The Avengers have developed legions of loyal fans, both on-screen and off. If you thought you were the ultimate fan, wait until you meet Kamala Khan.
In the premiere of Ms. Marvel, we see a lot about superheroes but we see them through the lens of an everyday person. Kamala, played by talented newcomer Iman Vellani, may daydream about being a hero, but she isn’t one…yet.
Instead, we see her struggle with the usual teen woes. She’s not all that popular at school. Her parents are on her case about not taking things seriously (her daydreams show up as literal cartoons that pop up in the scenes).
And worst of all, she failed her driver’s test. It’s not exactly the galaxy at stake, but to Kamala, it’s almost as catastrophic because it means she can’t go to Avengers Con anymore.
Her schemes to get there, accompanied by her best friend Bruno (Matt Lintz), lead to a madcap adventure ending with the discovery of her power set.
Although her story does mirror Peter Parker’s in broad strokes, the premiere does a great job of illustrating who Kamala is and the world she lives in.
Kamala is Pakistani-American and Muslim. While the fangirl nerd part is a little bit more run-of-the-mill, the show isn’t afraid to demonstrate how Kamala is othered by her peers and community for her culture (at one point a teacher mispronounces her name).
At the same time, Kamala doesn’t necessarily share the more conservative values of her parents who balk at the idea of her going to a party (convention) and wearing tight clothes (her Captain Marvel cosplay). Zenobia Shroff has the usually thankless role of the nagging mother, but she also brings a lot of comedy to the role.
Before she even gets powers, Kamala is questioning her identity and how she fits into the world.
“It’s not really the brown girls from Jersey City who save the world.”Kamala Khan
Iman Vellani does a great job playing a teenager at a crossroads while still bringing plenty of fun and energy to the role. With great power comes great responsibility, but as of now, Kamala is still an excitable teenager.
Although Kamala does get her powers by the end of the episode, it’s her relationship with her family that’s central to the first episode. It’s her family ties that give her her powers.
Looking for something “extra” to add to her Captain Marvel cosplay, Kamala takes a bangle sent from her grandmother to her mother. From the moment her mom insists it’s “just junk,” it’s clear there’s something more to come.
When putting it on causes Kamala to seem to be temporarily transported into another plane or dimension and shoot off constructs of light during the costume contest, it raises A LOT of questions.
While in the comics Kamala’s powers come from being activated by a Terrigen bomb, that’s not the case here. The mystery of the bracelet and why it gives the wearer this power is a huge one to solve.
By the end of the first episode, Kamala has already rescued one person using her new power to build constructs, but she has no answers about what’s actually happening. It’s a new mystery to reel the viewers in on an otherwise low-stakes show.
It’s All Connected (Again)
After taking a break from MCU connections with Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel comes bearing tons of Easter eggs and references for fans to revel in.
These references aren’t just an excuse to connect the projects. It’s based on what Kamala is most interested in as well.
Of course, she’s going to the inaugural Avengers Con hosted at Captain America’s old stomping grounds Camp Lehigh. Have you seen her video channel dedicated to the Avengers?
When a video of her powers goes viral, she draws the attention of the United States Department of Damage Control. This leads to the show’s post-credit scene where we are reunited with Agent Cleary (Arian Moayed), who last appeared in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
With Ms. Marvel set to appearing the upcoming film The Marvels, you can bet on this show staying connected to the broader MCU.
- Scott Lang having a podcast and it being the reason everyone knows about Captain Marvel is my favorite post-Blip detail to date. If he doesn’t have Luis on there too I’d be shocked.
- I really hope Kamala’s dad gets to meet the Hulk one day.
- We all saw that look… What are we calling the Kalama-Bruno ship name?
- There are a lot of comic Easter eggs but one that stood out to me was the Edison Electric sign. Could it be more than a coincidence? It also reminded me a lot of the Roxxon Building in Cloak & Dagger.
- Watching Ms. Marvel makes me mourn the cancellation of Naomi all the more.
Ms. Marvel airs Wednesdays on Disney Plus.