6 Thoughts on Ms. Marvel (Review)

Kamala Khan has arrived on our television screens and the Ms. Marvel show was everything I could have wanted and more! I’ve been a champion of the character since she was first announced in comics, and I couldn’t be happier at how well this character was actually received and how popular she’s become. And I’m so glad her TV show was amazing.

TV Show Rating: 10/10 – Fantastic

This might be my new favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe TV show. Pretty much every aspect of this show was perfect ā€” and a perfect translation from the comics. The showrunners captured that wonderful Kamala Khan dynamic directly from the page, and infused the series with joy, energy and wonderful character development. They got the family right. They got the religion right. They may have crammed a bit too much into just six episodes, but that’s not a dealbreaker.

Join me after the jump for my thoughts and full review of the Ms. Marvel TV show! Expect FULL SPOILERS for the show. And feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments!


6. A well-made, very entertaining comic book adaptation


So much great dancing and music!

Ms. Marvel is a super fun show. Taking some cues from the Scott Pilgrim playbook, the showrunners filled Ms. Marvel with spirit and character, which is exactly what this show needed to stand out. Kamala Khan is a super fun character with her own style, and this show captured that style perfectly. The use of animation, clever text chains, musical numbers and more really helped to infuse Ms. Marvel with a unique energy that I loved! Then the show knew to fill the middle portion with something more serious, giving many Westerners a history lesson in Pakistani politics. That slowed things down a bit, but I think the seriousness of the topic warranted both its inclusion and the new tone.

Personally, I think the Partition storyline would have made for a great second season, but there’s no guarantee this show will get a second season, so I understand why the showrunners put it in this first season. It’s an important historical event that not a lot of people know about in the Western world, which is a major audience for MCU content. I only know about the Partition due to that Doctor Who episode a couple of years ago. So it’s a solid choice to ground Ms. Marvel’s story in this very real, very underreported historical event.

The seriousness was very well-balanced with an absolute pitch perfect take on both Kamala Khan herself and her supporting cast. I saw several people commenting around the internet how this could have been a show on its own, without the super-powers. Nakia running for a seat on the mosque council? I was so invested! Kamala juggling her desire to be a teenager with the rules of her immigrant parents? Perfect! The friendships, the family relationships, the look at normal, day-to-day stuff in a friendly Muslim community; it was all captured perfectly in this show, and that sort of thing was exactly what made the comic so much fun in the first place. Ms. Marvel was a perfect adaptation from page to screen.


5. The villains did stink


Who were you again?

So yeah, the villains were far from perfect. According to an interview I read, the showrunners had a lot more planned for ClanDestine, but a lot of that got cut. Makes sense. There was probably a lot more that could have been explored if they had more time. But they were pretty underdeveloped as villains. They go from 0 to 60 in wanting to kill Kamala and her entire family. None of them have any significant looks or powers or the like. They’re just a couple of people from another dimension who are vaguely tied to India and Pakistan, with a bangle of unexplained origins? And they mostly just physically fought Kamala and her allies? No thank you.

The Department of Damage Control was a bit better, though the juggle between them and the ClanDestine was a bit rough. The two groups stole attention from the other so that neither really stood out as the main villain. Does a show like this need a main villain? I would argue no. But if there’s going to be a foe, a bit more clarity and focus ā€” and panache ā€” would have been nice. At least the rude lead DODC agent helped emphasize the racism inherent in the government’s treatment of Muslims.


4. I don’t mind the power/origin change


Banish the Inhumans from your minds!

A metric ton of people were complaining online about how the show changed Kamala Khan’s powers from the comics, but I have zero problem with this change. In the comics, Kamala is an Inhuman, and she goes through Terrigenesis and gets stretchy/shapeshifting powers. In the TV show, she is (maybe) a Djinn and a magic bracelet unlocks hard light construct powers. Again, I’m perfectly fine with this.

If I’m being totally honest, I never really liked the stretchy powers to begin with. When they first introduced this character and made such a big deal out of her being a Pakastani Muslim superhero, I thought it was a little weird that she’d get such a basic power. I didn’t expect some Muslim-themed power, but being stretchy is one of the superhero basics. I have since read some interviews with her creators that explain the power choice better (the stretchy/shapeshifting stuff was to emphasize our awkward bodies during our teenage years), but I never thought those powers were a defining feature of the Ms. Marvel character or comic.

Likewise, I don’t really care that she’s an Inhuman in the comics. We all know what was happening with Marvel at the time, with CEO Ike Perlmutter pushing the Inhumans down our throats because of his beef with Fox. Kamala Khan was the only good thing to come out of that era, and it does the character a disservice to force any sort of link with the Inhumans (though Kamala and Lockjaw make a great team, just like Lockjaw and anybody).

For me, the things I love about the Ms. Marvel character have nothing to do with stretchy powers or the Inhumans. So removing those from her character/origin for the show is perfectly fine by me. As far as I’m concerned, it took away nothing from what could have been. And this TV show character does not need to be attached to the baggage of the Inhumans.


3. Mutants? Hells yeah!


As long as Kamala doesn’t have to go to the Xavier’s School

All that being said, how cool is it that Kamala will instead be saddled with the baggage of mutants! Ha! I didn’t expect Marvel to drop the first real hints about the X-Men into this show, or to make Kamala Khan a mutant. But hot damn, I am 100% on board for this! Mutants are great, Inhumans are bad; let’s make this happen!


2. Iman Vellani is a star


But you knew that already

This has been stated all over the internet and it very much bears repeating: actor Iman Vellani is so utterly perfect as Kamala Khan. Marvel Studios’ perfect casting strikes again, finding the most wonderful young woman to bring this character to life and join the MCU. She’s pitch perfect in every aspect of the role, and is just so gosh darn charming as a lead character. She’s also been super fun off the show, going gangbusters with press interviews and other internet hype building. She knows what she’s up to, and she’s just as in awe about the MCU as the rest of us.

I can’t wait to see her on the big screen in The Marvel, which is, unfortunately, an entire year away. Seeing her interact with other characters on her level should be a real blast! And then hopefully we’ll get to see even more of her going forward. Iman Vellani will hopefully have a great career!


1. This should have been a full-sized show


Everybody loves Kamala

For some reason, Marvel Studios has decided that six episodes is what makes a perfect season. Why? Are such constraints really warranted? It’s funny. The Marvel Netflix shows were cited as being too long at 13 episodes. And now the Marvel Disney+ shows are too short. Ms. Marvel should have been the exception. I can see why the other shows, especially the ones starring existing characters and Hollywood actors. But Ms. Marvel already feels like a traditional sitcom, to an extent. This show should have been given more episodes and more of an ongoing series feel, even with her guest starring in an actual Marvel movie next year. There is more than enough material and characters to fill a full series…or at least more than six episodes. There was some definite cramming underway in these six episodes, and this show deserves all the space and freedom it can get!

——————

About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on July 20, 2022, in Lists of Six!, Marvel, Television and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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