Episode 2 of Ms. Marvel comes this week to Disney Plus, and it is ready to continue and expand Kamala’s story inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The episode starts just about the next morning from where episode one left us. As Kamala finds out that now she has superpowers and that she can now be a superhero, just like her idol, Captain Marvel. The episode doesn’t really match the quality and energy of the first episode, but it does what it must do.
Episode Two focuses most of its running time on Kamala trying to get used to the fact that she is now a superhero, and she actually pulls it off rather well. The fact that she has superpowers brings her new confidence that makes her glow wherever she goes. Iman Vellani, at this point in time, seems to be really comfortable in front of the camera, and her performance really sells Kamala as a teenager living in a very dangerous and risky situation.
Kamala goes through a lot in this episode. She manages to balance her school life, and her family life, and she even manages to make space for a new romantic interest. For those who were unconvinced that Vellani could pull off the role, this episode should make those doubts disappear. Vellani is really selling to the audience that becoming a superhero will not be a walk in the park, it will include risks that she is not prepared to face, at least not yet.
While Vellani’s performance is quite nice. If there is something to complain about the episode, it is that the directing and the way the story is being executed on the screen don’t really match the energy and the excellent camera work of that first episode. Episode 2 is directed by Meera Menon, who has a great number of TV shows under her belt. She is a solid director, and she directs a solid episode, but she and her team should have tried to match the aesthetic of the first episode a lot closer.
It isn’t that the show is badly directed, like it is in Obi-Wan Kenobi. It is just that the episode feels very standard. Episode 2 does manage to convey Kamala’s personality a lot better than in the first episode. She is less quirky and feels more like a real person, so there are a lot of pros and cons to it. The soundtrack keeps being on point throughout, with a great selection of songs that make Kamala’s world felt from more than just the visuals.
The episode also takes its time to establish the plot lines of Kamala’s best friends. Bruno, and Nakia. The two characters were present in the first episode, but it is here that they are defined by being given their own things to do outside of circling around Kamala. For example, Bruno needs to make a choice that could change his life forever, and he needs Kamala’s advice on it. The hints in the first episode that pointed towards Bruno liking Kamala are completely revealed as fact in this episode as well.
Nakia is also defined as a character. Asa young woman that takes her religion very seriously. Nakia is disappointed by the Mosque Board being completely guided by male voices and so, she decides to be part of the elections, and she starts campaigning. She is also defined as a character that has many things going on, even off-screen, but still manages to make it work somehow. Kamala seems to admire her, so the audience can also learn to do it as well.
In another plot line, Kamala finally takes her role as a superhero seriously, and she tries to finally do something heroic. However, here she finds out that it is not as easy as she thought it would be. It is a very compelling sequence, where Kamala’s powers are also defined. She describes them as an idea taking form, and it is very clear that Ms. Marvel is basically The Green Lantern of the MCU. Her powers seemed to be defined only by her will and imagination. Being a teenager, it can be hard to have a concrete will, but to learn that will be part of her character arc.
Damage Control is still a very vague element in the show. Sometimes these Disney Plus shows really take a long time in trying to define factions and to make things roll out at a nice pace, even when they are so short with only six episodes per season. Could this change in the future, we don’t know, but after so many shows suffering from this, it might be that we won’t see it fix for a while.
Episode 2 cements that Ms. Marvel is quite an entertaining and fun show. It will probably never get as serious or as relevant as other Disney Plus shows could be for the MCU. But as an MCU story aimed at a younger demographic, Ms. Marvel seems to be just the thing the MCU needed.