A fun homage to fandom culture

Ms Marvel logo

The latest Marvel character to get a live action treatment is Kamala Khan, a Muslim American teenager growing up in Jersey City who is an avid of all things superhero especially when it comes to her hero – Captain Marvel. Kamala does not feel that she fits in at school or at home until she gets superpowers. 

It is no surprise the superhero genre is so huge and has reinvented itself through different iterations and studios but with Disney taking the lead on live action superhero adaptations, Ms Marvel offers something new but familiar that can resonate with a variety of audiences. One of the most interesting things about this newest hero, in an extensive line of superheroes, is that Kamala is the first Muslim superhero to headline a Marvel show. It is ground-breaking and refreshing to see this and that the show does not shy away from her Muslim culture and shows it in a positive light. It is invigorating to see a mainstream show not go the typical and derogatory way that many popular shows do in the name of satire. Muslim culture is present throughout Kamala’s life so it makes sense that it be present throughout the show. Early on, there is a comment regarding the lack of brown superheroes, particularly those of Muslim faith, but it does not take away from the joy and fun of the show but uses Muslim culture to draw you in more. 

The first two episodes use Kamala to honour the fandom culture realistically, respectfully, and entertaining with dialogue that adds to her unique character and the situation she finds herself in. The first two episodes are an homage to fandom culture and the impact it can have on your life as well as the effort fans go to show their love and appreciation for fandom. When this is done in past TV or film it can feel clunky in the script but Ms Marvel does it with a natural feeling that is made fun by the delivery of the cast. One thing that makes the two episodes stand out is the use of animation as its own character. If you liked Into the Spider-verse, this is reminiscent of that and has the same fun vibe. The sequences are fun but create a feeling of nostalgia. There is a scene that takes plan at a costume contest at a convention where you see all the fans made costumes. It is a fun sequence showing the production value and how dedicated fans can be to their favourite hero, especially in a world that has been dominated by the avengers. 

Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan in Disney’s Ms Marvel

The show is set in Jersey City and you get to see Pakistani Muslim culture throughout the first two episodes and although it feels like Ms Marvel fits seamlessly into the MCU world, highlighting Muslim culture breathes a breath of fresh air and helps make the show have its own identity. It is the same for Kamala. She does not hide her culture or her passion for superheroes, they work together and help her to create something unique and seems to give access to her own strength. A highlight of the show. 

What stands out most in the show is  Iman Vellani. Vellani is a breath of fresh air and seems as if she is the perfect cast for Kamala Khan and breathes life into the role and show. The supporting cast work with Vellani perfectly and seem to have a genuine relationship that comes through clear on the screen. Bruno Carrelli, portrayed by Matt Lintz, is the only friend of Kamala Khan who knows she is secretly a superhero. Their interactions are highlighted in key moments of the series and they have a great banter to add to the feel of the show.

Overall, the first two episodes have a nostalgic vibe reminiscent of the early 2000s feel but with the maturity from a modern setting mixed with features from Into the Spider-Verse that make it a fun, unique story that I cannot wait to watch unfold as the mystery of Kamala’s family evolves. 

The most valuable character, or MVC, of these two episodes must be Bruno. He is unapologetically himself and helps Kamala with her newfound powers and abilities. Add to that his amazing skills, he is valuable to the show and Kamala. 


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