The sequel brings back Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) for a second time in a solo (not-solo) movie, more than four years after the cosmic-powered Avenger first featured in 2019’s Captain Marvel.
It’s the 33rd film in the MCU and the third film in Phase 5, following Ant–Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
So, who’s in The Marvels, what’s it all about, how does it tie into the wider MCU, and when is it coming to Disney+? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the superhero blockbuster.
Read more: Every upcoming MCU movie and show
Is The Marvels streaming on Disney+?
The film was released exclusively in UK cinemas and IMAX on 10 November 2023. It was originally slated to arrive in July 2022 but faced several delays on its journey to the big screen.
What are the reviews like?
Reviews for The Marvels have landed on Earth and word has started to seep out about whether the MCU's recent rough patch has come to an end or if it's here for the foreseeable. The answer? Well, judging by the reviews below, things are looking up... mostly.
Our own write-up enjoyed The Marvels when it decided to lean into its more ridiculous moments, saying: "the film does best when it leans into the more ridiculous nature of its narrative which takes the trio to different worlds, one of which is a planet where everyone talks in song."
Meanwhile, The Guardian labelled it "bonkers", continuing to explain that it is "entirely ridiculous, but presented with such likable humour and brio", and The Independent called it "marvellous".
But The Telegraph wasn't convinced, telling its readers that the MCU had sunk to "a new low."
Read these reviews below:
Yahoo Movies UK: Brie Larson superhero caper thrives when at its most ridiculous (4-min read)
The Guardian: Bonkers battle for ‘quantum bands’ in bubblegum sort-of sequel (3-min read)
The Independent: Nia DaCosta has been thrown under the bus – this poorly promoted sequel is marvellous (4-min read)
The Telegraph: The superhero franchise sinks to a new low (3-min read)
Who is in The Marvels?
The Marvels is essentially Captain Marvel 2, so of course, Brie Larson is back (alongside her cat Goose) as Carol Danvers and her super-powered alter ego.
Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan aka Ms Marvel also stars. Khan was introduced to the MCU via her own series on Disney+ in which we saw the New Jersey teenager unlock her powers when she put on her great-grandmother’s mystical bangle.
In the series, we learned that Kamala Khan has a mutation in her DNA, which was activated by the bangle allowing her to access cosmic energy. She can create hard light structures, stretch her limbs, and teleport through time and space.
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige told EW earlier this year: "The great thing about Kamala in her show, and now in this movie, is that she's not unlike Tom Holland's Peter Parker in Civil War. She can't believe she's with these other heroes, and can't believe that she finds herself in these places."
Teyonah Parris, who starred in Nia DaCosta’s Candyman, returns as Monica Rambeau, the now grown-up daughter of Carol Danvers’ friend Maria Rambeau. We met both Rambeaus in the 1990s-set Captain Marvel, when Monica was a little girl.
Monica Rambeau played a major role in WandaVision as a SWORD agent who, after passing through the Hex surrounding Westview which altered her DNA, developed the ability to absorb and manipulate energy.
Samuel L Jackson appears as original Avengers assembler and former Director of SHIELD, Nick Fury, in the film, while The Handmaid’s Tale’s Zawe Ashton plays the gender-flipped villain Dar-Benn, a Kree warrior.
Parasite’s Park Seo-joon appears as Prince Yan, comic book character Amadeus Cho aka Brawn, Prince Yan of Aladna, the leader of a musical planet. Kamala Khan’s family — her older brother Aamir (Saagar Shaikh), mother Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff), and father Yusuf (Mohan Kapur) — reprise their roles from Ms Marvel.
What is the plot?
The Marvels’ plot revolves around the characters Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel, and Monica Rambeau and their ability to swap places.
"There's something immensely powerful about seeing Monica and Kamala and Carol together in a frame," Kevin Feige told EW. "To me, it's only akin to the first Avengers movie and seeing the six of them together in a frame. It's chill-inducing. They're so great together, and they all have different histories with one another."
The film is a spiritual follow-up to Captain Marvel, which was set in the 1990s and told Carol’s origin story. We’ve seen her since helping the Avengers defeat Thanos in Endgame and in other glimpses throughout the MCU.
"Marvel comic fans will recognise elements of the Kree-Skrull war," said Feige. "And it's picking up directly after the end of Captain Marvel 1, not in timeline but in story."
The post-credits scene in Ms Marvel, in which we saw Danvers arrive seemingly from nowhere in Kamala’s bedroom as Ms Khan disappears after her bangle begins glowing, teased Ms Marvel’s return in The Marvels. This moment looks the most likely jumping off point for the film’s story to begin.
In Ms Marvel, we learned about Kamala Khan’s hero worship of Carol Danvers’ alter ego, so this dynamic between the pair will probably be explored, setting up the potential for some funny moments. After seeing Carol’s reaction to being transported into Kamala’s bedroom, the walls of which were adorned with posters of Captain Marvel, this looks likely.
Hawkeye explored a similar scenario, in which Kate Bishop’s adoration of a disdainful Hawkeye and their subsequent partnership allowed for some very funny moments and exchanges.
Is there a trailer for The Marvels?
Dropping online in late July 2023, the first official trailer for The Marvels saw Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel herself return, this time scored to a nifty retooling of Beastie Boys track Intergalactic.
It's an apt song choice though, as this sequel appears to be an adventure that splices space and new dimensions as Danvers gets her powers mixed up with a batch of new heroes, including Ms Marvel, Kamala Khan.
The first teaser trailer for The Marvels was released by Disney in April. Opening with Nick Fury in a space, it quickly reveals the core plot of The Marvels which shows that Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and Monica Rambeau somehow swap places every time they use their superpowers. Watch it below.
Who directed The Marvels?
The Marvels is directed by Nia DaCosta, the acclaimed director of 2021’s Candyman, a sequel to the 1992 original which she co-wrote with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld. The directors of Captain Marvel, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, are not involved in The Marvels.
Writers include DaCosta alongside Megan McDonnell (WandaVision), Zeb Wells (The Amazing Spider-Man comic series) and Elissa Karasik (Loki). With both WandaVision and Loki integral to The Multiverse Saga, this begs the questions whether the film could pull from both series.
At the very least, continuity is all but ensured and any Multiverse shenanigans should remain consistent with these two shows.
How is WandaVision connected to The Marvels?
The end of WandaVision also set up the events of The Marvels when we saw the similarly cosmic-powered Monica Rambeau recruited by a Skrull sent by an old friend of her mother’s: “He heard you’d been grounded, he’d like to meet with you”. The Skrull points upwards which suggests they’re probably heading to space and Nick Fury where Rambeau looks set to come into contact with Marvels Captain and Ms.
Rambeau has beef with Danvers – we learned in WandaVision that she felt Carol had abandoned her mother, Maria, after gaining her super powers. We could consequently see some conflict between the two.
Will we learn more about Mutants and Ms Marvel’s heritage?
Given that Ms Marvel is the first MCU character referenced to have a mutation in her genes in the MCU, could mutants feature more pertinently in The Marvels, ultimately ushering the X-Men into the proceedings?
We don’t yet know where Kamala was transported to at the end of her solo series, or where else the film might go but given that the movie is part of the Multiverse Saga, and Ms Marvel introduced the Noor Dimension, it’s entirely possible that this could feature. We’ve had a taste of Djinn and it seems probable we’ll explore them further at some point.
We also know that as far as character exploration goes, Carol Danvers is set for further probing.
Brie Larson told Good Morning America: “There are parts that are not so great about her, that we can see a hero is not being the person that makes every right decision all the time.”
Marvel seems set on continuing to paint its characters in shades of grey after historical criticism of its villains. The studio has made efforts to move away from binary definitions to create richer characters rather than black-and-white heroes and villains. This can only be a good thing for a long-running franchise that needs to remain fresh.
The Marvels will be available to buy and rent from 16 January