+++ Opinion +++
The first two episodes “Ms. Marvel” really got me excited: A radiant, new heroine (Iman Vellani) in a field of tension between school, family and first love, so colorful and fun and creatively staged – that hasn’t existed in the MCU for a long time (if at all!). Yet with episode 3, the first weaknesses slowly crept in, which became more and more pronounced in episode 4 and now found their sad climax in episode 5.
The problem is by no means that “Ms. Marvel” takes a trip to Pakistan and the past in episodes 4 and 5 – this fits the theme of the series, which revolved around family and cultural heritage from the beginning. And so showrunner Bisha K. Ali and her team take a lot of time to complete the whole flashback scene in episode 5 and provide some really beautiful, touching moments.
The problem is that there are too many other stories to tell along the way – some of which have since been completely forgotten (the DODC, Kamala’s everyday school life) and others are completely smashed into the ground.
This applies above all to Clandestine, who are introduced at the end of episode 2 with a clever cliffhanger, only to then do a 180-degree turn in episode 3 within a few minutes from the seemingly friendly surrogate family to the murderous villain group.
This development should have lasted at least two episodes, so the potential of the Djinn is wasted, which, at least on paper, actually goes perfectly with “Ms. Marvel” matchbecause central themes such as family, homeland and forced exile are reflected here.
In episode 4, Clandestine then easily break out of Damage Control’s oh-so-safe supermax prison, travel halfway around the world in what feels like a few moments (that almost reminiscent of the hasty narrative pace in the last seasons of “Game Of Thrones”) and are in the right place at exactly the right time to intercept Kamala in Karachi.
And then in Episode 5, her wish to open a portal to her home dimension is granted, only for some reason the veil turns out to be deadly to the Djinn. and the figure drawing is at least as vaguebecause even an explanation as to why Najma (Nimra Bucha), who has been waiting 80 years to return home to her dimension, suddenly sacrifices her life to close the veil, remains the responsibility of those responsible for the series.
In the final moments of Episode 5, we jump to New Jersey to join Bruno (Matt Lintz) and Kamran (Rish Shah) who somehow escaped prison on his own and somehow gained new powers from the closing of the portal because the finale is yet to come must be prepared in episode 6.
But (in the original version) there isn’t even time to let Bruno say his “You have powers too?” in full. Another explosion instead, then the episode ends completely abruptly – that’s really almost involuntarily funny cut.
More and more it shows: While “Daredevil” and Co. (formerly on Netflix, now on Disney +) were at least three episodes per season too long, the six episodes in the MCU series are simply too short and/or too little. Of course you can tell a good story in four and a half hours. But the six episodes are mostly just too crowded – and not only with “Ms. Marvel”, but also with other MCU series.
And not only was the second half of episode 5 way too hasty and overloaded, unfortunately I’m afraid that episode 6 won’t really get any better either. Because in the final, Bisha K. Ali and Co. now have to:
- either position Kamran as the villain or squeeze the long-absent DODC into that role
- stage a big final fight
- Make Kamala Ms. Marvel (including costume) and tease her role in Captain Marvel 2
- add any explanations about Clandestine and the Veil
- clear up the whole thing with the second bracelet and what the extraterrestrial Kree have to do with it
- Kamala and Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher) reconcile
- break up the love triangle between Kamala, Bruno and Kamran
- revisit Sheikh Abdullah (Laith Nakli)’s “It’s good what you do” statement
- bring the characters from Kamala’s school environment back at least for a moment
And that’s certainly not even all of the storylines leading up to the finale of “Ms. Marvel” are still open. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot for one episode.
I really hope that “Ms. Marvel” turns the corner in the last episode and gets the great finale the series deserves. After all, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are again the directors responsible for this episode, who also staged the excellent first episode. I am excited…
My colleague Sebastian, in his video for “Ms. Incidentally, Marvel” Episode 5 tries to explain all the open questions and strange developments. If you are interested, you can find the video here: