The Ms Marvel series had already won me over on sheer charm, but the finale episode was so well-done that it knocked the show into my #2 favorite MCU series, right after WandaVision1Please don’t turn Kamala Khan into a villain, Marvel. The scene of Kamala revealing her secret identity to her family was enough to win me over just on its own.
My biggest complaint — my only complaint, really — is that once you show a villain firing weapons at children, you need to show them getting a bigger comeuppance than just losing their job.
Some of the middle episodes seemed to me to struggle with balancing MCU-level fate-of-the-entire-world action scenes with a series targeted at a younger, more family-friendly audience. I think the finale did a much better job with it overall2But the content warning at the beginning of the episode was a thoughtful and necessary inclusion, keeping it mostly at the those-wacky-teens-and-their-inventions level while still keeping the stakes high.
Best of all is that it managed to stay true to the series’ overall tone of joy, optimism, community, and family, without coming across as mawkish or tacked-on.3I think Captain America’s final speech in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was well-written and well-acted, but it still felt like an over-simplistic afterthought after the more mature and nuanced takes on it earlier in the series. The repeated idea of responding to aggression with empathetic resistance is a great one even for audiences that don’t fall into the “young adult” category. This is the first MCU series that I would love to see turned into an ongoing series4As much as I loved WandaVision, it absolutely didn’t need a second season, and I hope there is one after the movies.
A final spoiler note related to my wondering whether I’m in the target audience or not: We’d seen a comment online about Bruno’s last revelation in the finale (which was a big surprise to me, after so many months of speculation about how the MCU was going to continue!), mentioning the sound cue that played underneath it. We watched it again today, cranking up the volume and listening for anything unusual, but didn’t hear anything particularly odd — maybe it was a sound effect from one of the earlier movies that we didn’t recognize?
As a joke, I said that if they really wanted to drive it home, they would’ve included the iconic theme song from the 90s TV series that I’m still not trying to spoil for people who haven’t seen all of Ms Marvel yet. So we went back and listened to the scene again, even more closely, and there it was: that iconic riff, played barely audibly just underneath the theme music5Which reminds me: hearing Pakistani/Indian takes on the usual MCU themes has been just delightful through the whole series.. Which made me wonder: was it that subtle for everybody watching? Or just for those of us who are in our 50s and having to watch everything with the subtitles turned on these days?
Whatever the case, I’m squeezing myself into the target audience even if that wasn’t the original intention. I’ve been charmed by this series and I can’t wait for The Marvels.
- 1Please don’t turn Kamala Khan into a villain, Marvel
- 2But the content warning at the beginning of the episode was a thoughtful and necessary inclusion
- 3I think Captain America’s final speech in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was well-written and well-acted, but it still felt like an over-simplistic afterthought after the more mature and nuanced takes on it earlier in the series.
- 4As much as I loved WandaVision, it absolutely didn’t need a second season
- 5Which reminds me: hearing Pakistani/Indian takes on the usual MCU themes has been just delightful through the whole series.
3 responses to “Ms Marvel Super Follow-Up Issue 1”
Sounds like a classic example of “priming”. You just needed the right context to unlock it. I caught it first time, but I also caught how easy it would be to miss. As a musical stinger it didn’t feel out of place in the show. I don’t think was entirely due to subtlety in how they played it in that moment. I think it felt a bit like it was there the whole time. I’ve been thinking to maybe rewatch to see if I can catch which of Ms. Marvel’s musical themes it was already cleverly buried inside, because that seemed really well done. I’m not that musically inclined though, so I’ll probably instead hope some smart video essayist covers it.
I caught it the first time too. And I play EVERYTHING with subtitles turned on. 🙂
Ha, okay, I guess it would’ve been uncharacteristically mean of Marvel to ensure their show is for teens only by including sfx that middle-aged people can’t hear! And now that I think of it, I’m not sure that teens would get the full impact of a theme song from the 1990s, anyway.
I just watched the scene again on my computer instead of my “home theater” system, and the sound is completely 100% unmistakable. So I think I just have my living room speakers set up wrong!