Format: Alamo Drafthouse
Director: Nia DaCosta
Marvel has been having some issues, of late, with quality and maintaining a fanbase. I'm not sure why having a fanbase for sci-fi/ fantasy stuff means eventually that the absolute worst people on Earth feel like their opinions should dictate what the rest of the planet sees and what constitutes a "good" Marvel, Star Wars or whatever movie. But I suppose it's the same reason that people think they get to tell other people they're the only *real* Americans.
I don't want to define the film Captain Marvel or TV show Ms. Marvel by the audience that manages to mix misogyny and racism into rocket fuel for social media, but I will say - in the event of this year's strike by SAG-AFTRA, it's been tough to get much in the way of promotion out there for The Marvels other than dropping trailers, and that's left a gap in the conversation those folks have filled. It's more likely we'll see the occasional hit-piece by a major industry publication looking for clicks than Disney doing anything worthwhile to actually promote the film on their own. We coulda really used the lead cast hitting Hot Ones and Good Morning America.
Look, I agree: Marvel has put out too much content since Endgame, and that's had a deleterious effect on the overall quality of the material. Even I have been asking "will this be necessary?" as I hear about each new Marvel thing still in the pipeline. And sometimes you're watching, say, Loki Season 2, and you're thinking "I literally do not care what happens here" because something like "oh noes, the timelines will all collapse" is both meaningless, up it's own ass of the story being about itself, and insanely old hat to us aging comic nerds who've seen timelines and multiverses collapse and expand over and over for our *entire lives*. And, yes, Superman will still get printed every month.
Movie superheroes still have to have an antagonist, and they still have to wind up in a big crescendo of a finale, but we've seen this dozens of times in the past fifteen years. You can polish it, put a new coat of paint on it, but eventually it's someone in a slugfest with their evil opposite who has the advantage on paper (but not the heart of a hero).
So what you have left is what you can do with characters.
And that brings us to The Marvels (2023), Marvel Studios' latest offering.
The movie has mediocre reviews and is tracking to open badly. I haven't read the reviews, because (a) I already had tickets and was going, and (b) I kinda wanted to write this before I saw what Chris Spectacles of the Akron Observer thought of the film.* And I didn't want this review to be me addressing the concerns of reviewers.
I saw it in a 2/3rds full theater on opening night, and with not a child in sight. I will say the following up top:
First - there's no post-post-credits sequence to wait for. Go home after the first couple of them. This is not a trick.