When The Marvels first came out, I posted on social media urging people to go see this fantastic movie and not get deterred by the misogynist racist trolls trying to undermine it. At the time, I just wanted to make a quick statement in support of the film. But after seeing the movie succeed in telling a powerful story about diverse women heroes, I realized I wanted to dig deeper in my analysis.
As an Africana Womanist sci-fi/fantasy author familiar with facing backlash for my own books, I feel a responsibility to thoroughly review and discuss media like The Marvels. Stories that center women, especially women of color, get unfairly targeted in our culture. So here I aim to thoughtfully examine the film's achievements as well as its flaws. SPOILER ALERT BELOW.
My Review of The MARVELS
I'll admit, when I first heard that The Marvels was being targeted by misogynist trolls on Rotten Tomatoes before it even premiered, it felt like déjà vu. As a Black female sci-fi and fantasy author, I'm no stranger to the vitriol spewed by racist, sexist corners of fandom. I was personally attacked twice by individuals who were bent on putting me in my place when it came to sharing strong Black women superheroes, especially when I shared my post about three Black women superheroes [LINK] and a Black woman Jedi [LINK].
So I steeled myself before going to see The Marvels, expecting the worst. Not about the movie itself - I had faith that director Nia DaCosta would do these powerful women justice - but about the environment surrounding it. Sure enough, the misguided anger started flowing freely on social media. Accusations of being "woke garbage," complaints about "pushing representation," even nonsensical rants about evil feminist agendas.
But I'm here to tell you - don't let the trolls win. Go see The Marvels.
Because you know what? It's fantastic. As an Africana Womanist, I was thrilled to see Monica Rambeau, Kamala Khan, and Carol Danvers team up on screen. Their sisterhood sang to me; their strength and heart lifted me. The story explored complex themes of grief, family, and reconciliation. And the futurist visuals were stunning.
Most importantly, these women felt real to me in all their messy humanity. Strong female characters who were nuanced heroines with purpose. The action was thrilling, but the relationships gave it meaning.
I was particularly impressed by the villain, Dar-Benn. As played by Zawe Ashton, she was a complex, tragic figure - a true foil to Captain Marvel rather than a one-note baddie. Her motivations illuminated the themes of environmental devastation and displacement. And I loved seeing powerful women face off in a thought-provoking confrontation.
Does The Marvels have flaws? Sure. The pacing felt uneven at times. But overall, it's a solid 8.5/10 for me. Certainly not the disaster some trolls will have you believe. And the cats were freaking hilarious.
The truth is, we need more movies like The Marvels. Films filled with diverse, complicated female characters on both sides of the fight. Stories that challenge narrow assumptions about womanhood and expand our ideas of what heroines can be. Naysayers be damned, representation matters. Girls deserve to see heroic versions of themselves on screen just as much as boys do.
So pay the haters no mind. Go experience these flawed, powerful women battle evil and lift each other up. Let yourself enjoy the ride - like I did as a Black girl dreaming of being Wonder Woman. And never forget that your role models don't have to look like you to inspire you.
...Sisterhood is the real superpower.
By delving more deeply into this review, I hope to spotlight what makes The Marvels so special. As well as continue the important work of standing up to the forces that try to tear down diverse representation. What messages do you think audiences should take from this film? I welcome respectful discussion in the comments.
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