The MCU puts a Muslim American superhero onstage in the brand-new Ms. Marvel. Pakistani Canadian actor Iman Vellani debuts as a wonderful Kamala Khan, a bubbly, rebellious girl lost in daydreams of saving the world like her fave, Captain Marvel. After quite a bit of backstory, hijinks eventually ensue, which lead Kamala to discover her own cosmic powers (both inside and out, naturally). Matt Lintz plays Bruno Cavelli, Kamala’s sidekick, and together they form an enjoyable pair of pluck and gumption.
Marvel does a great job of spotlighting facets of American culture that often go underrepresented, (including a nice nod to Moon Knight’s Jewish heritage) and Ms. Marvel’s spotlight of Islam is incredibly well done. It felt refreshing and frankly groundbreaking to see a scene of prayer that wasn’t coupled with terrorism, and Muslim parents who weren’t stereotypes of oppression. And as a person who grew up in a family of Black Muslim converts, I was genuinely shocked to see that identity appear onscreen, portrayed by Travina Springer.
The Marvel framework of a six-episode miniseries means that every story gets the same amount of runtime—whether it needs it or not. The first two episodes drag a bit, and one wonders if the story would have been better served by a 30-minute episode instead. However, the story is fun overall, emphasized by beautifully rendered animation and phone text conversations artistically structured into the scenery in a manner that makes you wonder what’s coming next, and whets the appetite for the next Spiderverse flick.