The Marvel Cinematic Universe empire keeps expanding to all corners of media with each passing day. New video games, books, comics, movies, and TV shows are released basically every week, and each one of them is made with the intention of attracting a new audience. For more than 10 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has managed to create a legion of fans around the world. You would think that that would be enough for the franchise, but there is always room for expansion.
In this opportunity, Marvel aims to capture the attention of the Disney Channel crowd. The Disney Channel had an amazing run, with tons of fan favorite shows that become loved by that audience trapped between being babies and being teenagers. With Ms. Marvel, Marvel is trying to capture that magic once more, only this time in the Disney Plus streaming service and adding the overwhelmingly powerful comic book ingredient to the formula.
Ms. Marvel is a TV show that belongs inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series is produced by Kevin Feige, and created by Bisha K. Ali. The show tells the story of a young girl named Kamala Khan. Kamala is a huge Avengers fan and especially a fan of Captain Marvel. When Kamala finds an old bracelet belonging to his family that gives her power, she will start the journey of her life, where she herself will have the chance to become the hero she wants to be.
Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps getting bigger and bigger. Some would say the phase is too big and convoluted, but the most hardcore franchise fans are ready to drop into more content from their favorite heroes. Ms. Marvel then becomes something new and fresh inside the franchise, as it might be the show with less world-ending stakes, but also the one where the stakes are more personal than ever.
Episode one spends all of this time setting the character of Kamala. She is a very good girl, with tons of imagination, and she is really passionate about the things she likes. Which, of course, ends up attracting them to like-minded people, like her friend Bruno, who is just as much a fan of science as Kamala is a fan of Captain Marvel. The show explores how Kamala’s personality fits her surroundings, as everybody seems to know what she should do with her life.
The pressures of being a teenager are a universal topic. Everybody goes through that phase in life, and for most people, it is a tumultuous time. Especially when it comes to fitting social norms such as deciding the rest of your future just about you are exiting high school. Or how you start to learn that you are your own person, instead of the person your parents or friends think you are. The first episode explores all of this and sets Kamala’s story as one that many people will identify with.
However, when it comes to setting up these stakes in the proper way, the show seems to be leaning too much on generic tropes that make the show feel somewhat outdated. For example, Kamala’s relationship with her parents seems too much like the typical “They don’t understand me” type of relationship, one that has been used maybe too much in fiction. The way her parents treat Kamala also feels like something that her parents could have done perhaps 20 or 30 years ago, but now in 2022, Kamala’s parents feel completely trapped in the past.
The same occurs for the rest of the setup for this episode, which sees Kamala taking on the mission of getting out of her house without permission, so she can go to an Avengers convention. Everything about the story feels so generic that it hurts. These precise situations have been repeated over and over in as many TV series and movies as there are stars in the sky. There must be another way to convey this type of narrative.
Unlike the weak writing, the direction in this first episode is just superb. The directorial duo from Belgium, Adil & Bilall, who directed the third film in the Bad Boys franchise, imprint their style and energy in every single shot. The writing might feel stale, but the directors push forward, trying to make every moment enjoyable. The duo is using great camera work and amazing use of visual effects that make Ms. Marvel, the closest thing to a live-action, Into The Spider-Verse.
Ms. Marvel has incredible potential and if the rest of the directors manage to keep the tone and energy set by Adil & Bilall, then that potential will only hinder in the hands of the writers. The writers really need to push the narrative to new and fascinating places, no matter if the main target for this show is young teenagers. The opposite, actually, these new generations of viewers deserve new structures and stories as well. The world has changed, and it would be nice if the stories would change with it, for a change.
As it is, Ms. Marvel is quite entertaining, and it has the potential to become a fan favorite with the younger audience. The first episode offers great direction and loveable characters. Iman Vellani is still a rookie, but she serves the show well as its protagonist. This show doesn’t really need to be big, let’s hope the writers can avoid the temptation of making it just another show from the bunch.