Each week, Darren from @darrenmoviereviews will be recapping the most recent episode(s) of Ms. Marvel and the show’s overall connection to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Move over Peter Parker! The MCU has a new teen hero, and she’s the biggest fan of the Avengers! Ms. Marvel has debuted on Disney+ and it’s time for the world to meet the sensational Kamala Khan!
From the second the premiere episode starts, there is an energetic and infectious energy that leaps off screen as we meet our newest hero. In her debut performance, Iman Vellani is absolutely incredible and Marvel has hit the jackpot with casting her. She is personable, hilarious and just a bundle of joy in every scene. You feel her challenges as she tries to convince her parents to let her go to Avengers Con, share in the excitement of her big plan to make that happen, and her amazement as she discovers her powers. With only one episode, it’s easy to tell that this is going to be a star-making performance for Vellani and she has a bright future in Hollywood. Though, the great performances don’t stop there. Zenobia Shroff and Morgan Kapur are a delight as Kamala’s parents, creating this wonderful sense of family and tradition while delivering one of the funniest moments of the episode as they try to provide Kamala with a costume for Avengers Con. Matt Lintz has a great banter with Vellani as her best friend Bruno, joining her on her adventures and becoming the best friend that every superhero needs.
In terms of the story, the first episode is dedicated to the introduction of the main characters. It spends its time developing them and the relationships that will be at play over the course of the season, before introducing Kamala’s powers in the final ten minutes of the episode. There is a mid-credit scene which teases one plot thread of the season to be followed, but otherwise we are largely in the dark as to where the story is going. Which is one hundred percent okay! The writing is wonderful and it’s a fun premiere that has me completely invested in these characters and ready for the rest of the season. In terms of visuals, the show does a great job using animation to bring to life the teenage lifestyle and Kamala’s wonderful imagination. It’s a breath of fresh air for visually storytelling within the MCU, and I loved it!
And into spoiler territory we go. If you have not seen the series premiere of Ms. Marvel, stop reading now. If you have, keep on reading to find out what we learnt on the series premiere…
The episode begins by introducing us to Kamala Khan: your average American-Pakistani teenage girl. She makes YouTube videos celebrating her love of Captain Marvel and the Avengers. She and her best friend Bruno are trying to figure out their costumes for the first ever Avengers Con. Together, they are creating Kamala’s Captain Marvel costume and figuring out the best possible idea for hers to stand out from the other Captain Marvel costumes. At the same time, Bruno tells Kamala that she is going to have to figure out a way to convince her parents to let her go. Also in the opening sequence, we see Kamala fail her driver’s test and hit the instructor’s car, but her parents turn the blame on the examiner in a hilarious scene.
At school, we are briefly introduced to the popular girl Zoe, who is not a fan of Kamala and her other friends. Kamala is also summoned to the guidance counselor’s office, where he literally quotes “Reflection” from Mulan to her as he encourages her to begin thinking about her future.
Back at home, Kamala receives a package from her grandmother. It’s full of trinkets, one of them being an ancient looking bracelet. However, the bracelet catches her mother’s eye and she quickly grabs it, calls it junk and takes the entire package away. Kamala’s mother then takes her shopping, to help prepare for her brother’s wedding. While shopping, they run into a family friend and her mother and the friend begin gossiping about one of their friend’s daughter, disapproving of her decision to not follow the path her family laid out for her and go travelling. However, Kamala commends this young woman for following her own path, much to her mother’s disappointment.
When they return home from shopping, Bruno has set up Kamala’s family with a fully automated system called “Zuzu” to control the lights and various electronics through the house. When Bruno finishes explaining the system to Kamala’s father, he declines an invitation for dinner and leaves. Kamala uses this moment to ask her parents to let her go to Avengers Con, but her mother immediately disapproves. She tells Kamala that she does not trust her or anyone who will be at the event, and that her daughter will not be dressing up as Captain Marvel. Kamala runs to her room after hearing this from her mother as her brother returns home. He goes up to Kamala’s room to comfort her, telling her that he will talk to their parents about Avengers Con.
The next morning, Kamala is trying on her Captain Marvel costume when her parents enter her room. They have changed their mind about Avengers Con, and are willing to let Kamala go on two conditions. Number 1: her father will go with her and Bruno. Number 2: that her father and her will both dress up as the Incredible Hulk! But Kamala says absolutely not, that it’s absolutely humiliating, but her mother says she will not dress up in that “skimpy” Captain Marvel costume like the other girls at the event.
After leaving her house, Kamala meets up with Bruno. They are hanging out on the roof of his place, and Kamala confides in him that she’s afraid she’s really hurt her parents feelings with this whole Avengers Con debacle. Bruno tells her that it will all be fine, but Kamala is questioning whether her parents are right and that girls like her don’t save the world. But Bruno stops her right in her tracks, telling her that girls like her do save the world because she’s Kamala Khan and she can do whatever she sets her mind to. He then pulls out the photon gloves that he has created for her Captain Marvel costume and gives them to her.
The next day, Kamala has decided that she will be going to Avengers Con, regardless of what her parents think is best for her. She recruits Bruno to help her enact the plan she has devised so she can make it the event. Her plan: she will make a graceful exit from dinner to her room to work on school work. There, she will jump out the window and meet Bruno with their bikes. They will bike to the bus stop, bus to the event, conquer Avengers Con and win the cosplay contest, and make it home before her parents realize what has happened. At the same time, Zuzu will be distracting her parents, reacting and playing a voice recording of Kamala if they try to enter her room.
Kamala then goes to the attic, to find something Pakistani to make her Captain Marvel costume unique. She eventually finds the package from her grandmother, selecting the bracelet as the final touch on her costume. As she pulls the bracelet out of the box, the lights behind her flicker.
It’s now Saturday, the day of Avengers Con. Kamala is at the dinner table with her family, when she sees Bruno through the window with their bikes. She quickly excuses herself from the dinner table to finish her biology report in her room. Not so gracefully, she jumps out her window and meets up with Bruno. However, they miss the first bus and are forced to wait for a second one, and while getting on the bus, Kamala loses her bike. But that doesn’t matter, as they are on their way to Avengers Con.
At Avengers Con, Kamala and Bruno are stunned by the event. It’s a full tribute to all of the Avengers, with the majority of the attendees in costume. It’s a fun sequence showcasing memorable moments and characters of the MCU, all set to “The Star Spangled Man”. While exploring, Kamala’s phone picks up movement through Zuzu, which shows Kamala’s parents still at the dinner table. However, it’s time for the cosplay costume and Kamala heads to the bathroom to change into her costume. However, she has problems getting the bracelet on, and puts it back in her bag and, unknown to her at the time, drops the photon gloves Bruno made for her on the floor.
Back in the main room at Avengers Con, Bruno has put on a lab coat to turn himself into Bruce Banner. He asks Kamala where the photon gloves are, and she realizes that she dropped them in the bathroom. But it’s too late to go back for them as the contest is beginning, and Kamala heads onto the stage. Still playing with the bracelet, she manages to open it and places it on her wrist. However, when she puts the bracelet on, she is covered in cosmic energy. At the same time, she sees a vision of what is potentially another universe. Under the spotlights on the stage, Kamala becomes dizzy and throws her hands up to block the lights. But this sends a blast of energy from her hands that looks like the mirror dimension from Doctor Strange, which cuts off the head of the giant Ant-Man statue. The head rolls around, destroying the main room of Avengers Con, setting off a sequence of events which results in a giant Mjolnir swinging through the air, on a direct path to send Zoe flying. Using her powers, Kamala extends her arm and saves Zoe as Mjolnir hits her and sends her flying through the air. Bruno quickly gets to Kamala, telling her that they need to go before anyone tries to figure out who she is.
Bruno and Kamala successfully get back to Kamala’s house and he helps her climb into her bedroom. Kamala at first assumes she has succeeded in tricking her parents, to turn around and see her mother sitting in her room waiting for her to return. Her mother begins lecturing her, telling her that she does not recognize this rebellious young girl, and that she has seen what happens to individuals who become obsessed with their fantasies. Kamala gets upset with her mother, telling her that she knew this was how she would react, but chose to sneak out anyway. Her mom continues, telling her that it’s time to stop fantasizing and to focus on her grads, family, and writing her own story. Echoing her guidance counselor, she tells Kamala she needs to figure out who she wants to be, and whether she wants to be good like she was raised, or a cosmic head in the cloud person. As she leaves Kamala’s room, her mother says that she needs to think hard on this question and closes the door, ending the episode.
But for the first time ever in a Marvel Disney+ series, we have a mid-credit scene in the first episode! We see a video of Avengers Con, showing Kamala’s power. The camera zooms out, showing Arian Moayed’s Agent Cleary, who we last saw in Spider-Man: No Way Home, watching the video and ordering for this masked hero to be brought in.
The inclusion of Agent Cleary and the Department of Damage Control, which was first introduced in Spider-Man: Homecoming, is intriguing. We know from Spider-Man: No Way Home that Agent Cleary is well informed, knowing that Nick Fury has been off-world for years, as this was not even Peter Parker or the other Avengers knew. It has been long assumed that Marvel was building towards a Young Avengers series or film with the introduction of Kate Bishop and Kamala Khan, but could Agent Cleary take on a pivotal role in creating this team? Only time will tell, but the fact that he has shown up in both Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel, who were at times both part of the Young Avengers, is an indication of what could be coming sooner than expected in the MCU.
As for the rest of the show, there are tons of references to other projects in the MCU due to Kamala’s love of the Avengers. It’s a fun, easter egg filled ride for MCU fans as you will see references from every project dating back to the first Iron Man film, as well as nods to What If..? an underappreciated entry into the MCU. And while the series toys with the origins of Kamala’s powers, which in the comics are usually from Kree technology or genetics as we are led to believe it is from a family heirloom, there could be something deeper at play. We know from the mid-credit scene of Shang-Chi that the Ten Rings are more ancient than we were led to believe, and when Shang-Chi put them on, it set off a beacon. Up to this point, we don’t know what the beacon was trying to contact, but it is possible that the bracelet that Kamala finds is of the same origin as the Ten Rings. Could both of these items be of Kree origin, which would help set the stage of Secret Invasion, which is expected to be coming to Disney+ next year? It seems like a likely notion, as aside from The Marvels, it is the next MCU property that is confirmed to be dealing with aliens, and we know Ms. Marvel will be starring alongside her hero in The Marvels next summer.
What are the origins of Kamala’s powers and the bracelet? How much does her mother actually know about the bracelet? And what is Agent Cleary up to? Check back next week for the next Ms. Marvel recap to find out if we learn any of these answers as the next adventure in the MCU unfolds!