Ms. Marvel Review: Iman Vellani Shines as Kamala Khan

Ms. Marvel
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Ms. Marvel is the latest Marvel Studios series headed to Disney+. The live-action series follows the adventures of Kamala Khan, a Muslim Pakistani-American teenage superhero in the city of New Jersey. We were able to check out the first two episodes of the series, and so far Ms. Marvel has been absolutely terrific. Star Iman Vellani is full of personality, the family dynamic is wholesome with a relatable family drama that I can relate to, the supporting cast members are amusing, and there’s enough mystery for a spellbinding journey.

Kamala’s School and Family Life

Kamala Khan wants to fit in high school, but she’s having a tough time except for a few friends. She’s also having trouble with her schoolwork since she loves to doodle and daydream. The one thing that Kamala is obsessing over is the Avengers, especially Captain Marvel. The protagonist has plans to attend AvengerCon in her cosplay along with her friend Bruno, played by Matt Lintz. There’s one problem, her parents forbid her to go since her mother fears the influences of the “bad kids.”

Ms. Marvel (L-R): Mohan Kapur as Yusuf, Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Saagar Shaikh as Aamir, and Nimra Bucha as Najma. Photo by Daniel McFadden.
(L-R): Mohan Kapur as Yusuf, Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Saagar Shaikh as Aamir, and Nimra Bucha as Najma. Photo by Daniel McFadden.

For the majority of the first two episodes, the series explores Kamala’s school and family life. Because it doesn’t jump straight into the superhero action, we get to spend some time with her friends and family, and we really get to see who Kamala is as a person. These moments include her eating at the dinner table with her family and going to a mosque with her Muslim friend, Nakia, played by Yasmeen Fletcher. It’s just the right amount of mystery, drama and adventure.

Iman Vellani Shines

Marvel Studios found a winner with Iman Vellani, who brings the charm and is a refreshing addition to the Marvel heroes lineup. She conveys an excited and artistic teenager, and her joy and enthusiasm are infectious. An example of this is when Kamala designs her cosplay with the help of her friend, Bruno. She is thrilled and daydreams about winning the cosplay contest.

I have to praise the actors who play Kamala’s parents, Mohan Kapur as Yusuf Khan and Zenobia Shroff as Muneeba Khan. They act as the “antagonist” since they are strict about Kamala’s whereabouts. But there’s nuance where you can see how much they care about her through their performances.

Ms. Marvel
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Kamala and Her Powers

Things start to change for Kamala once she discovers a family heirloom that gives her superpowers. With this special bracelet, she can create physical energy like a giant hand or levitating steps. There are some scenes where she gets to become a superhero, yet I’m drawn more to her family and school struggles.

So far we haven’t seen a villain yet, and I’m okay with that since I’m invested in exploring this journey with Kamala as she deals with her new powers and her personal life. Where did the bracelet come from? Why does it have cosmic-like powers? What is up with Kamala’s grandmother? These are all questions that have us hooked on finding out.

Final Reaction

Iman Vellani is charming and likable as Kamala Khan, and her story is relatable as a teenager just trying to fit in. The show so far feels like a coming-of-age story with superhero elements sprinkled in, and I’m okay with that since her teenage struggles are entertaining. Ms. Marvel’s powers are intriguing as well as the bracelet’s mysterious origins. Although it’s a bit different from her usual comic book powers, there are still some similarities here and there while feeling new.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

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