Ms Marvel review – glorious debut for MCU’s first Islamic superhero | Television and radio

A superhero – and star – is born in Miss Marvel (Disney +) , the newest small-screen excursion in the MCU. The superhero is Pakistani-American teenager Kamala Khan, Marvel’s first Islamic headliner, whose solo comic book series made its debut in 2014. The miniseries tells her story of origin, deviating a bit from the source material and somehow humanizing it further.

The star is Iman Vellani, in – incredibly, based on her charisma, comic timing and dramatic cuts in each scene – her first acting role. Her second will be in the next one Wonderful film tour, The Wonders (I hope you are clear about us being in the Wonder universe for the duration of this piece), a sequel to Captain Wonder and focused on the adventures of Carole Danvers / Captain Wonder and our lady. Normally, you’d be scared for a young actor, but Vellani seems so born to the purple that you almost have to shrug and say how an elder could to a nascent superhero in – oh, I don’t know, the MCU maybe – that it’s her. destiny.

The series itself? Only two episodes have been released for review, but they are glorious. The plot so far is minor. Nowadays it is as real a life of age as a superhero origin story. Sixteen-year-old Kamala is an artist, vlogist and avid fan of the Avengers in general, and Captain Marvel in particular. We meet her enthusiastically telling her latest animated story about them.

Most of the first episode features her trying to persuade her parents to let her go to the Avengers comics convention on a bus ride away, refine her Ms Marvel costume, and reassure the headmaster when she is transported to his office because of her constant “scratching” and day dreaming. Although it will probably be swallowed up in the deeper joy and broader meaning of seeing a Muslim character revived, I just want to point out how absolutely amazing it is to see an accurate, loving and unobstructed depiction of a passionate female fanatic, so often mocked. or ignored while boy geeks inherit the world.

Later, and with the help of her best friend, Bruno, (Matt Lintz) – who is also, easily, a technical genius – Cinderella comes to the cosplay ball. When she adds an old family bracelet to her costume at the last minute, she becomes invested with the ability to shoot energy beams that take on a kind of solid shape and allow her to step on platforms she can do in front of her in the air, as an alternative to flight or overspeed.

The bracelet allows her powers to be tied to Kamala’s Pakistani heritage and Partition’s trauma in particular. It belonged to her great-grandmother, one of the many who went missing during that time and who seems to be backtracked towards Kamala through her powers.

There’s a nice twist before the end of the second episode that promises a satisfying development of this element, but it’s the home scenes and family relationships that are the biggest strength of the initial installments. Kamala’s culture and religion are presented innocently and modestly, in great ways (we see her and her friend Nakia, played by Yasmeen Fletcher, at a prayer in the mosque – and complaining about the state of the female side compared to the male) and small (Kamala was frightened by the Djinn in the dark when young, not ghosts).

Some may see Kamala’s efforts to avoid her family’s strikes as another unwanted / unwarranted portrayal of Islam’s oppressive attitudes toward women, but I suspect it will be presented to the majority as Bisha K Ali, the creator and lead writer of the series, certainly intended – a simple acknowledgment that parents of all faiths and colors will parent and provide grain to any teenage anxiety mill.

The Khans are an ordinary family – although Mother Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff) has a dowry for unbridled sarcasm that many may long to have in her own parental arsenal – which exist in quarreling, teasing, loving, forgiving, not as a bolt. in the service of some crazy notion of 2022 “awakening,” whatever some are no doubt already striving to assert.

The whole thing is full of charm (loving the graffiti that animates as Kamala and her always active imagination go by), wit, warmth, brilliance and truth. It’s just – yes, I’m afraid I’ll go – it’s just Wonderful.

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