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The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

Media Review: The Marvels

Photo+courtesy+of+Marvel+Studios
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

I have to admit that I cringed while watching The Marvels. Was it the experience of my Pakistani culture being broadcasted on the big screen for all to judge, or my discomfort due to a lack of representation in previous films?

While I was disappointed with the plot, the accurate Muslim representation made up for the movie’s shortcomings.

This is the first time audiences have seen Kamala, Marvel’s first Muslim hero, since debuting in her 2022 series, Ms. Marvel. The Marvels, the sequel to Captain Marvel, follows Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) as they find their powers linked and interchangeable. The characters work together to prevent the Kree, an alien race, from destroying the universe – and all others.

Kamala’s youthful presence was refreshing, but her character followed a common trend with new, young superheroes, where they excessively worship the ground their heroes walk on, in this case, Captain Marvel. This undermines the younger characters’ importance, making them seem like excitable sidekicks.

Having my culture broadcasted for the world to see brings a feeling of vulnerability and a fear that people will ridicule the character.

This is particularly disappointing when it comes to Ms. Marvel, the newest symbol for Muslim representation in superhero media. For me and other Pakistani-Muslim girls across the world, seeing someone who looks like them saving the world was a mind-blowing experience. From Kamala’s brother saying “Bismillah” to the Quranic artwork up on the Khan household’s walls, the film was not lacking in representation. I felt excited every time I saw parallels between the character and my own life. While I was happy, I couldn’t help but feel awkward when she appeared on the screen. Having my culture broadcasted for the world to see brings a feeling of vulnerability and a fear that people will ridicule the character.

This fear may stem from the fact that representation is often inaccurate. For example, the plot of the Netflix series Elite is centered around a Muslim girl who breaks from her shell to a new world of freedom by no longer wearing her hijab or following her faith. This creates the false impression that hijabis and Muslim girls see their religion as a cage that they want to break from, portraying Islam in an infinitely negative light..

The Marvels may have missed the mark for some in terms of entertainment, as the movie follows the same formulaic plot that Marvel has been using for their new, young characters for years. However, Kamala Khan is a refreshing example of exceptional Muslim representation that will hopefully act as a model for future films.

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About the Contributor
Imaan Ansari, Photographer
She/Her Imaan is a junior at Lowell. When she isn’t taking photos, she is bouldering, building legos, eating pineapple and olive pizza, and listening to laufey.

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