Why this time you should listen to the critics and ignore the Marvel fans
In 2019, Marvel announced that they were developing a new TV-series based on the popular comic character Ms. Marvel / Kamala Khan who is a Muslim Pakistani. Considering that Kamala Khan would be the first Muslim character to headline a MCU Disney+ show, the show got worldwide attention. This project is a win for diversity and one step closer to a more inclusive world. Nonetheless, these initial positive reactions of the show did not stop several marvel fans to review bomb the tv-show once it came out on June 8th. While the critics were praising the show for its refreshing storyline, likable characters and the vibrant editing style, fans were purposely giving low reviews making the show drop to the lowest rated MCU Disney+ show on IMDB.
So, how did Ms. Marvel become the highest rated MCU Disney+ show among critics but the lowest among fans?
For starters, Ms. Marvel approaches a different genre than most MCU shows. The TV-show falls under a coming-of-age slash comedy genre category. The show follows 16-year-old high school student Kamala Khan as she begins her journey discovering that she has superpowers. Given that a woman is the main character, fans straight-up mocked the series by describing it as a teen girl high school drama. Since these were the same fans that praised Spider-Man Homecoming, a film that was mainly set in high school and followed the character doing all the typical high school things as going to a national competition and prom, it could not have been a more clear indication that one of the main reasons Ms. Marvel is criticized by marvel fans is due to sexism. It is good to know that most obsessive marvel fans who write their lengthy opinions on the internet are statistically studied to be white men. Therefore, Ms. Marvel being reviewed bombed is unfortunately not so crazy after all. Not to mention, these fans might not appreciate the fact that Kamala Khan is a South-Asian Muslim, and her ethnicity plays a crucial part within the series. We see how Kamala is trying to navigate between her brown household and her love for the Avengers, which her parents don’t seem to understand. This might have contributed to the negative reviews of racist fans as they for once can’t relate to a marvel character.
However, the tv-show is actually a love letter to the comic book fans. From the comic art on the walls, the radiant comic style colors and the creative texting scenes, Ms. Marvel thoughtfully uses techniques that would satisfy fans by making it appear as a vibrant comic book strip coming to life. Also, the leading character Kamala Khan is a fangirl of the Avengers thus, making her extremely relatable to all the Marvel fans. It’s sad that some fans’ own ignorance and prejudice is prohibiting them from enjoying an excellent show specifically made for them.
So, why should you absolutely watch Ms. Marvel?
After watching the first episode, Ms. Marvel might have the best Muslim and South-Asian representation a Hollywood production has ever seen. The fact that Kamala’s parents don’t seem to understand her “western” likings as the Avengers (which is reasonable as they obviously grew up in a completely different culture), they are still trying to understand them and even participate. The latter part is often not shown in Hollywood production regarding Muslim and Asian characters, which makes this show revolutionary already. Kamala Khan’s struggle with balancing her family’s religious and cultural beliefs with the western society she lives in stays relatable without it being portrayed in negative stereotypes.
It is not only the surprisingly delightful representation that makes Ms. Marvel a good tv-show. This show probably has the best start of any of the MCU series to this date. You get to see Kamala’s family and school struggles while she is trying to act on her passion as an Avenger fan youtuber making video edits about them. Then, it is shown how she gets her powers in a very Peter Parker way. Kamala has no idea what is happening to her and struggles with her new powers in a very comedic style. Since these all happen in the first episode it felt more like a movie than a tv-show, proving further why Ms. Marvel has the best starting episode in the MCU.
Overall, the show uses impressive inventive techniques to integrate a vibrant animation and visual style, making it a comic book come to life. Likewise, the characters in the show are super likable as Ms. Marvel turns into a fast-paced family feel good show which is appealing to more people than just the generic basic marvel fans.
Author: Rashmi Baldew
Editor: Phoebe Elliott
Visuals by: Alisa Mahaletska