Available to View on Disney Plus
How many Marvels exist in the MCU? With the release of Ms. Marvel on Disney Plus, it’s safe to say she’ll join the ranks of even more characters with Marvel as part of their name. That is, we’re expecting Marvel Girl aka Jean Grey to arrive next. But for now, a miniseries about a young Pakistani girl, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), having a rough go at life at home and in school.
After the damage wrought in the past MCU films, nowhere is safe. In Jersey City, this youth is just living the typical life of being just another face. Her parents want her safe from this terror and will do anything to protect their little girl.
One story arc concerns the fallout of her breaking curfew to attend a geek convention, and another is with how she’s treated in school. It’s a familiar enough narrative for those who watch Degrassi High, and I admire the constructs doesn’t follow every single trope. She’s friendly with everyone, even though they treat her as a fly on the wall. Thankfully the mould is broken because we don’t look at her being bullied.
In order to make this series work, the story focuses on her transition to adulthood. That home life doesn’t look good and her only outlet to express herself is to be a video content creator. This endeavour lets her creativity sparkle.
Like other origin stories, we need more than an episode to set up that journey. She’s another Spider-Man in disguise. Like Peter Parker, part of her abilities requires having “web shooters.” In Ms. Marvel’s case, finding a gauntlet of mystic origin–alluding to the time when Djinns ruled–to recognise her heritage changes everything!
With this object, she’s overcome with mystic power. We don’t know what other capabilities it’ll grant, but from the comics, she can stretch and transform her body into different shapes. There’s nothing unique about is since she’s basically a variation of Green Lantern. However, I’m looking forward to how this series will progress. I’m assuming further references to the wide and varied mythology of India will show her dealing with multi-armed foes rather than green skinned ones. I laughed at Kamala’s grandfather dressed up as Bollywood’s answer to the Incredible Hulk.
Technically, the Vedas feature more blue or red skinned legendary heroes, like Shiva, but unless viewers recognise their folklore, these allusions will be lost to them. To not show this world further would be terrible. The fact the first episode establishes the belief fast suggests there will be further allusions, and I can’t wait!
For now, all I’m seeing is Kamala becoming the next Peter Parker. She’s like this hero in many ways. Both are filled with doubt and have lingering problems. Also, this girl’s best friend, Bruno (Matt Lintz), is a clone of Ned Leeds. Both are brainy and also serve as comic foils. In this work’s case, they help her get out of trouble.
For now, the series is mostly about a girl dealing with life. This tone and story construction does not differ from other recent Disney releases, namely Turning Red. They’re the same plot with different cultural wrappings. However, I’m hopeful the origins of the bracelet will get explored as the series progress. The dialogue hints at a past the Khan family forgot. Perhaps grandfather knows something the others don’t, and that’ll be explained by episode two.
3 Stars out of 5