Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel
Matt Lintz as Bruno Carrelli
Yasmeen Fletcher as Nakia Bahadir
Zenobia Shroff as Muneeba Khan
Mohan Kapur as Yusuf Khan
Saagar Shaikh as Aamir Khan
Laurel Marsden as Zoe Zimmer
Azhar Usman as Najaf
Rish Shah as Kamran
Arian Moayed as P. Cleary
Alysia Reiner as Sadie Deever
Laith Nakli as Sheikh Abdullah
Nimra Bucha as Najma
Travina Springer as Tyesha Hillman
Adaku Ononogbo as Fariha
Samina Ahmad as Sana
Fawad Khan as Hasan
Mehwish Hayat as Aisha
Farhan Akhtar as Waleed
Aramis Knight as Kareem/Red Dagger
Creator: Harry Bradbeer
Kamala is a superhero fan with an imagination, particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel; Kamala feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even at home, that is until she gets superpowers like the heroes she’s looked up to.
I was not sure about how Ms. Marvel was going to be. With shows like Wandavision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki, Disney+’s Marvel shows focused on characters already in the MCU. Not so much with Ms. Marvel, and I only knew that she was somehow connected with Captain Marvel. Still, I heard some fairly positive things going into it, and it ended up being much better than I expected. In spite of its flaws, its one of the better Marvel shows so far.
Ms. Marvel starts off on a high note. The first thing you notice is the tone; it is very light hearted, in fact almost like a Disney channel show (especially with the effects) but in some ways it gave it a distinct personality outside of the usual MCU stuff. That’s not to say that MCU has shortage in being lighthearted (in fact that’s where they mostly operate). Still, Ms. Marvel felt different, and had plenty of genuinely fun moments. It also aims to capture the Pakistani-American experience especially with its lead character Kamala Khan, and with that the perspective is different from what we’ve seen from the prior movies and shows. It is a coming-of-age story and focuses on the challenges of high school, while adding upon Kamala discovering that she now has powers, and exploring what she can do with them. Those first couple of episodes were surprisingly good and I liked where it was going. Sadly, the show does lose some steam as the story comes into play. This is most notable in episode 4 where it uses the scenery change to Pakistan to just have a lot of exposition dumped onto Kamala and the audience. As the scale and scope gradually expands, it really loses what I liked so much about its earlier episodes. Despite a strong start, the story isn’t really that good or interesting. It was quite predictable and I found it hard to be invested in what was happening. A big part of this shift is that it loses the enjoyable tone established in the first couple of episodes and becomes just another autopilot Marvel story. The humour is also a bit hit or miss, but I didn’t mind it as much here compared to some other Marvel projects. Thankfully, the finale brings the show back to what I liked about it. While there are larger displays of power, it really brings it back to that heartfelt coming of age story, the high school setting, and the focus on Kamala becoming a hero. All the prior MCU Disney+ shows ended in disappointing ways except for Loki. However, Ms Marvel has the second-best finale of the shows so far. Finally, I’m going to take yet another moment to complain about yet another MCU show being 6 episodes; every MCU show up to now (except for WandaVision) does this and its annoying because it feels like a movie stretched across 6 weeks. They really could’ve moved things around and refined it into a potentially better feature film.
Overall, I think the cast did quite well. The standout to me was Iman Vellani who is perfectly cast as Kamala Kahn/Ms. Marvel. She’s charming, likable and fun to watch, not to mention well written, well-capturing a teenage girl who is a fan of Marvel superheroes and then finds herself becoming one. I also liked the dynamic she has with the rest of her family, and it felt very believable. The central antagonists aren’t very good. While they aren’t the biggest issue with this show, they are so unmemorable that they could end up being some of the worst villains in the MCU.
The look, feel and style of the show is vibrant and colourful, making it stand out from other Marvel projects. The occasional use of animated sequences was entertaining too. Much of the effects (mainly with Kamala’s powers) looks very goofy, but with its tone it gets away with that. When it doesn’t go for the goofy Disney Channel style and attempts to be more serious however, it does suffer.
Ms. Marvel is one of the more refreshing Marvel projects I’ve seen. I liked the coming of age/high school focus and approach, I enjoyed the tone, and the cast are generally good, especially Iman Vellani as the title character. There’s also plenty of problems from the villains, to the drop off after the first couple of episodes, to the fact that they easily could’ve made this a 2 hour long movie. However, I think the fact that it does stick the landing at the finale makes it one of the better shows in the MCU.