In episode three of Ms. Marvel, we get a glimpse at some important Khan family history – and there’s some surprising turns as to Kamala’s ancestry. Alongside Kamala being asked to do something particularly dangerous that is likely to put her in harm’s way, her brother’s wedding gets underway – and her new allies may not be all that they seem to be.
This week’s episode goes to some very unexpected places in terms of the more fantastical elements that have been lurking in the background thus far. Unfortunately, like the overly convenient superheroics of the previous two episodes, it doesn’t quite convince – and I’m not quite as bought into that side of things as I’d expect to be.
And yet – there’s something so authentic and charming about the more down to earth elements of the show, which are handled beautifully and with a careful touch towards the cultural side of Kamala’s life. At this point, I would honestly not have been in any way put out if the sci-fi/superhero elements of Ms. Marvel had taken a back seat to the beautiful character work, excellent performances and wonderful cinematography that highlights a much underserved corner of the MCU thus far.
It also felt as if some of the more interesting stylistic audiovisual touches had taken a back seat in this particular episode; though a few still remained, it felt as if this had been dialled back a tad. They were much missed, as it was a part of the show’s fabric that had really set it apart from the more visually uninteresting – if still accomplished – and naturalistic MCU fare.
It’s odd that I find myself riveted and invested not by the superhero action in a superhero show, but instead by the main character’s development, along with that of her friends and family – all of whom are brilliantly sketched out, both by their performances and the script. The villains of the piece come across as somewhat one-note as well, which doesn’t really help to push the superheroics into being more compelling.
Halfway through the series, it’s far from a disaster – and Iman Vellani continues to impress as the titular hero – but it’s a shame that the two halves of the show don’t gel as well as they should.
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