Ms Marvel review – Iman Vellani shines as Marvel fan favourite Kamala Khan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There’s been lots to be excited about in recent times if you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ever since Wandavision kicked off the Fourth Phase of the MCU and a whole new tranche of television shows from the comic book giant there seems to have been an almost endless parade of new Marvel content for viewers to enjoy, from Loki to Moon Knight and Doctor Strange’s return.

In Ms. Marvel we have another TV show for Marvel fans, but unlike the more “heavyweight” additions of Wandavision and Loki to the MCU cannon, here we have a slightly different show – a coming of age story told from a new perspective in a way that will really excite and delight fans of the popular comic book character.

Kamala Khan will already be know to students of the Marvel comics as the ultimate Marvel fangirl, although she may not be the most well-know character to the more casual viewer or followers of the movie and TV series. She is a very popular character in the comic book world, and although some changes have been made to her for the screen adaptation (including her powers as Ms. Marvel which has garnered some controversy) this is someone who will really enthuse the average Marvel fan.

In the show we are introduced to Kamala Khan as she makes YouTube videos celebrating Marvel heroes and getting ready for the very first AvengerCon that coming weekend. This seems like the perfect transition to encourage you to watch the video review of the show below on YouTube … but if you would rather read, well, read on…

Kamala is a teenager in High School and she is dealing with all the same issues as the average school kid – not to mention trying to get her strict parents to understand her passion for all things superhero. However, unlike many superhero stories that are often told from the perspective of a white man (or occasionally woman) Kamala is a Pakistani American Muslim. And the different cultural reference points and heritage of Kamala’s family are woven into the show with care and attention – so as not to feel like just tokens of diversity, but as authentic parts of her, her story and her motivations.

But this isn’t just a story about a Marvel fan, as you might expect – there has to come a point fairly soon where something really “super” happens – and you don’t have to wait long. Kamala, in an attempt to complete her costume, wears a bracelet to AvengerCon only to find that this family heirloom grants her special powers, making her dream of being a superhero come true. However, with great power, not only comes great responsibility – but as tends to be the way in superhero shows, also groups of enemies appear pretty quickly with the sole aim of grabbing that power. Therefore, the moral of this story quite quickly becomes, be careful what you wish for.

This is a show that has been put together with great care and attention, from the casting of the magnificent Iman Vellani who steals the show as the teenage protagonist to the clever and immersive direction that draws you into the story and the minds of the characters as the backgrounds become part of the storytelling in very interesting and clever ways.

Perhaps Ms. Marvel feels a little more of a departure from the more recent Marvel TV shows that have a much more direct and obvious link to the stories of MCU phase four, but that is no bad thing. This show gives plenty of time to explore the life and challenges of Kamala Khan and allows us as the viewer to invest in her and her life before we take too much of a turn into the superhero battles that are inevitably on the horizon. In doing this we are also treated (which you may expect from a show about a super fan of the franchise) to a veritable Aladdin’s cave of Marvel Easter eggs as we are whisked along on the journey.

Ms. Marvel is a fun and funny show, it’s entertaining and it has a lot of heart to it which makes you relate to the characters, particularly Kamala at the centre of the story. But despite this warmth, the show is unafraid to challenge more serious topics like racism and imperialism which is again testament to the care with which the makers of the show has taken to make this a story rooted in diversity rather than one that is just nodding towards inclusivity on screen.

Ms. Marvel is a marvel! It’s a show that will delight both seasoned Marvel fans and can also stand alone as a story that young and old alike can watch and begin to enjoy the magic of the MCU.

Ms. Marvel is available to watch on Disney+ wherever you live right now

Tim Glanfield

Tim Glanfield is a journalist, editor and broadcaster with more than 15 years experience writing about television, film and the entertainment business. He has been editor of RadioTimes.com, a writer for The Times (of London) and the Guardian as well as a freelance contributor to newspapers, magazines and websites across the world. He is author of the book Digital Economy or Bust: The Story of a New Media Startup and makes regular appearances on TV and radio in the UK.

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