TV review: ‘Ms. Marvel’ is simply marvelous

I’ve found it funny that since the MCU shows started releasing on Disney+, some of my favorites have been the ones I was initially less excited about. 

My favorite MCU Disney+ series by far is WandaVision, even though I was somewhat hesitant about the concept. I don’t think I was even a Disney+ subscriber when it came out; I was taking a break to try other streaming services, and figured I would just catch up with WandaVision later. 

That show ended up blowing me away with its creative concept – portraying Wanda’s alternate reality as TV sitcom episodes throughout the decades – and also its mature and poignant reflection on loss and grief. 

Similarly, the trailer for Ms. Marvel didn’t do much for me when I first saw it. It seemed like the show could be fun and colorful, but it looked like it was maybe aimed towards a younger audience. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course – I just didn’t know if the show would appeal to me as much as an adult fan.

As it turns out, I’m very glad to be proven wrong. Ms. Marvel is a fun family show that’s quickly become one of my favorite Disney+ series. It reminds me a little of the vibe I get from Tom Holland’s Spider-Man films; it’s both a superhero origin story and a coming of age tale, featuring an exciting new character I can’t wait to see more of in the MCU. 

As cool as all the superhero stuff is, my favorite thing about Ms. Marvel is watching the dynamic between Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) and her family. I’ve loved learning more about her family’s heritage and their love for their native Pakistan, and also some of the super-powered secrets hidden in the family’s past. 

At the heart of the story is Kamala’s relationship with her mother, and the deep love but also tension that exists there. I feel like I can relate to both sides; I remember what it was like to be a teenager, trying to figure out who I was, but now as a parent I can also definitely relate to Muneeba Khan’s (Zenobia Shroff) overprotective tendencies. I’m sure I’d worry a lot if my daughter suddenly started developing superpowers! The balance every parent must find between protecting your child and also allowing them the freedom to grow certainly gets more complicated when you throw superpowers into the mix.

I also like that as an MCU fan myself, Kamala feels like one of us. She’s a huge Avengers fangirl, her favorite being Captain Marvel. I loved seeing her and her friend Bruno (Matt Lintz) go to the Avengers con and dress up in cosplay. It’s so cool to see a lover of geeky things actually get to become a superhero like the role models she admires. 

The historical flashback in this week’s episode adds another layer of richness and complexity to the story of her family, as well. 

My only real complaint about this show is that it’s only six episodes. That seems like far too short a time to spend with these characters, even though yes, Kamala will be appearing in the upcoming MCU film The Marvels. I feel like both Ms. Marvel and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series would have benefitted from expanding to at least 10 episodes. 

I also wish the show had done more with Kamala’s best friend Bruno. Having a teenager who loves superheroes as much as Kamala does yet has no powers himself is an interesting foil for Kamala. I’m assuming he’ll eventually become Kamala’s “guy in the chair.” I also don’t mind that he has a crush on Kamala, because I feel like that’s part of the teenage experience as well.

As for what I want to see in next week’s finale? Aside from wishing that it wasn’t time for the finale already, I want to see this character continue to grow more confident in her powers, and I hope the ending will set up Kamala to play an important role in the MCU going forward. 

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