Ms. Marvel Episode 3 SPOILERS!
The series in the MCU have been a bumpy ride so far. At least when it comes to taking the post-Endgame universe into the future. At the same time, some extremely interesting things happened at the character level, for which reason I gladly forgive narrative omissions in relation to the overall picture. Because what, if not the characters, is the central currency of this universe?
Ms. Marvel has internalized this like no other production so far and therefore concentrates entirely on its star. The third episode is the first to introduce anything like an antagonist at all, and it benefited enormously from that slow build-up and in-depth introduction that was the first two and a half episodes of this initial season. With the run-up to her brother Aamir’s wedding, things get complicated for Kamala when she learns that she is descended from Djinns stranded in our dimension.
Another mythical creature made reality in the MCU that I’ll have to strain my willing disbelief for, but ok! More importantly, fans don’t make faces too long now that Kamala doesn’t appear to be Inhuman anymore (but again, given the person we got the info from and a suspiciously blue hand at the beginning of this episode, I wouldn’t think so secure). After changing her powers, this would be the second major departure from the comic. Then again, in this episode, you also see her swinging a giant fist, albeit made of light, which at least in effect is the same as it was on paper.
In fact, it shouldn’t be the forces that define Kamala. But their nature and their environment. And in this episode, that’s so warm and heartfelt that you couldn’t expect it from a Marvel production. There is also an extended Muslim wedding scene full of music, dance and joy, relaxed life advice from the Imam – “Good isn’t something that you are. It’s something that you do” – and tales of the difficulties of immigrating to a foreign country alone. You take these people into your heart, rejoice with them and forget for a while that you are watching a superhero show and not a series about an immigrant family.
When the secret threat suddenly drops its mask, one is genuinely concerned for everyone involved and sad for her brother’s ruined party. It was suddenly incredibly exciting when things got serious and the tone shifted drastically, no matter how loud Living on a Prayer blared out of the speakers. Also because there was finally a power gap again in a Marvel series. Here between vicious Djinn on the one hand and an inexperienced Kamala and her friends and family on the other.
And the gags were good again. I still have to laugh about the Pakistani cover band “Bröwn Jövi”, as well as about Kamala’s publicly-adopted superhero name “Night Light” – because while it seems superficially apt, it also describes a plug-in light for toddlers. All the actors continue to be charming and in good spirits, led by lead actress Iman Vellani, who is a natural and Ms. Marvel appears to be her acting debut.
After a bit of a rumble at first, I really don’t have anything bad to say about this series now. For a change, the representation doesn’t come across as cramped because it comes from the reality of life of those responsible for the series and doesn’t look like it was designed on the drawing board. If you’re open to light-hearted stuff that’s aimed at youngsters and loves coming-of-age stuff and visually imaginative series – my god, those colors! – you should definitely watch this series. I’m smitten.