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The Marvels has started fixing the MCU’s Avengers problem

Published Nov 13th, 2023 9:24PM EST
Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) in The Marvels trailers 2.
Image: Marvel Studios

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Everywhere you look, there are reports about The Marvels failing at the box office. With a $110 million global take, of which $63 million from international markets, The Marvels is faring far worse than the first movie in the franchise. Captain Marvel made $455 million globally in the first weekend, topping $1 billion in 2019. The Marvels opened even lower than Disney’s $140 million estimate and will mark one of the worst premieres in MCU history.

But The Marvels is far from a bad movie. The sequel tells a great crossover story full of action, heart, and humor. It’s fast-paced, too, clocking in at one hour and 45 minutes. That’s much better than most of the recent MCU movies, and you won’t feel like your time is wasted.

The Marvels also has a great epilogue and a compelling credits scene that make the sequel an important step towards understanding the greater Multiverse Saga story.

More importantly, The Marvels finally feels like a movie where Marvel isn’t doing everything it can to avoid dealing with or mentioning the Avengers. This is what Marvel should have been doing all along. Before I tell you more about it, know that big The Marvels spoilers will follow below.

Why The Marvels is bombing at the box office

Rather than postponing the film, Disney decided to have The Marvels in theaters this November even though the entertainment industry was dealing with two strikes. The actors’ strike ended just last week, before The Marvels premiered. This made it impossible for the film’s biggest stars to promote the movie in the US and worldwide.

The Marvels features Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). However, they were unavailable for interviews and promo tours because of the strike. So Marvel used the Avengers in a trailer, but it was too late.

Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) looking up at someone in The Marvels promo clip.
Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) looking up at someone in The Marvels promo clip. Image source: YouTube

Then there’s the toxic part of the MCU fandom to blame. Some people simply don’t like MCU shows and movies like Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and The Marvels because they feature female protagonists instead of men.

Finally, there’s the declining quality of MCU. Marvel superhero fatigue is real. I’ve come to experience it with Loki. The TV show is easily one of Marvel’s best stories so far, and you absolutely have to see Loki. But I kept expecting it to disappoint for most of season 2’s first half. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. And Loki impacts everything in the MCU, even The Marvels.

But I can’t forget how utterly annoying Secret Invasion was, a Disney Plus show that precedes The Marvels on the MCU timeline.

The absence of Avengers in the MCU Phases 4 and 5 to tie these stories better is a part of the MCU’s quality problem. Ironically, Marvel is starting to fix it with a movie that’s not bringing in the opening weekend box office take you’d expect from a Marvel production.

All the Avengers connections in The Marvels

I’ve often complained that most Marvel movies and TV shows fail to address the Avengers. It’s as if the big heroes do not exist, and it’s incredibly annoying. Marvel doesn’t have to pay for expensive cameos to provide that connective tissue. The Marvels proves all that and delivers some exciting cameos nonetheless.

From the get-go, an MCU fan would be able to place The Marvels on the timeline. The action in the film happens right at the end of Ms. Marvel, and soon after Secret Invasion. The Ms. Marvel credits scene is part of The Marvels. And Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) did say at the end of Secret Invasion that he’s going back to space for the Skrull-Kree peace talks, which are a part of The Marvels plot.

Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) in The Marvels trailer 2.
Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) in The Marvels trailer 2. Image source: Marvel Studios

But as soon as a big space phenomenon is detected, we see Fury calling Carol, just as he sends Monica to investigate. Compare this action with Eternals and Moon Knight. Both had huge cosmic events, but nobody from the Avengers intervened.

We then learn from Fury and Monica that SABER is keeping an eye on individuals with superhuman abilities. This will give you creepy surveillance vibes, but it’s on par with what Fury has been doing for the better part of his career.

Fury’s “iPad” is filled with information about promising candidates. That’s how Kamala ends up in Kate Bishop’s (Hailee Steinfeld) apartment, trying to recruit her into a team that will probably become the Young Avengers.

Well, Kamala thinks she’s being recruited to the Avengers from the moment she swaps places with Monica and finds herself floating in space near Fury’s space station.

Just like that, with a few lines of dialogue, The Marvels gives us an idea of the state of the MCU right now. It’s enough to know the world’s organizations are monitoring threats and superheroes alike. That Avengers, like Carol and her unexpected team, are ready to act.

Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) in The Marvels trailer.
Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) in The Marvels trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

Add other cameos here and there, like Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) showing up to assist with the rescue of space Skrulls, and you get more Avengers vibes.

Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), by the way, also ties The Marvels to Infinity War and Endgame. And we finally learn why the Annihilator (Captain Marvel) was afraid to come back home for the better part of three decades. She’s essentially ashamed of what she has done to the Kree empire.

The post-blip action teasers come from Monica and Kamala. The former says she got her powers from a witch, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen). Meanwhile, Ms. Marvel got her time-and-space traveling bangle from her grandma. Then there’s the system of space jump points, first seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, which play a crucial role in The Marvels’ plot.

Unfortunately, the ties to Disney Plus only make sense if you’ve seen the shows.

The exciting credits scenes

Ms. Marvel possibly recruiting the new Hawkeye to a Young Avengers team easily qualifies as a credits scene. However, it’s technically the film’s epilogue. The Marvels has one credits scene, showing Monica waking up in a different reality. Beast (Kelsey Grammer) from Fox’s X-Men movies is there to tell her that she ended up in a different reality.

But Monica is still shocked from seeing a variant of Maria — Binary in this universe — who rescued her. This Maria never had kids, and she became this reality’s Captain Marvel. Well, Binary.

And so, The Marvels sets the stage for the upcoming developments in the Multiverse Saga. Monica has just fixed an incursion without knowing about it.

On that note, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) messing with the timelines in season 2 would also directly impact The Marvels. Without Loki guarding all timelines, alternate realities like the Fox universe would have been automatically erased by Kang’s Time Loom.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.