She's Their Biggest Fan
New York magazine|June 20-July3, 2022
A Marvel-worshipping show about a Marvel-worshipping teen that somehow rings true.
By Roxana Hadadi

WHAT STAGE OF CAPITALISM is it when the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gotten so big that its latest content is about worshipping itself? (“Economists, assemble!”) And how pleasant a surprise is it that Ms. Marvel, despite being a product shaped by that self-adoration, is actually a pretty good time? Very!

The six-episode Disney+ miniseries about Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a Pakistani American Muslim teenager who discovers she has superpowers, is a vivid reminder that once upon a time, before they became the monoculture, these stories were primarily for adolescents. It has been a long while since the MCU had a proper coming-of-age tale— as soon as Tom Holland’s Spider-Man met Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, his youth was over—but that’s exactly what Ms. Marvel seems to be. Driver’s-license tests, college applications, first crushes: In the show’s opening episodes, the high-schoolset high jinks are so far a refreshing return to small-scale storytelling, with production design that incorporates daydreams during class and doodles in notebook margins. Yes, it’s odd that these high-schoolers reference only other Disney IP, like Darth Vader and Mulan. But there’s an enthusiasm to Ms. Marvel that feels genuine and is easily sold by Vellani’s winning half-grin.

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