Note: This is a review of episodes 1-2 of the series.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always been a franchise that has catered to every possible type of person, no matter how young or old. But Ms. Marvel feels the most designed to speak to younger viewers in the same way that Spider-Man: Homecoming did back in 2017. Some may take that as a negative, but I see it as the opposite – as the universe continues to expand and branch out in exciting new ways, I think it’s imperative that we are introduced to stories for younger viewers. I’d also be remised to not mention the fact that Ms. Marvel is the first Pakistani-American superhero, and that will be great representation for so many around the world.
The series follows 16-year-old high schooler Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) who struggles to relate to her family or peers at school as she has a huge imagination and passion for superheroes, specifically Captain Marvel. One day, Kamala happens to unlock powers that are highly similar to the heroes that she looks up to. This gives not only the show itself, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, a more grounded feeling as we finally get the perspective of someone who is truly a street-level hero with no prior-ties or connections to the Avengers or other Marvel heroes.
It can sometimes be difficult for first-time MCU performances to be instantly memorable and fitting to the characters us nerds know and love, but Iman Vellani immediately fits into the role of Kamala Khan perfectly. She embodies the wonder, charm, and heroism in such a natural way that you can’t help but immediately care about her as a character. There has been some discourse about the changing of Kamala’s powers from the comics, but in the context of the show itself, I feel like it makes perfect sense and visually looks really impressive when shown in-action. The visuals as a whole, from both the VFX to the unique animations that swarm the screen to convey Kamala’s imagination, are deeply colorful and full of excellent detail that truly add a lot to the style and tone of the show.
Between the great lead performance from Vellani and the impressive visual style of the series, it immediately feels unique to the larger MCU as a whole and is off to a genuinely impressive start. It’s hard to get into plot specifics without spoiling anything, but the first two episodes are full of genuinely intriguing and gripping stories that are both directly tied to Ms. Marvel specifically as a character and the greater Marvel Universe and characters/settings/organisations we’ve seen before. If the show keeps up this momentum for the next six episodes, I think it’ll end up being one of the better Disney+ shows thus far. A very promising start for Kamala Khan!