The Pitch: So far, the trend for MCU Disney+ series in 2022 is origin stories for new heroes — though despite taking place in the same universe, Ms. Marvel couldn’t be more different from Moon Knight.
Rather than serving as a dark exploration of one tortured man’s multiple psyches, the sprightly tale of how Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) transforms from a teenage Captain Marvel superfan from New Jersey into a teenage Captain Marvel superfan with superpowers is a direct descendent of high school-era Peter Parker stories, with perhaps even more fun and wit packed into the screen than Jon Watts’ own Spider-Man films.
A Hero Who’s Nerdy About Heroes: If there’s one person who would have been obsessed with Consequence‘s recent Marvel Pop Culture Week, it would be Kamala. We’re introduced to the sixteen-year-old student during a particularly chaotic time in her life, as she attempts to pass her driver’s license exam, handle school, attend services at her mosque, and help her mother Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff) prepare for her older brother Aamir’s (Saagar Shaikh) upcoming wedding — all while she secretly plans to make a huge splash at the first ever Avengers-Con, wearing her very own homemade Captain Marvel costume.
Realizing with some help from her best friend Bruno (Matt Lintz) that she needs to make her Captain Marvel costume uniquely hers, Kamala finds an old piece of jewelry sent by her grandmother to add to the mix, not realizing that the bangle has special powers until an actual life-or-death incident pulls her into the spotlight — albeit anonymously, which comes as a relief, as Kamala has more reason than most superheroes to keep her identity a secret — her mother will kill her if she finds out.
About a Girl: The first two episodes of Ms. Marvel were directed by Adil & Bilall (otherwise known as Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, whose work on Bad Boys For Life was well-praised), and the directing duo infuse Kamala’s fangirl energy into every frame, in some cases literally, with her low-budget fanvid efforts reflected in the onscreen animation and editing. Rather than simply invoke John Hughes tropes, they find their own way into this coming-of-age story, one centered fully in how all the elements of Kamala’s identity — geek, student, south Asian, Muslim, and more — fuse together into one unique young woman, one worth knowing even without the super-powered bracelet.