Review: 'Ms. Marvel' Expands the MCU in Creative, Satisfying Ways

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday June 8, 2022

Review: 'Ms. Marvel' Expands the MCU in Creative, Satisfying Ways
  (Source:Marvel/Disney+)

The Avengers have taken us to the ends of infinity. Doctor Strange and Spider-Man have opened up the multiverse, and Thor with his love of thunder has traveled to the heavens and beyond, but the newest hero in the cinematic universe is keeping things pretty grounded. The latest Marvel Studios original series "Ms. Marvel" centers on your typical teenager from Jersey City, New Jersey, until her entire world blows up around her. Fortunately, she's gone from ordinary to super-powered overnight.

Based on the Marvel Comics heroine introduced in 2013, created by Sana Amanat, G. Willow Wilson, and Adrian Alphona, the popularity of this very contemporary young Muslin female superhero was undeniable. The inevitability that Marvel Studios would look to turn the comic book exploits of teenager Kamala Khan was definitely in the cards, especially as the studio looked to diversify its lineup of lead stories in this new phase.

After the devastating events of the last several years, it's exciting to recognize a new generation is forming that is supportive of this Age of Heroes and all the sacrifices made by the Earth's Mighty Avengers. Kamala Khan (series star Iman Vellani) and her best friend Bruno (Matt Lintz) are looking forward to celebrating with fans at the first annual "Avengers Con," although Kamala's parents, Yusaf (Mohan Kapoor) and Maneeba (Zenobia Shroff), are a bit concerned. They don't know what to make of Kamala's enthusiasm and imagination, especially given their devout Muslim faith.

Kamala doesn't want to disappoint them, and, as a modern Muslim-American, honors her family's traditions. But she's got to be her own person — not to mention that Bruno has developed the ultimate cosplay suit for her based on her favorite hero: Captain Marvel. Kamala is determined to win that contest and convinces Bruno to come up with a fool-proof plan to attend the convention. Before she can pull off "the look" Kamala has to come up with something to make the suit her own, and borrows an armband — a family heirloom she discovers in a box her mother just received.

The night of the Avengers Con arrives and Kamala and Bruno synchronize their watches and put their plan into effect. Although not everything goes off as easily as expected, they arrive just in time for Kamala to make her cosplay debut, but something strange begins to happen when she snaps on the armband. Before she's had time to figure out what's going on, she manifests a light show that triggers some unpredictable results and causes some chaos. Fortunately, Kamala's quick thinking — and newfound powers — allow her to save the day... and a new hero is born.

Kamala doesn't tell her mother about the strange "magic" she was able to tap into with the bracelet, but discovers that it belonged to an ancestor of her mother that was cast out of the family for bringing shame upon them. Now Kamala is determined to learn everything she can about harnessing these new abilities. Fortunately, she's got Bruno to lend her some support — but, unbeknownst to her, someone else is watching!

"Ms. Marvel" works wonderfully thanks to the chemistry of its two leads, who are surrounded by a beautiful cast of supporting characters that immediately endear themselves to the audience. That's the secret formula that executive producer Kevin Feige makes certain is a component of every new hero introduced into the MCU, and this particular group also benefits from the authentic creative team that is bringing Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel to life.

The joy of this latest original series is the elaboration on the palette of young and aspiring characters that are now far more reflective of a diverse audience that can see themselves in the pages of these comic books adapted into the big screen and small screen mythologies. "Ms. Marvel" will resonate with fans of the books, but also connect with devoted fans of the MCU for its authentic heroic journey, not to mention that this heroine's path will undoubtedly connect when Ms. Marvel crosses paths with her own inspiration in the upcoming sequel to "Captain Marvel."

"Ms. Marvel" streams on Disney+ starting on June 8.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".