’s break it down.

Captain Marvel lost her power

When Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) originally shows up in the MCU — she seems to have more power than anyone. She can break stuff more easily. She can wipe out hoards of invading critters with a glance and do it all without breaking a sweat.

So, we all agreed that she’s got the most power. But then she runs afoul of this new Kree villain Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) and can barely hold her own, especially when this Ronan wannabe finds a fancy armband.

So this new deep-voiced, creepy Kree lady has more power. But if Captain Marvel combines her efforts with Monica Rambeau from “WandaVision” (Teyonah Parris) and Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), then they can perhaps match her power and possibly defeat her.

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See, power becomes an imaginary construct that is fleeting and mysterious. It’s only a crowd-pleaser when it falls into the hands of someone we fear or care about.

Again, it’s the fleshed-out, interesting people first, not the overly complex scenarios and goofy lightning bolts coming out of their hands, eyes, mouths — whatever.

Now in reference to the politics, the Kree are ticked off at Captain Marvel for screwing up their universe (admittedly her bad), so they attack the mostly-nice Skrulls (we learn from “Secret Invasion“) to retaliate and punch a wormhole in the galaxy to steal the natural resources they need like air, water and light. Most of this doesn’t make a lot of sense, even with the help of having seen “Captain Marvel”, “WandaVision” and
Secret Invasion” — which I have. The silly part is it turns out it might be a simple fix — if they simply combine their powers? Nobody cares.

So when does the movie shine?

It focuses on Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel her New Jersey family of immigrants and her connection with the other “Marvel” sisterhood.

Kamala comes off like a genuine person, someone audiences can identify with. She has cute worship for Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel’s real name, and she struggles with her controlling family who can’t believe she might have a real impact on this universal dilemma if only she too believes in herself. That’s identifiable for most people and that’s why she’s an audience favorite.

There’s also another moment for real human interaction when we learn that Monica is ticked at Carol for leaving Earth and not coming right back as promised, especially when Monica’s mom becomes deathly ill. It’s an emotional conversation that never happens.

I’m not even going to mention the strange, but briefly enchanting side bit of the singing planet or the expanding skill set of that tentacle-mouthed cat Goose and his fellow Flerkens — although I guess I just did.

KSL Movie Show on “The Marvels”

So for me, “The Marvels” spends too much time trying to dazzle us with cutesy entangled power shifts, complex political maneuvering and distracting side shows — and too little time building genuine characters we can either boo or cheer for. And for the love of all that is holy, please, Marvel, stop with all the multi-verse nonsense! It’s annoying, cheap and lazy writing!

“The Marvels” is Rated PG-13 for action/violence and brief language. Starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Samuel L. Jackson and Zawe Ashton. Co-written and directed by Nia DaCosta (“Candyman” “Little Woods”) – filmed in Tropea, Vibo Valencia, Calabria, Italy. Running time: 105 minutes.

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘The Marvels’ wasn’t worth my time