There's no denying that films and television shows are coming thicker and faster than ever in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a total of eight projects releasing alone this year which might actually seem like a slow year for the studio with nine released last year. It could be argued that fatigue is starting to creep into proceedings with hours of television to be kept on top of now as well as films however, with Ms. Marvel, the MCU has a vibrant new show on its hands to introduce another superhero to the mix and, if the first two episodes are anything to go by, it's going to be a fun and exciting exploration of culture and identity.

We are introduced to Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a Pakistani-American high school student growing up in Jersey City. Equipped with an oversized imagination and a love for superheroes, Captain Marvel in particular, Kamala worries about fitting in both at school and home. After coming into the possession of superpowers that enable her to be just like the heroes she looks up to, Kamala begins a journey that will shape the rest of her life in a way she couldn't possibly imagine.

Phase Four is where Marvel Studios have embraced diversity and representation more than ever before in their long and successful run since the franchise's inception back in 2008. Yes, it's taken a fair bit of time to get to this point but it's always a great thing to have other cultures see themselves represented in the biggest franchise going right now. In the case of Ms. Marvel, Kamala is a Muslim of Pakistani heritage so seeing the main character of an MCU property attend prayers at a mosque and South Asian culture taking centre stage is something that should be celebrated. It's not something that's so in your face that it becomes distracting from the show's narrative either, other aspects of Kamala's life interwoven brilliantly to make her a really compelling new addition to the roster. 

Inventive visuals help maintain a fresh feel to proceedings, texts between characters displayed in a fun manner and colourful animations giving us an insight into the teen angst Kamala faces in the midst of becoming a superhero. It's a very funny show too, Kamala's escapism with a brief dance number through her house a nice touch while her parents serve up a number of laughs as they try to protect their daughter from the dangers of society, even if they do tend to go a little overboard. There's clearly going to be more serious moments in the show as it goes on, the first two episodes not exactly laden with them, yet it's showed so far that they'll be handled with plenty of importance to form a solid balance of comedy and drama.
Part of what makes Ms. Marvel such an incredibly likable show is the ensemble cast it possesses, Iman Vellani herself an absolute breath of fresh air to the MCU as Kamala Khan. Interviews in the build up to the debut of the show prove she's a die-hard fan of the franchise and that enthusiasm really does exude from Vellani's performance, bringing a real sense of levity to the character. When the show finshes its six episode run and Kamala makes another appearance in The Marvels next year, she's sure to put so much of a mark on the franchise that you wouldn't be able to imagine anyone else playing.

Zenobia Shroff and Mohan Kapur shine as Kamala's parents, the latter getting a moment that really did bring a major laugh from me. Matt Lintz and Yasmeen Fletcher get the fun roles as Kamala's high school friends but there's no one aside from Iman Vellani who gets too much to sink their teeth into with their respective characters so it'll be exciting to see what the show has in store for other members of the cast.

As someone whose only knowledge of Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel comes from the recent, much maligned Avengers game, this is an exciting and easily accessible introduction to a new character that will be lighting up screens in the future no doubt. I know there's been some backlash to the changes to her powers for the show but in the context of it all, they do work fine and will only be explored further which I can't wait to see.


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