Art by Alex Ross
So lets get the anger out of the way immediately. Ms. Marvel is the worst of the MCU shows. And that isn't saying THAT much, because honestly most of them are great, if not incredible. But I think it's pretty clear, as a series, this is the worst. Now it has plenty of things going for it. Iman Vellani was the perfect casting choice. She encapsulates everything right with the show. How earnest she makes her character, how silly but serious Kamala can be, and she delivers her lines perfectly. If there is any fault to go around, it is once again to Kevin Feige, as the weight of the MCU and needing to make EVERYTHING world ending is ruining any sense of fun these shows and movies used to have. The reason Hawkeye worked so well is he was doing his thing, taking down street crime. The world would have kept on rolling if he failed. So lets get into why Ms. Marvel is a long shot that really only Hawkeye could make.
Boring. So. Boring. I mean here me out, I LOVE that the Partition of India is getting screentime, more people need to learn about that. But honestly this seemed more like a show about aliens and the partition than it did Ms. Marvel. Heck there is even an episode where Kamala doesn't show up until 20-30 minutes in. And it's not exactly an original story, it's very Aquaman. Strange being meets human. Gets seduced by human. Makes a terrible financial mistake and has a child with human. Stays. Dies. Is the well really that dry? The worst part is that this could have been a simple street or gang level story, and Vellani would have carried it the whole way. Another interesting creative choice was her powers. Her ability is to make light constructs? Really? Was is that much of a STRETCH to not give her her real powers? I'll leave now. But seriously, to tie things to the Nega Bands instantly, and then to be like "Well I guess they give her powers?" seemed lazy and a rush to get them introduced into the MCU. I'm not saying I have a better way of doing it AND talking about the partition (which I am glad they did), but man oh man was it boring. And some of the moments don't pay off, another classic Marvel staple. For example, the Red Dagger leader dying. Why would we care after barely getting to know him? And the main villain (whatever her name was) making the sacrifice for NO REASON. Honestly they should have doubled down and made Damage Control the main bad guy, rounding up powered individuals and treating them wrong, THAT would have been an incredible and topical show! Heck they even had strongly armed people in military gear rush into a school and shoot at kids, like why include that then shy away from the topic? But also...weird they had a school scene like that, still can't tell if I like that or hate it, it didn't really add anything and they made it seem fun, not horrifying.
This might be my biggest problem with the show. Each episode is essentially Kamala being introduced to yet another new character, or having something revealed about one of them. There is an episode where you have to attend a 20 minute Pakistani wedding. Which I mean, yes, I LOVE that the MCU is doing culture finally, but yikes they clearly need to figure out pacing. You don't need to show us EVERY bit of culture and cram it down our throats like every character Kamala meets tries to cram Pakistani food down hers. Honestly there were times this show felt like a mix between a lifetime movie and a Pakistani Cooking Show. I feel like shafting Kamala and only giving her a show was a mistake. This should have been a movie. The other shows feel paced out, and thought about. I feel like the producers, Kevin Feige, whoever wants to take the blame (Looking at you Mouse) tried to cram way too much boring nonsense into the show, and took away from Vellani's awesome (damn should have said Marvelous) performance as Kamala Khan. Also GIVE ME MORE ABU! If you cut out the Nega Bands stuff, make Kamala Khan an Inhuman, and have her focus on Damage Control and Government overreach, you have a great series! And something to build on, making a MUCH needed connection to something, anything, at this point in the MCU. Heck they could have had the new Thunderbolts (Walker, Yelena, Abomination) in the extra credit scene, saying they needed to be formed to deal with new powered individuals.
Are bad. Hands down. Like I said earlier, NONE of it is earned. The mutant reveal? Dumb. It takes away from her Inhuman background and really just makes her a commercial for the X-Men. Marvel is so scared at it's own Inhuman Shadow that it thinks we don't want anymore. Wrong. We want Lockjaw, all of us.
The MCU stepping away from Inhumans when they should be embracing them is a mistake. Having Black Bolt back in Multiverse of Madness was a good step, and this feels like it undid all of that. I know the show sucked, but they could recast and rework an Inhumans movie no problem. We honestly should have gotten that instead of the terrible Eternals movie. This seemed like a cheap and lazy way to make Ms. Marvel more important than it is, and honestly her reaction at the news is the same as I felt, meh. It didn't feel natural, felt rushed, and was handled poorly. If Feige can't create some kind of common thread or a common enemy for these shows and movies to revolve around, then we can expect seasons of commercials for movies again and again. Hopefully She-Hulk can right the ship that Kevin Feige has begun to topple. Just because you own the X-Men does not mean you have to cram them in where they don't belong.
Iman Velleni is an awesome addition to the MCU, another excellent casting job. But the show feels crammed together, and while it covers very important historical topics, chooses to go with a theme of "Aliens Invading or Whatever" rather than a VERY topical theme of Government violence. They could have made a wonderful story about Partition and connected it to government overreach with Damage Control. But instead the writers take the easy way out, blaming ONE government employee instead of the whole system. Lame. While the story is boring and the stakes are the same, Velleni steals every scene she is in, even if the show literally steals screen time from her every episode. The potential of the show can be see in the first and last episodes, then we get dragged down into the mud in between. On the bright side, she is going to crush it in The Marvels, and I'm excited to see that.
5/10 (10/10 if you only watch the first and last episodes, which I recommend)