Ms. Marvel arrives this week with her third episode of the season. It has not been good news for the show in the last few days, as it was revealed that Ms. Marvel has fewer viewers than any other Marvel TV series on the streaming platform. It seems that many people were not interested in the show, and numbers are way below the others TV series in the franchise. With season one of Loki being the most watched show so far. It makes sense then that Loki is the only show to have received a second season.
So, what is the problem with Ms. Marvel? From the outside, the show looks medium, yes. It might even look a bit too cheap, or childish, as it involves a lot of thematic connections with teenage life, as well as many tropes that are often used in teen comedies. There is nothing really bad with these things, but let’s say they don’t really help the show in becoming something that is widely attractive. It is a shame because in almost all the other Marvel TV series, Ms. Marvel could be the most wholesome of the bunch.
Episode 3 shows why the show is so wholesome, in the first place. The episode involves a lot of family matters, and it is wonderful to see how Kamala’s first outing as a superhero is already causing a lot of buzz inside her community, both in good and bad ways. The development that Kamala goes through during this episode is vital for her future life as a superhero. Here, she learns that every action, even the right ones, has consequences, and those consequences are often unforeseen.
The really difficult thing is that even when Kalama cannot see what the consequences of their action are. She needs to take responsibility for them, especially when her decisions now involve the lives of people in her community, but also people in her life. The introduction of the Djinns in the story serves as the first clear villain in the show, and one that is prepared to do everything they can to achieve their purposes. Of course, when someone says they are willing to do anything, it is typically not a good sign.
The first half of the episode introduces the djinns or The Clandestine, as they can themselves, and it is a bunch of exposition. It seems that Kamala’s great-grandmother, Aisha, was a djinn herself, but she disappeared, leaving the rest of her team behind. That the main conflict of the show involves Kamala’s family in such a direct way is fascinating. Can Kamala trust her family with the truth? The logic says she should speak the truth, but would they believe her? Probably not, her take sounds too fantastical.
However, the situation is getting more and more dangerous and characters are already setting up alliances. Loyalties are exchanged hands and people are getting hurt. Towards the end of the episode, there it seems to be a need to create tension and urgency, but the show doesn’t know how to maintain it. This is a shame, but going in that direction would change the story of the show completely, and it would transform into something completely different.
The episode has one extensive action sequence where Kamala fights her enemies and even uses her powers, but the sequence is anything but stellar. The way the action is shot feels clunky. And it is doing more to hide the lackings of the actors doing the action than helping them create an action sequence that can be understood and watched without the need to ask what is happening.
The show also needs to stop being afraid of using Kamala’s powers more often. This set of powers is really cool, and they should be used more often, as they are visually striking and also quite fun. The lack of powers on the show must be the result of a lack of budget to maintain a level of consistency when it comes to the visual effects. And so, the option is to restrain Kamala and keep her away from using her powers.
Kamala is really struggling as a character as well. At times, she doesn’t seem to be taking things seriously at all. While in some other moments, she is ready to take everything seriously. There is really no consistency within the character when relating to this part of the plot, and it makes everything look messy. Let’s hope this jump-around stops next episode, as episode 3 showed her what she really is facing.
The end leaves things open to make a location change, which would be really appreciated as the city landscape has already become quite stale. Let’s not make these Disney Plus Marvel shows look like the Netflix Marvel shows, please.
Episode 3 serves as an excellent middle point in the story, as it opens Kamala’s eyes to the real dangers of being a superhero. The stakes are higher than ever, and it leads into a second half that could be the most interesting the show has ever been. If they seize the opportunity, of course.