by Charles Kirkland, Jr.
The newest (and youngest) superhero, Kamala Khan gets her origin story in the latest Marvel addition to Disney+, Ms. Marvel.
Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is your typical teenager, Muslim girl. She is a daydreamer, does well in school, and has an intense love for superheroes, especially Captain Marvel. In fact, she loves Captain Marvel so much that she plans to cosplay as her at the upcoming Avengers-con. With the help of her friend Bruno (Matt Lintz), her costume is almost complete but, she needs something special to make it her own. When she comes across an interesting-looking bracelet sent from her grandmother, things suddenly change and Kamala realizes that her deepest desire is closer to her than she could have ever imagined.
Ms. Marvel is created by Bisha K. Ali based upon the Marvel comics and stars Vellani and Lintz along with Yasmeen Fletcher, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Laurel Marsden, Anjali Bhimani, and Aramis Knight. The series is the seventh television series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in partnership with Disney+.
There are many things to like about this series. First, the tone of the series is perfect. It is light and electric. The first episode especially feels like a live-action version of the wildly creative and critically acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse animated film from 2018 which introduced everyone to Miles Morales. Thought bubbles. Phone texts showing on digital screens. Just creative and innovative ways of communicating make the show very fresh and relevant to younger viewers.
Second, the depiction of culture is very accurate. From the parents’ fears that Kamala’s cosplay outfit is too revealing, to the inequality between men and women, to a Bollywood mock-up of the Incredible Hulk, the series takes a serious and sometimes too honest view of aspects of the Islamic culture. Of course, some of it is overgeneralized but the struggle against its patriarchal structure is ongoing and very relevant to this generation.
Lastly, after a failed Inhumans television show and the conclusion of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel has learned that the whole idea of Inhumans and the Terrigen Mists is a concept that has not communicated well to the MCU. The adaptation of the abilities and their acquisition by Kamala is interesting and less hokey. Sure comic purists will argue but, this story will integrate better into the MCU. Since Ms. Marvel will play a large part in the movie, The Marvels coming to theaters in 2023, it is important that we understand and relate to her character before she teams up with her idol.
The theme for the show seems to be inclusion and discovery. Ms. Marvel has the wonderful ability to speak to a whole segment of the population that may have missed the boat or felt left behind.
Rated TV-PG for action and mild violence, Ms. Marvel is a really cool introduction to a character with great potential. It is a great jumping-on point for many girls who just didn’t feel like a part of the MCU prior to this moment. Welcome to the world of superheroes!
Ms. Marvel premieres on Disney+ on June 8.
*Note: This review was written after watching the first two episodes of the series.