Director: Bisha K. Ali
Date Created: 2022-06-08 00:00
The Disney + series, Ms. Marvel, took the well-constructed storyline of the Ms. Marvel series and drug it through the mud. The messy, unfocused themes, plot points, and characterization made what could easily be an enjoyable series something quite annoying and only moderately tolerable. If you enjoy really cheesy, tired trope-ridden teen narratives then Ms. Marvel is the series for you.
Ms. Marvel is Bad | Review
Ms. Marvel is a superhero, coming-of-age, action series about Pakistani-American Kamala Khan as she discovers she has superpowers once she wears an ancient bracelet previously owned by her outcasted great-grandmother. She must use her newfound powers to save the planet from being breached by the dangerous world of evil djinn. That's my greatest level of comprehension of the series.
**Heads Up** There WILL be spoilers in this review.
I watched this series with my brother and I thought it was painfully mediocre but then he said I would be even more disappointed if I actually read the comics as he had. When I tell you — he was so excited for the Ms. Marvel series since he enjoyed the comics so much.
So he got me the comics, I read the first two books of the Ms. Marvel series and boy was my brother right – I’m even more disappointed with the series now/
So I’m going to break down the similarities but mostly the unfortunate differences between the Ms. Marvel series and the Ms. Marvel comics.
Ms Marvel Series vs The Comics: Kamala’s Powers
One of the most blatant and disappointing differences between the comic and the series was the change in Kamala’s Powers.
In the comics, Kamala’s powers and the source of them are so crystal clear, easily comprehensible, and clearly give her an upper hand in battle. You feel confident when she walks into a battle that she has the tools to go up against menacing opponents.
In the comics, Kamala gets her powers from a mysterious fog, later identified as a Terrigen Mist, that comes over Jersey City while she’s sneaking out to a party with her friends.
In the series Kamala gets her powers from a family heirloom: the bangle.
Kamala can stretch and shrink her whole body to any size similar to Ant-man. She can also change her physical identity to look like different people.
However, in the series, Kamala’s powers seem less defined.
In the series, Kamala’s superpowers are that she can extend and enlarge her extremities and create crystals that she can step on and practically walk in mid-air. She can also create a force field around her for protection.
I get that Kamala’s powers in the comics so closely resemble superheroes that have come before her or powers that are already occupied in the MCU, but if you’re going to change someone’s powers, make them better and make them make sense.
For me, Kamala’s powers in the series are a bit vague in terms of origin and they also don’t seem that powerful.
Oh, another thing, Kamala in the series can’t heal herself. As a very amateur fighter, she’s gonna need super healing given that one of her powers isn’t abnormally fast reflexes. It just feels like realistically, with the powers we can detect that she has, she should definitely have been severely injured by now at the least.
Ms Mavel Series vs The Comics: The Villains
Another aspect of this series that really stood out was the change in the choice of villains.
In the series, the villains were a band of eternal evil djinn of another dimension were trying to use Kamala’s bangle to return to their homeland?? That’s the best of my comprehension.
On top of the evil djinn, there is also the threat of the government agency that hunts down superhumans coming after Kamala and her djinn (boy)friend, Kamran.
However, in the comics, the villain is The Inventor, an evil genius who created a cult convincing human teenagers that they are helping the global environmental crises by sacrificing themselves as power sources for The Inventor’s lethal creations.
I prefer the comic villain to the series villain because he’s easily identifiable and has unique psychotic traits similar to some of my fav villains like The Joker, Thanos, The Riddler, and Scarlett Witch… they all have clear, menacing psychotic motivations and character development of some sort.
The djinn in the series version of Ms. Marvel are gone almost as quickly as they arrived and their motivation for doing evil things are not well-explained at all. What’s so great about their home that they want to go back? What families are they going back to? What are their motivations? I don’t know!!
Now, I totally don’t mind TV adaptations making changes to the original story, but don’t do it if it’s going to make the story worse. If you’re going to change something, change it for the better.
It makes sense for a teen superhero to fight for teens like Kamala does in the comic version of Ms. Marvel. In the series, I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure what Kamala’s fighting for and if it’s to save the planet from being overrun by another dimension then she is definitely not capable of doing so.
Ms Mavel Series vs The Comics: The Relationships
The relationships in the series version of Ms. Marvel were a bit confusing in relation to the original story.
Did you know that Bruno is supposed to have a wayward brother? Yeah, in the comics, Bruno’s brother is what leads Kamala to the evil plans of The Inventor.
The comics also exclude the confusing, vacuous relationship between Kamala and Kamran. Like, I only read the first two books of the Marvel series so maybe he joins the comic later on but Kamran’s role felt a bit useless. Or maybe I just didn’t get it, more likely, I didn’t care to get it.
I like that the hidden romance between Kamala and Bruno stayed the same. That was well-portrayed in the series. But Nakia’s role, no lie she was a bit annoying. Like – preachy feminist extremist.
Kamala’s brother doesn’t have a fiancée in the comics. I’m convinced that they included the fiancée just so they can show off more of the Pakistani culture through weddings which I’m not mad about but still, make the cultural education less obvious. Just show me, don’t tell me.
The relationship between Kamala and her parents was spot on from the comics to the series as well.
Also the relationship with Muslim culture and going to the Mosque was an aspect of the comics that the series adhered closely to.
I absolutely love love LOVED the end credits music, Pakistani pop! Not only was the long, mildly irritating episode over, but the music it was ending the episode with was bumping.
Also, Kamala’s superhero costume — SUPERB. It’s so gorgeous, befitting and also resembles the comics.
You would think the series would have taught me some step-by-step Pakistani moves so I could properly jam to the music. I want to learn that musical scale and sing along.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the Pakistani culture as well, I just wish it wasn’t so on-the-nose and educational feeling. Just immerse me in the culture as is. I’ll figure it out.
At times, it just felt like to need to educate the masses on Pakistani culture overshadowed a consistent, grounded plot. I’d rather just watch a Pakistani film with subtitles than a Pakistani series catered to Americans. Give it to me authentic!
There was a bit of shaky acting as well, I won’t point fingers but I was not convinced.
I love that minority women spearheaded the creation of this series but I also hate that it ended up being subpar. Like — ARRRGGHH you don’t understand how much I want to love this series 😭 but alas, there’s always room for improvement.
The plot decision with deciding what to keep and what to change from the comics was not well-thought-out in my opinion. And also, each episode almost felt disconnected from the one before it.
At first, Kamala is in a basic teen drama, and there are all these imaginative drawings around her, very Turning Red vibes. Next thing you know she’s training like Rocky to be a superhero. Somehow, we’re in Pakistan with a group of undercover bandits behind a restaurant?? Now we’re at a summer camp firepit with friends with made just today in Pakistan????? Like, what are we doing?
WHAT. ARE. WE. DOING?
I see what Ms. Marvel is trying to do. I see the effort to include a level of relatable teen experiences spiced up with Pakistani culture and all rolled into the classic Marvel superhero action narrative. And maybe the way they approached this formula worked for some people. But what I got was an inconsistent teen experience, a poorly veiled history lesson on Pakistan’s origins and Muslim discrimination wrapped into what felt like a generic version of MCU energy.
The fight scenes and the action just lacked oomph.
I hate to say it, but this series, Ms Marvel, did not come close to reaching its full potential.
Ms Marvel is not the worst thing ever but Ms Marvel is bad. Especially in relation to how good it had the potential to be. I believe more aspects of the comics should have been preserved or if changed, changed for the better.
If there is a season 2, I will need serious confirmation and convincing that it’s worth the time before considering revisiting this narrative.
Is Ms. Marvel a hero or villain?
She’s a hero. The real question is, is she a good hero? From what I’ve seen so far – ehhh.
Is Ms. Marvel a flop?
Well, it somehow has a 98% rating on Rotten tomatoes but don’t be fooled, it does not reach the standards set by its preceding Marvel series and films.
Was Ms. Marvel a success?
The comics are the series, not so much.
The series or the comics? Let me know in the comments below!
And be sure to subscribe for the latest blog updates (form in sidebar).
Peace, love, and lots of popcorn,