Something to watch tonight: Monday 12 February
The Marvels (DaCosta, 2023)
One of the reasons why you should hold on to your Disney+ subscription is that the time between their blockbuster movies hitting cinemas and arriving online is now so short as to be only a minor inconvenience.
I reviewed The Marvels at the pictures back in early November and it’s now available to stream for the cost of your monthly Disney+ subscription (which, from memory, is still less than one single IMAX theatre ticket).
We took the opportunity to re-watch last night, to see if the film which has been accused of killing the superhero movie deserves that reputation.
And it clearly doesn’t. Much of the negative response to the film is frustratingly gendered. The film centres three female protagonists and a female villain and just about every HOD on the film is a woman.
Another factor in the film’s relative failure with audiences may come down to last year’s SAG strike which prevented stars from contributing to the usual publicity machine. The usual wall-to-wall studio coverage was instead replaced by the online haters and a growing media narrative that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now a victim of its own overreach.
That’s as maybe, but the film is fun and short (comparatively) and looks great at home, even if the Disney+ policy of showcasing some sequences in IMAX proportions means a regular but baffling shift in aspect ratios.
The strengths of The Marvels is in the relationship and rapport between the three ‘marvels’ that give the film its title: the original Captain Marvel (Brie Larsen), the most powerful being in the universe but essentially exiled to sort shit out in the outer reaches of the galaxy; Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), grown-up daughter of Captain Marvel’s best friend; and Kamala Khan (aka Ms. Marvel played with pizzazz by Iman Vellani), fresh from the Disney+ series of the same name.
For all its complicated ties to other titles that you may or may not have seen or care about, I found very little of The Marvels to be disagreeable – the opposite, in fact – largely because the running time doesn’t succumb to the bloat of other films in the franchise and because there’s some delightfully daffy moments that made me – at least – laugh out loud.
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Where to watch The Marvels
Everywhere (at least, everywhere that has Disney+): Streaming on Disney+
It’s Valentine’s Day on Wednesday and RNZ asked me to come up with a list of ten films to watch to celebrate (or commemorate if that’s more your bag).
I tried to prioritise pictures where the romantic protagonists actually stay together at the end – a surprisingly large number of the most romantic films ever made are tragic romances – and also tried to avoid being exclusively heterosexual. How well did I do?
Let me know what you think of my choices in the comments.
My weekly chats with Emile Donovan on RNZ Nights are proving to be lots of fun. They’ve doubled my time, too.