The Marvels: the shortest MCU film is far from the best (review)

The Marvels: the shortest MCU film is far from the best (review)

The latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a predictable space opera that is difficult to understand without subscribing to Disney+.

In 2021, the success of the new Candyman suggested that the director Nia DaCosta had the capacity to express himself in a double constraint: that of the sequel/reboot of a franchise and that of the production of a mastermind (Jordan Peele in this case). The credits of this Candyman took place over disturbing images of upside-down buildings (after the inverted studio logos), sinking into a cloudy sky that had become a nightmarish ground; a way of signifying that the new Candyman saw himself as a funny reflection from the 1992 original, where a vengeful specter emerged from mirrors to carry out its sinister work.

Basically, realize The Marvels means being subject to the same rules as for Candyman. But Kevin Feige is no Peele, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not a mid-budget horror franchise. No one can enter the Marvel system without disappearing completely – it’s their soul that they lose, absolutely, and you have to be James Gunn to be able to get out while the MCU is at such a point of dissolution.

However, it is also a question of reflections at the origin of The Marvels : the three superheroines in the film share the same name and the same source of power, but each with their own particular style. The beautiful Christ-like blonde (Brie Larson sleepwalker), the young black astronaut (Teyonah Parrisalready in Candyman) and the teen fangirl (Iman Vellaniheroine of the series Miss Marvel).

And the problem arises from the start: if you haven’t seen these other reflections of the MCU – namely the series WandaVision And Miss Marvel– it will be very difficult to even accept the initial principles of The Marvels and get into the film. Although it can be summed up as an adventure of space opera very simple (a great villain wants to save her dying world by using uncool means), never The Marvels fails to assert itself in complete independence.

While showing that the other MCU films are definitely too long, its short duration (1h45) also allows it to be reduced to the dimensions of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation even more cheapwith its cheesy makeup, its sloppy green backgrounds, its pulp exoticism and its lines that are impossible to pronounce seriously (excerpt from the dialogue in the first ten minutes: “What is Dar-Benn planning? -The Supremor has already reached Tarnax!”).

It’s a shame because Iman Vellani has a very precisely directed energy: irritating at first fangirling over her idol Captain Marvel, she ends up asserting herself and finding a nice place in this ultimately very predictable space opera. The idea of ​​exchanging bodies when they use their powers is only a very small cinematic idea, quickly discarded since it only serves to bring the three heroines together and launch the film. The really great idea, which evokes the novels of Jack Vance, is to make us visit a planet where the inhabitants only communicate by singing – that too, is nice but very quickly evacuated.

The climax of the film? Dozens of cats swing through space with “Memory” in the background, a song from the musical Cats. An idea that doesn’t work at all, but which uses Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most beautiful song, hidden in a musical especially WTF. If only The Marvels had the idea of ​​standing out so much within an increasingly disoriented MCU…

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