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Ms. Marvel not what I expected

Count me among those people that hated the Ms. Marvel trailers.

I like Marvel, but also can’t stand teen dramas, which is why I typically steer clear of the CW. I was planning to praise the unique visuals of the first episode and the charm of the protagonist before quickly jumping to the next subject.

But then I actually sat down to watch the episode, and my brain did a complete 180. So, let us shelf that other topic and dissect Generation Why. First, we may as well address the elephant in the room. The representation debate continues to haunt every project that emerges from Hollywood these days.

Some people applaud the industry’s determination to insert individuals from different backgrounds into their most lucrative projects. Others have dismissed the gestures as unnecessary pandering.

But I think we all want the same thing: a well-told story with entertaining characters. Hollywood’s diversity push tends to fall flat because they typically sacrifice the story to elevate the social message. So, you can understand why some Marvel fans were anxious when Disney announced Ms. Marvel, a project that would introduce the MCU’s first Muslim superhero.

This was not necessarily an obstacle for me. However, Luke Cage failed, in my opinion, because it spent too much time delving into the minutiae of black culture in the US. Naturally, black people in the US responded positively to that message. But I did not appreciate the many episodes they spent exploring African American culture. Frankly, I was bored.

As such, a corner of my brain was worried that I would have to fast forward through all dozens of minutes spent celebrating Kamala’s Pakistani heritage. But you know what? That never happened.

At no point do you forget that Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager from a Muslim household. But those components are woven seamlessly into each scene, enhancing the narrative rather than distracting from the core plot.

This is what I want to see. Do something new without burying the comic book components I like. Have I mentioned Kamala Khan is incredible? I don’t know who to thank. On the one hand, the writing team deserves a lot of praise because the dialogue is surprisingly authentic and engaging.

On the other hand, I don’t know if the dialogue would have landed if Iman’s delivery was not so enthusiastic. I was hesitant to embrace this show because I could not figure out who she was or how I was meant to perceive her.

But as the episode went on, the gears in my head turned, and I understood. Iman Vellani’s Kamala is basically us (some of us): a nerd who lives in fantasy land. Once I understood who she was, I realized that I would watch this show to the end.

That was not a foregone conclusion. I had every intention of seeing this first episode, but only out of curiosity. I don’t like dismissing shows I haven’t seen. I wanted to know that I could tell anyone who pushed me to watch Ms. Marvel that I had given episode 1 a shot and hated it.

And to be fair, we haven’t seen the rest of this season. It could easily suck. But I will still watch it because they got the most important thing right. They gave me a cast of characters I can root for.

I loved them all, not just Kamala but her parents, siblings, and friends. They all rocked. This was a solid start, and it came at the perfect time because Obi-Wan Kenobi is already crashing and burning. We needed a palette cleanser from the travesty that was Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4.  

katmic200@gmail.com

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