Thank God It Is Friday but with only a handful of releases this weekend owing to the cricket world cup final on Sunday, I am still playing catch up with the releases of the last week. With that, I finished watching the new English film The Marvels which is the latest film from the MCU Phase 5. And dare I say that MCU is fast getting repetitive and tiresome with the content which it is presenting. Post The End Game, none of the offerings from MCU have stood out barring Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3, which was the end of the franchise for The Guardians. One of the main reasons for the downfall of the MCU is the attention to gimmicky concepts without focusing on the characters, their journey and their emotions which were once the staple diet of the universe. Even the most anticipated MCU films like the second installment of Doctor Strange or the fourth installment of Thor were underwhelming ventures wherein the story did not venture beyond the standard concept of an alternate universe.
Come the Diwali weekend, it was extremely brave of the makers to pit The Marvels against a giant like Tiger 3 making it a clash between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the YRF Spy Universe(not to mention the ongoing cricket world cup). But what was even more shocking was the fact that there was zero buzz for a movie from the MCU, even when it was releasing during a festive season. And by the time I am penning this review, the word of mouth isn’t great as well with almost fatigue having set in as far as a superhero film is concerned. But then does The Marvels manage to impress, let’s find out.
Story & Screenplay
The Marvels follows the story of Captain Marvel who must stop an unassuming enemy from destroying the universe while having the company of Ms Marvel and Captain Monica. And the reason why I have kept the story so vague is because it is probably the weakest MCU film ever and anything more that I say would act as a spoiler. So the story here is wafer thin with an even slender concept that just made me fatigued as early in the film when the first reel rolled. There is no other way to put it – MCU has officially become a cash cow while recycling similar concepts or even events while combining and forming a new film. It is ridiculous as to how often the viewers have been taken for granted after its third phase, this while the most loyal fans of Marvel still queue up in hope that something extraordinary would be offered to them. But this is now getting out of hand even from a story point of view, and I haven’t got to the screenplay yet! If you are still interested, the screenplay standing at just under a 100 minutes is perhaps the most pointless piece of writing that I have witnessed all year, something that would give the current season of Koffee With Karan a run for its money. Not only does it not have anything novel but the events in the film were just so bland, that had me yawning throughout the film. Can an MCU film be that bad? Yes, it can!
The drama opens with the brief introduction of the antagonist who is in search for the other part of a “band”. Soon the introductions begin of all the three protagonists wherein there is no sense of world building. Here, I must admit that I am not a fan of the medium of films and webseries combining in a single universe. I have always felt that the two mediums are different and the continuation shouldn’t be across different formats. Yet, even if I were to put this out of the way, there ought to have been some sort of world building in a film that did offer to unite the different worlds and their characters. But the drama just kickstarts just so randomly that I developed a disdain for it very early on.
The proceedings are bland and just so one-dimensional that I wondered who from the studio approved this absolute dogsh*t of a screenplay and concept. Neither were the characters well developed neither was the main antagonist given moments to add to the intimidation factor in the drama. The events were so dull that it made me want to scream in agony. MCU was once known for the humour that the characters did generate while finding themselves in odd situations. But even that aspect was missing and I don’t remember flexing my cheek bone even once in the film. The trademark emotions were also missing when clearly I felt a few openings where the writers could have tapped into it.
The writers could have established a true-blue MCU chick flick here but even that didn’t happen. The events unfolding are so one-dimensional that I felt zero excitement even while witnessing the action set-pieces. The final assault was almost laughable leading to the final act that felt just so rushed instead of taking the emotional route. Again, the end credit scene is interesting but what is the point of it if the main films are as bland as bland can be. Overall, the writing is absolutely lacklustre thus marking the worst outing for a Marvel film in years!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are unfunny and none of the lines standout. The music does work here but it did feel a little out of place as well. The BGM is plain ordinary and does nothing to heighten the drama. The cinematography is alright, the VFX are decent as well. I wouldn’t wish to blame the patchy editing either which was almost used as a mask for the bad writing and execution. Speaking of which, director Nia DaCosta completely misses the plot here turning a piece of bad writing in a rather hot mess. She is unable to create moments which would act as high points in the drama. The narrative style is sleepy and laid back that doesn’t help its cause as well. Even her portrayal of the character of Kamala was filled with stereotypes, and that made me facepalm myself.
The performances are just about decent. Zawe Ashton as Dar-Benn is decent but her one-dimensional character doesn’t allow her performance to bloom. Iman Vellani as Kamala is fun to watch and she does a good job while her character is really stereotypical. Teyonah Parris as Monica is pretty good in a job well done. Brie Larson as Carol aka Captain Marvel looks pretty but lacks the kind of intensity that was required to elevate the impact of her character. And that had more to do with the writing of her character than her performance per se.
The Marvels is MCU at its absolute lowest making me wonder on why this film was greenlit in the first place. Also, I would also say that this kind of sh*t needs to stop from the Marvel Studio while getting their act together instead of churning out one cash cow after another. Available in a theatre near you.