**This is a spoiler-free review.**
Disney+ is bringing in the next generation of MCU heroes to the forefront, starting with Ms. Marvel, featuring Iman Vellani in the title role. The series follows the adventures of Kamala Khan (Vellani), a Muslim American growing up in NJ. Kamala is an avid superhero fan and gamer, who’s all-time favorite hero is Captain Marvel. Like some teens, she has a hard time fitting in at school, and sometimes even fitting in at home with her strict parents, until she gains superpowers all her own. Her powers unlock a world Kamala has only dreamed of, paving the way for her to become the MCU’s newest hero, Ms. Marvel.
Now, I was never hugely familiar with the character from the comic books, as I stopped reading on any type of regular basis long before Kamala Khan came along. However, within the first ten minutes of the first episode, she instantly became a favorite MCU character. Vellani is a natural in the lead role, effortlessly holding her own opposite actors twice her age. Her version of Kamala comes across super relatable, and Vellani genuinely beams like she’s just happy to be in every scene she’s a part of.
The story moves at a brisk pace, but never talks down to the audience, with background and exposition kept to a minimum. Kudos to writers Bisha K. Ali and Sana Amanat for keeping the story very grounded, staying true to the extremely authentic experience of a young Muslim American girl living in modern times. The supporting cast does a good job of standing out just enough to not blend into the background, so you care about what’s happening with them as well. Standouts include Matt Lintz and Yasmeen Fletcher as Kamala’s besties Bruno and Nakia, respectfully. Disney doesn’t skimp on the special effects, and it shows. Led by FuseFX, who also handled the effects on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, post-production work was also done by Digital Domain, Framestore, and Method Studios.
The one criticism –and it’s a barely noticeably one as you’re watching– is the change in origin and her power-set. There is no mention early on about Inhumans, and the way that her abilities are explained from the onset seems a bit too convenient. However, this may all be cleared up in the remaining episodes of the season.
All in all, Ms. Marvel is a delight from start to finish. The character, and the actress, is a beacon of hope and light, which is sorely needed following the events of…well, pretty much everything since Avengers: Infinity War. It has a very Spider-Man: Homecoming vibe to it, with a back-to-basics approach to storytelling. If Ms. Marvel is the future of the MCU, I’m all in.
Ms. Marvel premieres Wednesday, June 8th on Disney+, with new episodes dropping every Wednesday thereafter.