Culture Editor Halima Ahad reviews the latest Marvel mini-series, praising the charming teenage South Asian superhero at its centre
Ms. Marvel charts the start of something new and brilliant for the Marvel universe. The mini-series accompanies the Muslim superhero’s success since the comic book debut in 2014. The series follows Kamala (Iman Vellani) and her origin story, solidifying the superhero further than the audience could ever imagine.
Iman Vellani steals the show immediately with her wit and charm as the main character. It is hard not to fall in love with her character since she is relatable for any South Asian girl in this day and age. With the perils of teenagehood and the emergence of her new superpowers, Kamala Khan finds it hard to juggle her double life. She is set for more adventure as the new film The Marvels is set to come out, the sequel to Captain Marvel, in which the teenage girl teams up with Carol Danvers for an epic adventure.
The first three episodes of Ms. Marvel have come out so far and I can say that they are absolutely astounding. The plot follows through carefully without going into too much detail or rushing the audience. The first episode begins with Kamala narrating a superhero story whilst she aimlessly daydreams about her favourite Marvel superhero, Captain Marvel. She is then called into the principal’s office after getting too distracted in her daydreams and not focusing on her schoolwork. Kamala is desperate to go to the Avengers ComicCon to live out her dreams of being the best-dressed Captain Marvel in the costume competition. However, there is one obstacle in her way, her parents.
Thanks to her best friend Bruno (Matt Lintz), she gets to go to the competition but discovers something about her powers at the convention. Khan’s family back in Pakistan sent a package which included a mysterious bangle. When worn, she is able to shoot solid energy beams as well as make platforms she can step on. This revelation changes the course of everything for Kamala when she realises what she is capable of doing and the limitless possibilities this creates.
The bangle also ties Kamala back to her Pakistani heritage and the trauma of the Partition between India and Pakistan, which took place in 1947. The bangle belongs to her great-grandmother who went missing during the time of Partition and who is possibly trying to communicate to Kamala through the bangle.
Pakistani culture is depicted almost perfectly and unapologetically throughout the three episodes of the show. When Kamala meets the new boy Kamran (Rish Shah) and they talk about their favourite Bollywood films, especially the classics like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, I felt instantly connected to both of the characters. They were talking about their identities and how they were both brought up in a Pakistani household and this is especially relatable for those in the audience who have similar descent.
The early episodes of the series clearly show that time has been spent on the intricate details of Kamala Khan’s character development, as well as the exploration of interesting themes throughout. Kamala and her duo of friends, Bruno and Nakia, show the audience what it is like to navigate their way through the perils of teenagehood and adolescence, now in a Gen Z world. The tone of the TV series is similar to MCU’s Spider-Man in which it shows the perspective of the main protagonist and never fails to make it hilarious or relatable for those watching in the audience. The main theme which is significant throughout the series is the comic book imagery and stylisation. The audience gets to see the fantasies of the main character brought to life through her doodles and stories which she creates in her free time.
Overall, I am absolutely enjoying the premise and outcome of Ms Marvel so far and the rest of the show seems promising. The wit and charm of Iman Vellani have won me over completely and I am excited to see any future Marvel projects she may be in as her character has won my heart.
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