The Marvels hits theaters on Friday, November 10, and critics have shared their reactions and reviews online after seeing it early.
The Captain Marvel sequel was projected to have a historically low (for MCU standards) box office performance prior to reviews dropping.
Starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani, the Nia DaCosta-directed film is the latter two's cinematic debuts in the MCU, though both appeared previously on Disney+ (in WandaVision and Ms. Marvel respectively).
Initial Reviews of The Marvels
The first reactions to The Marvels include a fair range of opinions, with some reviews praising the Captain Marvel sequel and some being slightly more critical.
Movie critic Kristen Maldonado posted that it "is the most fun I’ve had watching a superhero movie in a while," calling the movie "action-packed & full of girl power:"
"'The Marvels' is the most fun I’ve had watching a superhero movie in a while! It’s hilarious, action-packed & full of girl power. Kamala was a stand out & so many moments surprised me. There was a great balance of the team, while dropping shocking bombs that will change EVERYTHING."
Nate Richard is on the more critical side, saying that while "it wasn't half bad," the movie's "story is a huge mess." He highlighted Vellani's performance, as well as Teyonah Parris':
"I went into 'The Marvels' with extremely low expectations and it wasn't half bad. Iman Villani and Teyonah Parris are easily the highlights. Love their chemistry with Brie Larson.
Unfortunately, the story is a huge mess with an underutilized villain and an underwhelming finale."
Molly Freeman of Screen Rant called it "everything Marvel does best," highlighting the movie's strong cast in her review:
"'The Marvels' is an absolute BLAST!! Nia DaCosta knocked it out of the park; Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris & Iman Vellani are fantastic, their characters' dynamic is genuinely so delightful & heartwarming. The movie is everything Marvel does best!!"
Collider's Ross Bonaime summarized The Marvels as "short, sweet, and a hell of a lot of fun," and noted that he looks forward to future implications from its story:
"'The Marvels' is short, sweet, and a hell of a lot of fun. The main trio is a blast together and it's great to have action sequences that are exciting again. Probably the most charmed I've been by a MCU film since No Way Home, and I can't wait to see what this film leads to..."
Rachel Leishman of The Mary Sue called the movie " genuinely hilarious," also noting its fun tone and lead cast:
"'The Marvels' is so much fun, action-packed goodness, but genuinely hilarious and exciting to watch from start to finish. I love my girls so much and seeing them fight all three together truly is so special. Higher, further, faster baby!"
BuzzFeed's Nora Dominick discussed the range of the movie, saying the cast "superb comedic timing together but also beautifully worked in the touching scenes:"
"it’s no secret i adore captain marvel and wandavision, so 'The Marvels' is something i knew I’d have fun with. brie larson, teyonah parris, and iman vellani’s chemistry made this one for me — they had superb comedic timing together but also beautifully worked in the touching scenes"
Clayton Davis of Variety summed up the experience of The Marvels, saying it "packs in chuckles, cats, hairballs, and musical sequences," and shouted out the film's visual effects:
"'The Marvels' worked for me. Female Avengers team-up movie packs in chuckles, cats, hairballs, and musical sequences. Much more episodic than a cinematic endeavor, but I think that's its greatest strength. Great post-credits. Loved my leading lady trio. Great visual effects. Jersey City represent!"
Kristen Lopez from The Wrap pointed out the movie's "serious script issues" in her review, but said she is willing to look past them given what the movie does well otherwise:
"'The Marvels' has serious script issues to be sure but it’s so charming and colorful and fun it’s easy to overlook. Imán avellano steals the show. Teyonnah Parris and Brie Larson are great. And give me more Flerkins any day."
Decider's Alex Zalben highlighted Vellani's performance, and praised much of the film, but did say "The Big Superhero Plot™️ doesn't come together as well:"
"Absolutely love the laugh-out-loud body-switching comedy at the heart of 'The Marvels.' The main trio get to be adorable goofs, and Iman Vellani in particular is a national treasure. The Big Superhero Plot™️ doesn't come together as well, but overall a fun low-stakes adventure."
Sabrina Graves of Gizmodo called the movie "a fun cosmic chase across the stars," and shouted out Vellani's stand-out performance, as well as Parris' and Larson's:
"Nia DaCosta’s 'The Marvels' is a fun cosmic chase across the stars with exciting new directions for our heroes. It’s an endearing smartly contained tight story about found family. Ms. Marvel is the standout with Iman Vellani as every Marvel fan’s proxy. Parris and Larson shine."
Writer and reviewer Laura Sirikul criticized the movie for having the MCU's "same villain issue & some CGI problems" but did point out some of its better elements in the review too:
"'The Marvels' is a fun movie w/ Iman Vellani's Kamala being the highlight of the film. The fight scenes were fun. It has cheesy, whimsical moments and plots that seem out of place. It also suffers from the same villain issue & some CGI problems."
Daniel Howat from Next Best Picture commented on the movie's humor, and concluded that The Marvels is "not great, but far from a disaster:"
"'The Marvels' is pretty all over the place, with a truly silly plot, but still manages to be light on its feet. It’s often really funny, mostly thanks to Iman Vellani - a STAR.
Fun body-switching action, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Not great, but far from a disaster."
Reviewer Carson Timar from CLAPPER among others, noted both the pitfalls and the highlights of The Marvels, saying that though "the narrative is a complete mess at times, the charisma and comedy lands:"
"'The Marvels' is the most fun I have had at a MCU film in awhile! While the actual conflict is convoluted and boring, and the narrative is a complete mess at times, the charisma and comedy lands most of the time with Iman Vellani stealing the show with her feature MCU debut!"
TV Insider's Meaghan Darwish shouted out the cast and humor as strong points. Plus, the review ended by confirming that "the Flerken [is] absolutely delightful:"
"Saw 'The Marvels' tonight and had an absolute blast. Laughed A LOT, and enjoyed watching Iman Vellani, Brie Larson & Teyonah Parris kick some serious butt as Kamala Khan, Carol Danvers & Monica Rambeau. Oh, and the Flerken? Absolutely delightful."
Iman Vellani's Ms. Marvel as a Stand-Out Performance
It seems that the one constant in the reviews for The Marvels is praise for Vellani's portrayal of Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel).
The compliments about how Vellani truly embodies Kamala are certainly not new, but are definitely particularly notable as they pertain to her cinematic debut.
Phases 4 and 5 of the MCU have introduced a plethora of new characters — some of whom stuck with fans, some who have not so much. Ms. Marvel has always seemed to be of that first category, and it is fair to say that this is even more certain following the high and near-unanimous praise the young actor has gotten in early reviews.
The Marvels hits theaters on Friday, November 10.