Ms. Marvel is destined to become the most accessible and beloved series that Marvel has brought to Disney+. While there’s yet to be a false step in any of these series released, many of them have required some background knowledge to enjoy the series entirely. Head Writer and Executive Producer Bisha K. Ali has managed to weave in the lore of Ms. Marvel into a very relatable semi-authentic (I mean, we’ve yet to hear of kids in high school developing powers) look at the inner workings of being in high school. Where Ali elevates the quality of Ms. Marvel is how seamless she weaves in the inner workings of a typical Pakistani American family. At the heart of the series is having to courage to step out of the shadows no matter the cultural or societal pressure one faces.
Had they just blown right by the fact Kamala Kahan is Pakastani, it would have been a disservice to the character and closed the door in many directions that the storyline could have gone. Lucky for all of us, they didn’t. Some of the best moments of the first two episodes (that’s the number of episodes we were provided) center around Kamala’s interaction with her mother Najma (Nimra Bucha) and father, Aamir (Saagar Shaikh). There’s a perfect balance in the first two episodes between navigating the awkwardness of High School and Kamala’s family trying to understand their daughter’s love of superheroes. Their family is accepting as one can be in the confines of their family dynamic. They don’t get why she focuses on such things. They often refer to it as her head being in the clouds. Her mother probably has the biggest issue with Kamala’s fascination with Captain Marvel based on her outfit. Many Pakistani mothers wouldn’t be okay with that. This dynamic is the most interesting so far in the series.
There’s been some debate about whether Ms. Marvel’s powers in the series are “Comic Book” accurate and, to be frank, whether it directly ties into the comics is irrelevant. The show isn’t about her powers but how she grows into the role. There’s a learning curve that her friend Bruno (Matt Lintz) attempts to help her navigate. The show also tackles how conflicted she feels about when to use her powers and to what degree. On the one hand, Kamala wants to be a typical high school kid who sets a good example, but she is undoubtedly drawn to what she can do. There’s certainly a mystery surrounding the origin of these powers, which comes from a piece of jewelry her Grandma once owned. Nimra knows something is up with the jewelry but hasn’t yet put together that this new superhero is her daughter.
Meera Menon‘s direction is why this series will resonate with so many people. Her attention to detail is impeccable. I loved how she visually references Khan’s journaling and doodling at different points during each episode. Khan is just like any high schooler. She is a dreamer. The intrigue in this show rises when Kamala realizes that her dreams are now a reality. How will she respond? Is Kamala capable of even taking this responsibility on? Complicating matters is a crush she develops in the first two episodes. We quickly realize that nothing happens by accident in this series.
However, the most crucial element of the show was nailing the casting. Iman Vellani is charming and such as delight as Ms. Marvel. Lintz and Vellani have great chemistry together. More importantly, Shaikh, Kapur, and Bucha are perfectly cast as Kamala’s family. If either of these is slightly off, Kahn’s coming-of-age story will fall flat. Instead, Marvel’s most charming series that everyone can enjoy is what we have.