The Marvels saw Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, and Kamala Khan team up for an adventure like Marvel has never done before. And despite the continuous backlash it got even before it was released, it spoke to many of us here at Fangirlish. It showed us that found family can literally be found anywhere, that communication is fundamental, and there’s nothing wrong with fangirling. So please join us as we break down the team-up, individual journeys, family, villains, and the future of the MCU!
1. Describe The Marvels in 3 words.
Lyra: Fangirl, communication, cats.
Lizzie: Heart, fun, women.
Ashley T.: Friendship, Fun, Flerkens.
Rachel: Teamwork, responsibility, and “Memory”
Ashley W.: Authentic, entertaining, heartfelt
2. What was your favorite part of the dynamic between Carol, Monica, and Kamala?
Lyra: Personally, I think my favorite part of their dynamic is that they actually communicated with each other. A lot of what we see in movies when it comes to plot points is grounded in the fact that people don’t talk to each other or properly communicate. But gasp, this movie actually had the core people talk to each other. And there were still problems outside of that communication and sometimes the communication helped them solve those things. Like even Carol apologizing to Kamala for the way that she spoke to her. That is acknowledging someone else’s experience and taking accountability. And it made me love all of them even more.
Lizzie: How real it felt. It was a little awkward at first, as it had to be because Monica and Carol hadn’t talked in years and Kamala didn’t really know Carol or Monica. But it grew and the movie gave it space to do so, while also allowing the characters a chance to apologize for their mistakes and learn from them. So often entertainment tends to hold characters up to impossible standards, and The Marvels didn’t do that, it just asked to characters to try to be better going forward. It was absolutely refreshing to see, especially considering so much of the narrative around women tends to paint their relationships as catty and immature. Not here!
Ashley T.: I loved watching our three gals work together and become friends. We went from “We’re not a team,” to watching them sync up and work together. Plus the dynamic was so fun! I wish we’d gotten a little more of Carol and Monica working out their emotions, but I did like that Monica nipped the whole “Lt. Trouble,” and “I used to change your diapers,” in the bud. Carol learned from her mistake very quickly, especially when she and Monica had to help shepherd Kamala as a fledgling superhero. Kamala is the real heart of the team, helping Carol and Monica look past their differences and to the task at hand.
Rachel: The thing I enjoyed most about Carol, Monica, and Kamala together was the way their interactions helped each other grow and move forward. Carol had to learn to take responsibility for her past actions, and Monica helped her do that, which in turn set a good example for Kamala to follow as she grows up. Monica, meanwhile, had to face the trauma of her mother’s death from a new angle when her Aunt Carol is suddenly back in her life. For Kamala, this whole experience seemed to be a good lesson in respecting her powers in a more mature way. I love seeing all these female characters bond and make us care about them.
Ashley W.: Each hero is great on their own, but this movie showed how they can be awesome parts of what make up an even more marvelous (pun intended) whole. Carol is knowledgeable and determined. Monica is intelligent and caring. Kamala is enthusiastic and passionate. They embraced these differences and used them to complement and learn from one another.
At the start, they don’t know how to be a team, which is completely understandable. Even then, you never see any of them trying to dismiss one another. The power switching may have forced them to cooperate, but, with time, you can see how fall into a natural rhythm and develop an innate chemistry because of their willingness to accept one another for who they are and what they offer.
3. There was plenty of fangirling coming from Kamala. What did you think of it? How does it compare to other fangirling like Peter with Tony?
Lyra: I think Kamala’s fangirling was the biggest fuck you to all those people who invalidate the experiences of young women. Because anytime young women or women in general like something, we’re made fun of. You don’t see anybody making fun of the guys with their fantasy football bets. But if a woman wants to go and see Taylor Swift or Beyoncé decked out in their best outfit, we get shit for that. And in The Marvels, Kamala was allowed to unapologetically be a fan girl without being made fun of. She has her hero just like Peter Parker did when he met Tony Stark. And it feels like leveling the playing field and treating these young superheroes with respect while also showing that they are a different generation who grew up with superheroes saving the day.
Lizzie: It was good. It was fine. More than that, it was understandable. Like, she grew up with Captain Marvel being a hero. And not just any hero, either. The hero who very literally helped save half the universe. We’re not talking about small things here. We tend to forget what it is for the younger generation to very literally meet the people they’ve looked up to, people who have made a difference in their lives. How would we behave in their shoes? We need the actors and fangirl, imagine meeting actual superheroes.
I think a lot of the Kamala criticism is rooted in misogyny, so I’m not even going to entertain it. Kamala wasn’t just fine, she was a breath of fresh air. She always has been. I love her. I hope she gets to meet Peter Parker – I know we all have to remember him first for that, but you know. That would be pretty cool. Their collective energy would fix the multiverse, or something.
Ashley T.: I had forgotten how refreshing it is to watch Kamala fangirl. She’s very quickly become one of my favorite characters in the MCU because she makes me feel seen. Flannel, superhero tees, jeans, and Chucks? You’ve just described my closet. Fangirling super hard over your favorite hero? Check. Family who are caring but overbearing even if you have superpowers and have to go save the world? Yep.
As for comparisons between the guys fanboying over each other, I feel like Kamala’s fangirling far exceeds theirs. It’s sincere, heartwarming, and cranked up to eleven. But she also learns to let Carol be who she is and to remember that even though she’s heroic, brave, and has incredible powers, she’s still human. That’s a good lesson for all of us with our heroes, be they superhuman or not.
Rachel: I thought Kamala’s fangirling was very relatable and cute. Let’s face it, we’d all fawn over our fave superheroes if they really existed and we got to meet them, right? Iman Vellani just made it adorable and not annoying. The “Oh, captain, my captain” line and then the way Monica looked at her when she said it? Great stuff. In terms of comparing it to other MCU fangirling, I think Kamala’s particular brand of fangirling shows how young she still is, even compared to Peter. It’s going to be nice to see Kamala as part of the MCU for a long time to come.
Ashley W.: Kamala being an unapologetic fangirl is everything. I absolutely loved it and her. As a fellow fangirl myself, how could I not? Her fangirling was so genuine and fun. It was everything wonderful about being a fangirl. She wore Captain Marvel T-shirts. She was in awe about Carol having been in her family’s house. She went on and on when she was (re)introducing herself to her favorite superhero on said superhero’s spaceship. She even got excited about encountering Nick Fury (when has anyone ever been excited to see Nick Fury? Haha.) and put aside her freak out about being in space to do so. It’s got to be the first time anyone’s been excited to see him!
What made the “Oh captain, my captain” line great, in particular, was that it was embarrassing and hilarious but so real! She’s not keeping her cool whatsoever about getting to experience up close her beloved Captain Marvel at work, and that’s so valid. I’ve always loved Phil Coulson’s and Scott Lang’s fanboy moments over Captain America/Steve Rogers, because I, as a Captain America fangirl, relate to those scenes so much. But Kamala’s fandom really speaks to Marvel fans in a way other in-universe fangirling/fanboying hasn’t. Kamala’s fangirling feels like a sincere reflection of Marvel fans and a form of encouragement to fandom in general to (positively) embrace and show love for the things you love.
And an important aspect of Kamala being a fangirl that was nice to see is her recognition of letting Carol being a person instead of this renowned figure she put on a pedestal.
4. The Marvels got to explore who Carol is after she started getting her memories back. How does this movie compare to Captain Marvel for you?
Lyra: I’ll be the first to admit that even though I really liked Captain Marvel, there was a disconnect with Carol. Watching The Marvels gave me huge perspective on who she was and who she is trying to become. Carol will never be the woman she was before that fateful explosion that gave her her powers. And in this movie she’s trying to shake off what she was taught, which was to not let emotions get in the way and lock yourself down so it doesn’t mess with your mission. In this movie we got to see Carol being awkward, funny, sweet, and understanding. She had depth and every interaction she had with Monica or Kamala felt like found family helping her come out of her shell a little bit more. And I want to see more of her in the MCU in general.
Lizzie: I think The Marvels was the necessary step forward, but I for one really loved Captain Marvel. Her “I have nothing to prove to you” moment was A THING. There’s been a lot of discourse about Wonder Woman, but I think that moment also had a lot to do about the way superhero stories about women are told. So I have a soft spot for that story and I also believe that without that moment we don’t get the Carol we’re getting now, one that is okay with being soft, one the story has allowed vulnerability. So, I just really love the growth and the characterization and I feel really lucky that we’ve gotten to experience this version of Carol Danvers.
Ashley T.: I think The Marvels does a lot to give more depth to Carol’s character. Carol has always felt she’s had to earn respect and maybe even love from everyone around her. I think having her mess up on a grand scale is a really interesting choice. But also reminding her that she is loved more than she can imagine gives her the courage to do the right thing.
Rachel: I think this film feels like the natural next step for Carol after Captain Marvel and her brief appearances in Avengers films. To really get to know who she is, it was time for an extended period with someone from her past before her powers, like Monica, and someone who puts into perspective where she fits into the superhero world, like Kamala. The three of them together was essentially a recipe for Carol’s character development.
Ashley W.: The Marvels definitely adds depth to Carol Danvers. This latest film showcases more of who she is as a person, as a human being. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel was about showcasing this powerful being and the origin behind that hero. Marvel does a good job and essential work by using her previously lost memories to help highlight what kind of person Carol is and wants to be. But, beyond that, Monica and Kamala help demonstrate who Carol is as a person through their differences and interactions. I loved Captain Marvel, and it was enough to instantly make the hero one of my favorites when I first watched it. The Marvels helps solidify that ranking for me while using her humanity as a reminder that her heroism isn’t solely a result of her powers.
5. This movie also gave us an opportunity to explore Monica’s grief at losing her mother and her aunt. How did this movie do in exploring this subject in comparison to other movies?
Lyra: After the actions of Thanos, I feel like the MCU has swiftly moved past those 5 years where people just disappeared. And I feel like this movie gave Monica an opportunity to voice some of her grief and really speak her truth in the fact that she needed Carol. Not just that, that family doesn’t give up on each other that easily or when things get hard. They work at it. Monica was able to work at it when it came to being on this mission with Carol and getting to know her as an adult. But outside of that, Monica was able to define the kind of woman she wanted to be on her own terms. And it’s going to be interesting to see the next stage of her healing now that she is faced with a woman who has her mother’s likeness but isn’t her.
Lizzie: This is actually an idea I don’t think the movie explores nearly as well as it could – mainly because I don’t think it has time, and I fully believe they want to come back to this at some other point in time. I also think the MCU has had a lot of projects focused on grief and they didn’t necessarily want The Marvels to be one of those, so they shied away from giving this part focus. But there’s a lot to explore here, because though the movie kinda gives us Monica coming to terms with some of her grief, it’s never a linear thing, and considering where she is at the end of the movie, well …it feels like she’s going to have to deal with it again.
Ashley T.: I wish we’d gotten to spend more time exploring this idea, but I’ve got to give massive props to Teyonah Parris for doing a lot with a little. Monica is quick and to the point with Carol, telling her how much it hurt to not have her hero auntie around growing up. I think that directness comes from Maria, and it’s that directness that Carol respects. Kamala hugging her immediately and encouraging Carol to jump in the group hug when they saw what happened with Maria I think really helped to break the ice between Monica and Carol. I think whenever we get Monica back from the other side, we’ll see some deeper reconciliation there.
Also DANG, we got Maria back as Binary?! And did anyone notice besides me that she was wearing the bangles?! Or at least I think she is. Guess I’ll have to go watch it again to find out. Sorry, not sorry.
Rachel: I think this film touched on Monica’s grief in a subtle way that fits in with the broader story they were trying to tell. Like Ashley, I would’ve gladly accepted more of it. And it seems like we’ll get that in the future, given where Monica winds up at the end of this film. I’ll happily watch that, with Teyonah Parris performing it.
Ashley W.: Monica’s grief over the loss of her mother feels much more relatable and real compared to other depictions of grief in the MCU. It was mostly subtle and quiet. But it was also tough and awkward at times — like when dealing with her mother’s loss in relation to her Aunt Carol. That overdue conversation with Carol helped escalate healing that only that particular talk could provide. And bringing Kamala into the picture just as emotional support helped ease the tensions by being someone to bring them all together.
That resolution feels like it made it easier for Monica to make that sacrifice in the end. She’s always going to miss her mom, but she has found peace with her Aunt Carol, which aids in accepting her mom’s death. Monica isn’t leaving Carol behind with unanswered questions or lingering disappointment. But, of course, now Monica is left in a universe where Maria Rambeau is still alive but not her mother. So it’ll be interesting to see how her grief resurfaces moving forward.
6. This movie had plenty of ridiculous moments that fit and worked. What was your favorite?
Lyra: I think my favorite part of the silliness of this movie came when Carol revealed she was a princess in a political marriage on a planet that sang for communication. From the moment that Kamala clocked that Carol was acting weird, to the moment where they were dancing on the streets and Monica was just winded, this felt natural like these people had been traveling with each other for ages. And then the dress…can we talk about the dress? Because if Carol doesn’t want to save the world anymore she has a blossoming career in fashion.
Lizzie: The Flerkens! I’m not a cat person, I really am not, but I’d let one of them eat me and transport me, not gonna let. Sounds like a perfect way to space travel.
Ashley T.: My goodness, I love it when comic book movies remember that comics are WILD and SILLY and FUN! We got so much wild stuff in here and it all works! I’ve seen it twice so far and it’s still making me laugh. I laugh the hardest at The Flerken Feeding Frenzy™️, but “He’s bilingual” I’d probably the best deadpan line I’ve heard in a Marvel movie since “He’s adopted.” Excellent comedic timing from Brie Larson there.
Rachel: Yes, the Flerken round-up was hilarious! Goose the Flerken was a genius addition to Captain Marvel so why not multiply that and give us a herd of them? And the whole sequence is set to “Memory” from the Broadway musical Cats? I mean, come ON, that’s a hoot! Marvel is rarely so tongue-in-cheek and it completely works here.
Ashley W.: Rachel mentioned it already, but the Flerken herding scene with “Memory” from the musical Cats is easily my favorite part of the entire movie. As someone who loves Marvel and musical theatre, how could it not be?! And I even say this as a musical theatre fan who isn’t a Cats or Andrew Lloyd Webber person. That said, The Marvels using “Memory” as the music for that scene is easily the best use of that song. I was cackling so hard during this scene while watching the movie, and I probably annoyed the heck out of everyone else at my showing, because I couldn’t calm down. And I won’t apologize for it. Instead, I just feel bad for everyone who didn’t understand who brilliant of a scene that was because of the song choice.
7. In comparison to other movies, how does this dynamic break the mold for the MCU?
Lyra: I think that The Marvels made it even more blatant that the MCU has a problem when it comes to women. It should not have taken this long for us to get a movie like this where the core three women are the heroes and there are no men in sight that they’re arguing about or contemplating if they’re in love with. It was just women kicking ass and saving the day. It also made me feel really sad for the people who call the MCU the M-She-U. We’ve had like 30 MCU movies with male white leads. If we could relate to those movies with no problem, then incels can sit down and relate to this movie with no problem.
Lizzie: I don’t think the movie was trying to break the mold, and in a way that’s what works about it for me. It was just a fun, superhero movie, directed by a woman that happened to star three women. It’s just that we live in a world where that is, apparently, a big deal – one that merits a thousand thinkpieces and dudebros crying about stuff. But the movie was just fun, it wasn’t even groundbreaking by MCU standards, it was just a fun romp through space with three interesting superheroes – and sure, some of the backstory came from the shows, but no one was that confused. If people wanted to get it, they could have gotten it.
Ashley T.: This is a superhero film directed by a woman, with three women leads, and its primary audience is women. The women were frickin’ allowed to be women! As a woman who’s had a near lifelong love affair with comic books and superheroes, I had no idea how much I needed that until I saw it. I felt so emotionally seen by the film. I found myself relating to each of our leads in different ways. When they are working to coordinate their powers and switching on Carol’s ship, I felt like I got invited to a sleepover with three of my favorite superheroes. It was fun. I can’t wait to see it again.
Rachel: Obviously, it’s all about girl power, baby! In front of and behind the camera. And not only three female leads and a female director but a female villain as well. We haven’t talked about Dar-Benn enough. Zawe Ashton was great. All of this woman-centric storytelling should have happened in the MCU before now and it should happen more in films in general.
Ashley W.: The Marvels made it clear that women have a place in the MCU — whether that’s onscreen, offscreen, or behind the scenes. Women-led stories in Marvel are worthwhile and just a really fun, great time! As Ashley T. said, it did feel like getting invited to a sleepover with your favorite superheroes, and what’s not to love about that? The energy of the leading trio was incredibly infectious because they had such tremendous chemistry. The narrative itself felt natural and true, which is telling of having women tell stories about women.
8. What do you think comes next for the MCU and these groups of heroes as a whole?
Lyra: For a long time I’ve been trying to understand what direction the MCU is going in and this movie has given me a better understanding than any of the movies or TV shows. It’s the changing of the guard. Because the first round of Avengers was the standard. Nobody came before them. And all of these new superheroes grew up in the world protected by superheroes. They’re going to be a little brighter, goofier, and have a different understanding of the world in comparison to Iron Man, Black Widow, or Hawkeye. And that might bother some people. But so what? A new generation always comes in. If what we know with Kang is right around the corner, we’re going to need all the brilliant young minds to think of different ways to defeat this big bad.
Lizzie: I think the new generation is coming, for sure. And it’s about time. If this and Loki don’t set up the Young Avengers, then …what even is the MCU going forward. And honestly, that’s about as exciting a thing as I’ve seen from the MCU in ages. The latest MCU projects have been a little eh, and yet the new generation seems exciting, so perhaps that’s exactly what we need. Give me Kamala and Kate, give me Cassie, give me America and Riri. I guess at some point we can invite some boys? Maybe.
Ashley T.: I’m hoping for a Young Avengers team, sooner rather than later. And heck, that one is going to be primarily woman-led. And it looks like it’ll be helmed by Kamala. Can’t imagine a better leader. She’s got the charm and the charisma, but also the heart of a hero. Also, my gal Kamala went to go recruit my gal Kate?! I fangirled so dang hard when they were on screen together. “I heard Ant-man had a daughter.” YES go get Cassie! Can’t wait for all of them to get together. We’re going to figure out how to get Monica back from the other universe, and it looks like the Khans and Carol are all roomies now? I want to watch Carol mentor Kamala. That’s going to be so fun.
Rachel: I think it’s pretty easy to guess that Kamala is going to assemble (*wink*) some heroes to help in the fight against Kang. I’m interested to see Monica’s journey now and if she’ll somehow make it back to our universe to be involved in that fight. I’m looking forward to Carol in a mentor role as well. And I have to admit I squealed a little when Beast popped up in the mid-credits scene. Just like Professor X in Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, they keep putting X-Men in alternate universes so it’s only a matter of time before they come to ours right? That has to be coming.
Ashley W.: For a while now, it’s been looking like Marvel has been teasing a Young Avengers team. Kamala recruiting Kate Bishop — a la Nick Fury recruiting Iron Man, which was so fitting and wonderful — seems to further back up that theory. Given how much the MCU has expanded just within the main timeline alone, getting a more concrete idea of what’s next for Kamala, Kate Bishop, as well as Cassie Lang is exciting.
Regarding Carol, what’s next for her is a lot less clear. However, leading up to the film’s release, Marvel seemed to be pushing the narrative of Carol being an “Avenger” a lot. So this could be a sign that she’ll be the next leader of the Avengers, which makes a lot of sense. She has a lot of experience both on Earth and in space and now a bit of insight into different universes. Plus, Marvel Comics nowadays are becoming more and more like the MCU. To an extent, the characters and stories in the comics are reflective of and influenced by the movies and shows. The biggest example of that yet is Kamala being revealed to be a mutant in the comics, where she was originally introduced as just an Inhuman. In the newest Avengers comics run, Carol has taken the lead on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happened in the MCU.
I never thought Monica would be a key factor in bringing the X-Men into the MCU. But that wild but phenomenal mid-credits scene sure makes it look that way. In tandem with being with that universe’s Maria Rambeau, it’ll be very intriguing to see how that plays out.
9. What is one thing not brought up by any of these questions that you want to talk about?
Lyra: The Prince. 😲❤️ I would like more please!
Lizzie: The X-Men are coming! And I mean, we knew that. But they are coming. And I hope they are done justice this time. I have a list of gripes about a mile long with the older X-Men movies. So, please. Please.
Ashley T.: FRAKKIN’ BEAST! Kelsey Grammar being cast as Beast was the one redeeming thing about X-Men 3: The Last Stand so I gasped when he appeared on screen. That was really unexpected. X-Men is coming y’all!
Also, my only real complaint about the film is that I would like more time with Dar-Benn. Zawe Ashton is awesome with the little she’s given and it was super cool to watch her face-off with The Marvels. Also, the best line in the film comes from the very brief appearance we got from Valkyrie: “You can stand tall without standing alone.” I think that sums up the story well. Also, I want Valkyrie’s suit, dang it. I’m going to be seeing this film as often as I can while it’s in theaters.
Rachel: Since I’ve mentioned everything else, I have to say the singing world where Carol was technically a princess was A TRIP. What a fun idea. I’d like to somehow see it again in the future.
Ashley W.: I’m going to be thinking of those post-credits scenes for a long while, and the latter of them will absolutely lead to a Fox X-Men movie marathon. But also, more insight/background on Aladna would be very welcome. More time there would be great as well, but I could see how that’d be tough to do and how it could get to be too much. However, I would like to know if Aladna is fine. Like, they still have their oceans and survived, right?!