James Gunn’s first live-action project after his return to Marvel Studios and his crowning as the King of DC is a Holiday Special starring Mantis and Drax in their quest to save Christmas.
In a sea of Disney+ shows and films, it’s important to be a special. The special format itself was launched with the arrival of Werewolf By Night, instantly gaining praise across the board from fans and critics alike. This special like Michael Giacchino’s Werewolf By Night is a detour from the MCU, not staying with the classical MCU tone, but instead embracing its own genre-specific tone. While the previous one was a classic 60s Monster film, The Guardians Special is a classic Christmas special filled with great songs, Christmas cheer, emotions, and humor to make your heart feel warm.
The special starts like all classic Christmas specials do with some animation to set up the story, as shown in the trailers something ruins Christmas for Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill. Mantis feels bad about this and recruits Drax on a duo adventure off to Los Angeles to give Peter a gift of a lifetime in the form of his childhood hero Kevin Bacon, who inspired him in his dance-off to save the universe in Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.1. The special gives us a compelling setup and builds up the family dynamic that we have known to love with the Guardians. It’s what made the Guardians special in the first place, they only have each other to care for. mantis cares for peter and feels heartbroken that peter can’t relive his childhood traditions, especially after a surprising revelation early on in the special which makes her feel guilty. A better name for the special would be “Mantis and Drax’s Christmas Adventure” since the rest of the Guardians are barely involved. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it allows the story to be more focused and organized, however, it does leave one wondering how much more fun we could have had if Groot and Rocket were more involved than just one scene.
Another great aspect of this special is that even though it’s separated from anything in the greater MCU, it still moves the MCU narrative forward with some great worldbuilding which surprisingly even full seasons of previous Disney Plus shows have failed to do. We get to see what The Guardians have been up to since dropping off Thor in Thor: Love And Thunder. Gamora is still nowhere to be seen, the Guardians have found themselves a new pastime in Knowhere, and Groot has grown trunk and root.
Pom Klementieff’s Mantis is the MVP of this film, her comedic timing is perfect, and she genuinely seems heartbroken and is given all the time to shine. Dave Bautista is as lovable/annoying as always, giving us his classic Drax. The headline character, however, is Kevin Bacon who gets a perfect MCU introduction and is an integral part of the special instead of just acting as a plot device or cameo. He has his own motivations, and his own action set pieces and is given all the time he needs. Along with this, we get a great native Knowherian band who like all specials deliver the opening and final music performances. The final music performance sees Kevin Bacon join them in an amazing and heartwarming performance.
This special is all you need to get back into the Christmas Spirit in spectacular and exciting fashion.
The Guardians of The Galaxy Holiday Special hits Disney Plus Tomorrow on November 25!
The Marvel Cinematic Universe returns to the big screen with the sequel to 2018’s genre-defining Black Panther. A film that introduced the greater world to the idea of Afro-futurism and was defined through Chadwick Boseman’s powerful and iconic portrayal of the character.
A herculean asking
Ryan Coogler has time and time again proved that he is easily in the top bracket of Directors in the industry. This time Coogler didn’t only face the problem of making a sequel to Marvel Studios’ only Best Picture Academy Award nominated film, but also had to respectfully and powerfully take the mantle of the Black Panther forward after the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman in 2019. Chadwick Boseman not only brought to life Black Panther with great power, but also made him a cultural icon. His lovable, charming, wise, and fearless portrayal of the character inspired Billions across the world and brought in a cultural shift in the industry and the MCU. Coogler and Boseman had been friends for years and had equal part in making Black Panther a success, so to first personally deal with the loss of a friend, and then to celebrate him in such a glorious way, while insuring that fans accept this new Black Panther, was a truly herculean ask. I am glad to report that Coogler did all that and more with Wakanda Forever, making an intimate film about a family dealing with the loss of someone so integral to their life and everyone around them’s world, whille providing breathtaking set pieces, action, and a cohesive story with a great villain. But was bringing in Talokan the right call in a film already dealing with so much? It does feel overstuffed at parts, but that is easily forgotten using the film’s dive into emotions, thrills and spectacular action.
“What is love if not grief persevering”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forver embodies this beautiful line by Vision. The film in its entirety is an effective celebration of Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther and an exploration of how much the people around him relied on him and how they get over this loss, making. themselves stronger in the process. It’s a story so intimate and human at it’s core that even amidst this war between these 2 futuristic fictional nations, the film feels grounded and the stakes feel real. Shuri lost her brother who she had always depended on , whose support she needed more than she knew, Angela Bastett’s Queen Ramonda has lost her son, while she deals with a world now turned against her people, Nakia faces the loss of her true irreplacable love, Wakanda faces the loss of their hero and leader, and we the audience feel the very real loss of Chadwick Boseman, the man who stole the world’s hearts with his iconic portrayal of the character. The decision made by marvel to not recast T’Challa makes a lot of sense after viewing the film, every moment when the characters are dealing with their emotions is real, with the cast dealing with the real loss of their friend and leader, and us the audience feeling the loss of someone we had come to admire. The grief and hurt that the entire cast faced can be felt through their performances, as Angela Bastett, Letitia Wright and Lupita Nyong’o give us the performance of their lives. The film, However, doesn’t only rely on this, but only uses it to hook you in, bringing in lots of humor, action and thrill. Giving us a real war between 2 nations, but keeping the motional core of the film alive.
Letitia Wright is still easily the core of the film. She acts as the key to both the emotional core and the fun side of the film. SHe is the balance, and she makes you cheer and cry for her at the same time. Her relationship with Wakanda and her family make you feel what she’s lost, while her relationship with Riri Williams and the Talokans showcases a stronger side of her grief.
What had always surprised me about Wakanda Forever, is why marvel would choose a film which is dedicated to the loss of The Black Panther, to introduce us to a new world. But wow, does Namor and Talokan deliver. Namor’s life is explored and it provides a great mirroring but also contrast to Shuri and Wakanda’s journey. This provides an incredibly compelling setup for the character and makes you even feel scared of him. Namor isn’t going to back down and will do anything for his people, giving us one of the best villains marvel has ever produced. Marvel Studios’ decision to turn Atlantis into Talokan based on Native American culture is a true triumph. The exploration of that culture is done extremely respectfully, thoughtfully and in a way that makes you appreciate the power of these people. The beautiful art, costumes and imagery is amazing to see and is bound to put a smile on your face. Tenoch Huerta’s sheer charm and fierceness propel the character to greater heights.
Quality is Key
Another region where Wakanda Forever shines far above anything in Phase 4 off the MCU is in the generally quality of the visuals, the acting, and the writing. Nearly every shot of the film looks perfect. With Marvel’s recent controversies regarding underpaying VFX artists, and some mediocre visuals in recent projects like She-Hulk and Thor: Love And Thunder, Wakanda Forever brings back the quality we have learned to expect from the studio. The Talokan scenes have all been shot underwater using the technology made by the Avatar: the Way of The Water team and the results are truly stunning. The creativity shown in the way Riri WIlliams’ Iron Heart, Namor and Shuri fight is great to see, and makes sure the film is still fun and thrilling to watch. All of this works amazingly in making the war between Talokan and Wakanda feel real. The sound design and brilliant score by Ludwig Gorranson puctuate the emotional moments perfectly and elevate the action and thrill.
The quality in writing is also unparalleled compared to the rest of Phase 4, and how could it not, as the film begins it becomes clear the headspace Ryan Coogler was in when he wrote the film. His grief could be felt through the character’s discovery of how to deal with this loss and their grief. The exploration of how different people deal with grief is not only beautiful, but also provides a beautiful perspective on the situation, making it about the celebration of the person. It doesn’t feel like T’Challa isn’t in this film because of how crucial he is to everything in it, and by the end you learn to let go and celebrate what you have.
Wakanda Forever is a perfect Celebration of Chadwick’s legacy. A thrilling & exciting spectacle, hooking you in using powerful and intimate exploration of grief. Then takes you on a roller coaster of exhilarating action & drama. The cast pour their hearts out, and so does Ryan Coogler through the script. Sure the film can feel long at times, but the slow moments are needed to deal with the important issues at hand. This takes the sweet spot at Number 6 in my MCU ranking, and Number 1 on films for 2022. In the end the film brings a lot of surprises, heart break, emotion, thrill, all with relentless quality. Angela Bastett for Best Supporting Actress, Letitia Wright Best Actress Lead, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Best Picture.
Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverhits Theaters this Weekend!
A big Thank You to Marvel Studios and the team behind Werewolf By Night for making this early review possible.
Who is the “Werewolf by Night”
No this is not Andrew Garfield’s return to the MCU. Werewolf By Night is a new breed of MCU project inspired by horror films of the 1930s and 1940s, Marvel Studios’ chilling special presentation aims to evoke a sense of dread and the macabre, with plenty of suspense and scares along the way as we explore a new corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The eerie tale follows a secret cabal of monster hunters who—on a dark and somber night— emerge from the shadows and gather at the foreboding Bloodstone Temple following the death of their leader. In a strange and macabre memorial to the leader’s life, the attendees find themselves thrust into a mysterious and deadly competition for a powerful relic—a hunt that will ultimately bring them face to face with a dangerous monster. In the comics Jack Russel gains his Werewolf form due to a curse put on his family using the Darkhold. Jack Russell first appeared in “MarvelSpotlight” #2, in February 1972. The “Werewolf by Night” series of comic books began in September 1972.
Welcome to The Supernatural
From the first few seconds of the special, it is made clear that we’re in for something different to what we’ve previously seen in the MCU. To start off, the usual marvel opening credits start playing, however it has been changed to suit the aesthetic of Werewolf By Night which is in black and white, a great choice by the creative team, and Director Composer Michael Giacchino. Who also scored the current Marvel Studios intro, now alters this score with a new spookier tone.
The special opens by introducing us to Gael Garcia Bernal (Jack Russell). Quickly, setting up the events which are to proceed by introducing us to the competition being held for the mighty and legendary bloodstone, the supposed macguffin of this story. After which we meet the other two standout characters in Monster-hunter Elsa Bloodstone played by Laura Donnelly and her mother Verusa played by Harriet Samson Harris, both of them are portrayed authentically and provide a great conflict and diversion to the main plot.
Similar to previous Marvel projects it drops us in the deep end with no origin story which is fantastic and great to see what the characters can do in these situations. Being shocked by their powers and abilities never gets old. The action scenes were like never before seen by the Marvel team and if it wasn’t in black and white we would say this is the most blood we have seen in any Marvel project to date! As stated by Giacchino the team behind the special expected it to receive an R rating, and believe that they were saved due to the black and white color palete.
The story develops at a decent pace to which from the trailer we learn they are competing for the highly acclaimed Bloodstone which I can only compare it to a hunger games scenario, to which the more the story develops the more we learn about this standalone project and their characters. Man-Thing is also another great addition to the MCU, he’s not what he seems and ends up being a real highlight of the entire event. Giacchino’s intentional campy direction is stellar and does perfectly in balancing the Comedic with the horror, making you laugh and feel scared within the same scene.
Overall the whole team from Werewolf By Night from the actors all the way to the show runners deserve a well deserved applause as this for me is Marvels most daring project to date and will be highly met with great accolades from the fans. I thoroughly enjoyed this new format and hope that Marvel continues to expand its range in different ways but also expands this new supernatural side of the MCU. This is also an amazing Feature Directorial Debut for Giacchino, who undoubtedly will find more director jobs coming his way.
This is a Non-Spoiler review for the first 4 episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The latest addition to Marvel Studios’ Streaming presence. A 9 episode series, trying to bend the superhero genre into a Ally McBeal style law procedural., with a character who on the surface appears to be a derivative of the Hulk.
This series, straight from the get go, makes it clear how wrong that initial assessment is. This isn’t a Hulk action film/series akin to what you may expect from the MCU. This is a lawyer procedural, this is the story of Jennifer Walters learning to accept her new found power as the Hulk. It’s a show that’s very meta and takes you through her struggle in a very comedic way. It also actually feels like a TV Series, every episode can stand alone on its own. Unlike every previous MCU show, it doesn’t feel like a film cut into parts. The extra episodes really give it the time to breathe, and allow us to settle in with the tone and all the characters.
Fun, fun and more fun
If you go into this series expecting a Law comedy series, then you will be delighted. The series really is a comedy all around, it follows the concept of representing dramatic moments with comedy. Think more Thor: Ragnarok and less Thor: Love and Thunder. Tatiana Maslany is absolutely perfect as both Jen and She-hulk, she perfectly balances the comedy with the drama in a way which makes you laugh but also feel for her. The cameos are awesome and the gags in relation to certain Avengers are truly hilarious. The show can also at times be extremely silly fun, which at times can seem like too much, but as soon as it does it reels you back in with great action and new plot points. The fun of the series is that we get to see past MCU characters who have been in projects which are more dramatic, serious and involve the weight of the world or universe. These characters now get to play in a much mire light hearted and small setting, they are put in absurd and hilarious situations where they get to show a different side of themselves, adding another dimension to the character. Another side of the show which shines, is her calling out the assholes of the world, which is bound to make those exact people in the fandom mad.
Another part of the series which I loved was her origin, we finally get an explanation for why the Hulk suddenly shifted back to human form in Shang-Chi. The Hulk is also much better portrayed in the series in comparison to in the 2 previous Avengers films, where he is nothing more than comedic relief. We get an insight into what made him want to merge him and the Hulk together, and for the first time since The Avengers we get a reference to how he became the monstrous Hulk. You can feel the pain of what years of dealing with the Hulk has done to him. He wants to help Jennifer deal with the being the Hulk, to kee her away and safe from the years of pain he had to face. Jen and Bruce have a really fun cousinly relationship. It’s also just really cool and hilarious to see 2 Hulks communicating with each other and pissing each other off. Jen can control She-Hulk from the start but Bruce still feels the need to guide her as he thinks she can’t go back to her old life as a lawyer. Jen has worked hard her entire life and has had to prove herself to become what she is, so she doesn’t want to let go off her life as a lawyer. this causes a conflict between the 2, which could’ve been made extremely dramatic, but instead its done in a comedic way which make everything a lot more fun. There’s also some really curious and potentially game-changing setup for the Hulk’s future.
The show greatly shifts gears after the first episode and delivers on its premise as a law procedural comedy. Jen wants to fit back into her life as a lawyer and ignore the fact that she can Hulk out. But as you’d expect this doesn’t work out for her and she has to deal with being famous as a superhero and still being a lawyer. She has to now deal with the fact that people will now think that her accomplishments are due to her being 6’7 and green, when in reality she put in years of hard work to get to where she is. She is in charge of the superhuman division of her law firm, which instantly provides amazing opportunities, especially in a world as rife with superheroes as the MCU. This gets her in touch with Wong and Abomination, which leads her through settling in to being both She-Hulk and a lawyer. To help her through and be the best friend, we have Ginger Gonzaga’s Nikki, who really is Jen’s number 1 cheerleader throughout.
Every MCU Disney Plus series, with the exception of Moon Knight and Loki, has had a villain problem. It’s not that the villains haven’t been great, it’s been that there hasn’t been enough time to explore their motivations, to learn why they are evil. In every show it has felt as if it’s all been building to a movie’s final act where the villain is finally revealed. This format may work in a film, but it really damages the quality of these shows. With the exception of Loki, every MCU finale has felt like a third act of a film compressed into a 40 minute episode. Which really doesn’t work and detaches the tone of the show. in She-Hulk’s case there is much more time available. Four episodes in the series has only given hints as to what the main conflict of the series could be, but because of there still being more than half the series left it still works. Episode 4 ends by setting up the villain, who we have previously met, and also delivering to us the main conflict of the series. Meaning that now the series can kick into high gear, but there is still ample time to explore the villain.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, has had a great start, exactly capturing the tone and mood of the comics. The series is funny, silly and full of heart, allowing you to see characters in the MCU from a different side. Even though she’s a Hulk, her struggle’s balancing her two sides is quite relatable. Also, get ready for the most fun you’ve had in the MCU. It is is a Law comedy first and foremost, it’s about a woman in her 30s trying to do her best, who’s built herself up as a lawyer but has that entire life shaken up now that she can go green and 6’7. It’s much smaller and it’s quite relatable.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Starts Streaming on Disney Plus Tomorrow!
‘Secret Invasion‘ has been one of Marvel Studios’ most secretive series thus far. However, recently we have been receiving a whole slew of new information on the series through set photos and a new rumor.
Marvel Studios officially announced the series back in December of 2020, with Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, and Cobie Smulders returning to their past MCU roles along with Emilia Clarke, Olivia Coleman, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Christopher McDonald, and Killian Scott making their MCU debut in the series.
Which has left fans speculating, who these actors may be playing. With a particular focus on Emilia Clarke’s character since in the ‘Secret Invasion‘ comic book event, there are many significant women involved. there have been many outrageous rumours from her playing a variant of Agents of S.H.I.E.LD‘s Quake to Abigail Brand, who is a mutant acting as the commander of S.W.O.R.D in the comics continuity. It looks like we may finally have our answer on who she is playing in the series.
A well-known industry insider DanielRPK revealed which character Clarke would be playing. RPK revealed that Clarke would be playing a Skrull by the name of Gi’ah.
Gi’ah was a specialized agent who was picked by the Skrull invasion leaders to breed Klrr who was another Skrull agent. She was specifically picked as she originated from the planet of Warskrulls and it was believed that their children may be born as Warskrulls. A normal Skrull mimics the physical appearace of any other being but a Warskrull can also mimic their powers, making them much more lethal and useful for the invasion. The two eventually developed an actual relationship with each other and raised their three daughters on Earth like a normal American family. they are placed on Earth to become a means of infiltrating Earth’s government to pave the way for the Secret Invasion.
Her role in the series
So what role could Gi’ah play in the series? It is still unknown who the villain of the series is, but if this new report is to be believed it may mean that she is one of the evil skrulls stationed on earth to infiltrate S.H.I.E.LD or S.W.O.R.D. As we know the MCU has first introduced us to the idea of good skrulls with Talos and his family so it is possible that Gi’ah’s origin story is different. However, Gi’ah most definitely seems like she may be a villain of the series, stationed on Earth by whoever is the Top skrull leader, maybe by the Skrull Queen Veranke.
Secret Invasion Starts Streaming Exclusively on Disney Plus Spring 2023!
Thor: Love and Thunder gave us a look at 100s of deities and gods from across many different mythologies. It has now already been more than a month since its release so concept art for the film has started to make its way online. This concept art includes characters both seen in the movie and characters that were once planned to be in there.
The Deity that powers Juggernaut
This latest piece of concept art gives us a look at the deity of Cytorak. He is a deity of pure rage and destructive power and was worshiped as a demon by the primitive people of earth. In the same way Khonshu chose Marc Spector to be his avatar and become Moon Knight, Cyttorak chooses an avatar to become his Juggernaut, an agent for destruction.
From time to time Cyttorak also transfers his powers into a Crimson gem and whoever comes into contact with the gem gains the power of Cyttorak and becomes the destructive force of Juggernaut. This is how the X-Men villain Juggernaut is born, the brother of Charles Xavier, Cain Marko comes into contact with the gem and gains the anger and unstoppable power of Cyttorak and through Cyttorak’s wishes destroys an entire village for him. The juggernaut also made an appearance in 2018’s Deadpool 2 so he already exists in an MCU adjacent universe.
What this appearance could mean?
As was seen in the concept art for Shang-Chi, the MCU has been looking for places where different mutants and X-Men characters could enter the MCU and this Thor concept art is the latest evidence of such. When Juggernaut is introduced into the MCU it will be interesting to see if it is the same Juggernaut from Fox’s X-Men universe since Deadpool 3 from the Fox universe is confirmed to be taking place in the MCU.
Moon Knight has been one of Marvel Studios’ most successful and most critically acclaimed Disney Plus shows, second to only Loki in its total viewership. Fans instantly fell in love with Steven Grant, Marc Spector, Layla EL Faouly and Khonshu, sit seemed like a Season 2 announcement was inevitable. However, 4 month shave now passed and there is still no word on a potential second season or spin-off.
Oscar Isaac’s Stunt Double in Cairo Teasing Moon Knight Season 2
A few weeks ago Oscar Isaac and Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab teased fans by saying that a Season 2 was in the works through a TikTok video from the 2 in Cairo. Now Oscar Isaac’s stunt double on the series Daren Nop, who also happens to be in Cairo right now, has done the same and teased production for Season 2.
In this picture Daren stands between ancient Egyptian ruins with markings, similar to those seen in Moon Knight and titles the story “Where are you Khonsu? We have to make the season 2 bro”. This is a clear tease to fans for Season 2. On it’s own this picture may not seem like much but given the fact that both Oscar and Mohamed Diab are also in Cairo at the same time as Daren, the stunt performer. It becomes very suspicious as to what may be in the work in regards to a potential Season 2 for the series.
At the same time there have been many rumors from credible sources stating that Season2 is indeed happening. So it starts to feel more and more likely that a potential Season 2 or maybe even a Layla El Faouly spin-off starring May Calamawy may be in the works. The new season already has a very intriguing set-up with Season 1 ending off with the confirmation of Jake Lockley’s existence, and with Marc and Steven thinking they were in full control. Jake Lockley was seen still working for Khonshu and in the last moments of the series shot Arthur Harrow. We could get an announced at this years D23 expo Marvel Studios presentation on September 10th, at 10 AM PT. So it is possible we may not have to wait too long for a Season 2, and if a Season 2 doesn’t happen there’s always the Werewolf By Night project, Blade or a Midnight Sons project for Moon Knight to appear in.
Watch Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight on Disney Plus right now and catch Blade exclusively in theaters November 3, 2023.
She-Hulk is one of Marvel Studios’ most highly anticipated upcoming Disney+ series now officially set to premiere on Disney Plus on August 17th, featuring Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters. The series was first announced back at the 2019 D23 Expo by Kevin Feige. Shortly after during the 2020 Disney Investor Day, Feige announced that Tatiana Maslany would be playing the titular role of Jennifer Walters, with Mark Ruffalo reprising his role as Hulk and Tim Roth reprising his role as The Abomination and Charlie Cox reprising his role as Daredevil.
Now add Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze to that list of appearances!
In the latest Featurette for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law released by Entertainment Today a poster can be spotted in the background for one Johnny Blaze, the first ghost rider in the comics.
Previously portrayed by Nicholas Cage in 2007’s Ghost Rider and 2011’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Johnny Blaze is a motorcycle stunt performer, and entertainer turned Spirit of Vengeance. He was the son of famed stuntman Barton Blaze who tragically died during a stunt. He became bound to Zarathos the Spirit of Vengeance after making a deal with the DemonMephisto to spare the life of his surrogate father Crash Simpson. Now with the power to control Hellfire and to inflict pain on those he deemed evil with his Penance Stare, Blaze seeks vengeance riding his Hell Cycle as the Ghost Rider.
Fans have long been campaigning for Ghost Rider’s introduction to the MCU. With Norman Reedus and Gabriel Luna both being highly rumored to join the MCU as Johnny Storm and Robby Reyes. So this would be a great opportunity to introduce the character to the MCU.
Possible Johnny Blaze appearance?
So this begs the question, could the infamous Johnny Blaze be making his MCU debut in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The series is already stacked full of cameos from Wong, to Frogman, to Daredevil. So another big cameo like the appearance of Johnny Blaze is not totally out of question. A full ghost rider suit up from the character is still highly unlikely. Fans have been
Who knows who will show up but it’s sure to be a blast! She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Starts Streaming on Disney Plus August 17th.
This is a Non-Spoiler Review for Marvel Studios’ Ms.Marvel the live-action adaptation of one of Marvel’s most popular recent comic-book characters. I would like to thank Disney for providing access to the first 2 episodes of the series which made this review possible. Kamal is an Urdu word which means wonderful or amazing and it really works perfectly in summarizing my thoughts on the series and Iman Vellani’s perfect performance as the character. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a spectacle.
Ms.Marvel or Kamala Khan also happens to be Muslim and Pakistani. So for someone like me who also happens to be both those things, the promise of this series brought about both great excitement and fear. The fear of it all really just stems from how poorly Pakistanis, Muslims and South Asians have previously been represented in Hollywood. Yes, sure the creative team is Pakistani but is that really enough to overcome decades of poor representation? After watching the first 2 episodes I can gladly say, Yes! This really does authentically capture the feeling of living in a Pakistani household. Obviously, it’s not perfect but it surely is a big step up from previous South Asian and Muslim characters in Hollywood. Even the MCU itself has been guilty of misrepresentation and stereotyping, with the only Muslim characters previously seen in the franchise being Terrorists all the way back in Iron Man (2008) and the South Asian character being nothing Karun in Eternals (2021) who himself was nothing more than a side-joke.
Fun, Fun and more Fun!
Every time a new Marvel series comes out the same statement “nothing like we’ve seen before in the MCU” is used, fans online may disagree but this statement is entirely true, because none of the MCU shows have been similar to the other. They’ve all brought in a new flavor to the universe, be it the weird sci-fi multiverse aspects in Loki or the sitcoms in WandaVision or the exploration into mental health with Moon Knight. So what is Ms.Marvel‘s new flavor? The flavor of fun, which instantly gets you excited for the future of the MCU, also reminding you of everything that has happened previously in the universe. Even though it doesn’t have any returning MCU characters, other than a familiar DODC agent in the post credits of the first episode, Ms.Marvel feels the most connected to everything we’ve seen in the MCU till now. The series also makes great use of cartoons, street art, and thought bubbles, adding a great new dimension of the series. Which not only makes everything more enjoyable to watch, but also gives you a look into the fantasies in Kamala’s mind, resulting in the series feeling more like it’s comic-book counterpart.
One of the things I was most excited to see was how the Pakistani family household would feel. Would it feel stereotypical, oppressive and lifeless, like Hollywood would have you believe, or would it be the full of life and real family that I see at home everyday. I’m very happy to say that it does very much feel like a real Pakistani Muslim family. Be it Aamir reciting Ayat U-Kursi (verses of the Quran) in the morning, her Dad’s unfunny jokes, reciting Bismillah before her driving test or the 100s of random decorations sprinkled throughout the house, this feels like a Khan household. The use of classical and modern Pakistani Music also goes a long way to make it all feel very authentic. Mohan Kapur and Zenobia Shroff are great as Kamal’s parents. But Iman Vellani, truly just steals the entire show, you can feel every bit of her excitement and nerdiness. Both her and Aamir perfectly embody to typed of Desi Muslim kids who were raised abroad. One thing that could’ve been given a better look at was the accent work for Kamala’s Mom and dad, as it doesn’t represent a Karachi accent, where they are supposed to be from or a typical Pakistani English accent. This is really just a nitpick but is distracting to me, as someone who can instantly differentiate accents. Another big letdown is Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher), in the comic book Nakia is a strong proud Muslim activist who is a big part of Kamala’s journey in self acceptance. While, in the series she is a mere shadow of the character she was in the comic. What we see of Nakia is mostly great, however, we don’t really see much of her. She doesn’t serve a purpose to the narrative and is there just for the sake of being there. This is from jsut the first 2 episodes so hopefully her arc has more importance to the narrative in the next 4 episodes.
Islamic representation was by far the factor I was most worried about, going in. The Islam in the series is definitely the best representation of the religion we’ve got in pop-culture. But that isn’t a very high bar however, due to years of racism, stereotyping and islamophobia. The series does well to flesh out each of the Muslim characters as actual Muslims. Aamir reminding everyone to pray, Kamala reciting Bismillah before her driving test, Nakia wearing her hijab with great power and the many discussions in the Mosque make her community feel like a real Muslim community. It is by no means perfect, but it does feel authentic. Changing small things like music playing while they are praying in the mosque could really make it feel better. One other thing was the exploration of Eid in Episode 2. This was pointed out to me by Vin of The Cosmic Circus, it’s not made clear if this is Eid Al-Adha, celebrated after Hajj (The annual pilgrimage to Makkah), or Eid Al-Fitr, celebrated after Ramadan. It is only referred to as the “lesser Eid”. Which makes it seem like it is referring to Eid Al-Fitr which is commonly referred to as small Eid and takes place after Ramadan. Where the confusion comes in is that no reference is made to Ramadan and no character is ever shown to be fasting. Since then Mo Hoosen from Streamr had pointed out that this was indeed Eid Al-Adha which is after Hajj.
So it seems that this was actually Eid Al-Adha which is very reassuring, because missing on something so basic and vital would’ve brought the series a few pegs down. , but it is what Hollywood has previously accustomed us to expect. I will be talking more on the specifics in my spoiler-breakdown on Thursday.
Sana Amanat who is also an American-Pakistani raised in Jersey City is the showrunner, with British-Pakistani Screenwriter and Comedian Bisha K. Ali, who also wrote episode of Loki, serving as Head-Writer. Oscar-Winning Pakistani Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is also involved and will be directing 2 out of the 6 episodes. Recently, Sharmeen Spoke with Mohammad Kamran Jawaid of the Pakistani publication Dawn-Icon Magazine where she highlighted the intricacy and importance that was placed on making the series feel authentically Pakistani. Ms.Marvel has always been a cultural icon, connecting with teenage girls across the world, specifically with South-Asians of all ages and genders, who really haven’t been exposed to much positive or authentic representation in Hollywood. As a Muslim and Pakistani myself I have never felt and truly represented in any form of mainstream media. With G. WIllow Wilson and Sana Amanat’s Ms.Marvel (2014) graphic novel being the rare mainstream media to ever feel authentic to my experiences as a Pakistani. It truly represents the Pakistani experience living abroad, which can connect with anyone who has ever struggled with their identity. As someone who was born in Pakistan but has lived abroad for most of their life, the story immediately resonated with me and I hope it with resonates with others like me and those from different backgrounds.
I would like to thank Disney and The DDA group for providing access to the first 2 episodes of the series which made this review possible.
Agatha: house of Harkness was a series that surprised everyone when it was announced at Disney+ day last year. Emmy-nominee Kathryn Hahn will reprise her role as Agatha Harkness for the upcoming WandaVision spin-off.
The series will reveal more about the character first introduced in Marvel Studios’ WandaVision. Jac Schaefer, who served as head writer and executive producer on WandaVision, returns for Agatha: House of Harkness. Be sure to hide all dogs named Sparky. Now WandaVision and Moon Knight wrters Peter Cameron, Cameron Squires and Laura Donney have joined the series as writers, discovered through a Writers Guild of America West listing.
Peter Cameron, Cameron Squires and Laura Donney will pen the series.
New listings have now been found on the website for the Writers Guild of America West, whic has revealed that writers who previously wrote WandaVision and Moon Knight will now be working on Agatha: House of Harkness for a 2023/2024 release. Peter Cameron who co-wrote Episode 5 On a Very Special Episode…’ and Episode 6 ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’ of WandaVision and Episode 3 ‘The Friendly Type’ and Episode 4 ‘The Tomb’ of Moon Knight, Cameron Squires who wrote Episode 7 ‘Breaking the Fourth Wall’ of WandaVision and Laura Donney who wrote Episode 8 ‘Breaking the Fourth Wall’ of WandaVision will be the writers for the Agatha Harkness focused series.
It looks like the series will follow the same tone as WandaVision since Jac Schaeffer is already onboard, possibly a bit of a darker comedy, based on the other credits for these writers. The witch themes of the series should make for an interesting dark-comedy drama series. Maybe the series could see her as the caretaker of the children of the Fantastic 4‘s Reed Richards Mr.Fantastic and Sue Storm the Invisible Woman, as she was in the comics. It will also be interesting to see if the series is a prequel to WandaVision or a sequel dealing with the events after Wanda traps her as Agnes.
2023/2024 Release Date
The listing on the WGA website for Agatha: House of Harkness had it on for 2023/2024 release, so it is most likely that the series will premiere on Disney Plus in late 2023 or early 2024. With a possible 11th October, 2023 release in time for Halloween as Lizzie Hill of The Cosmic Circus reported that the series would begin filming on late-October this year. Marvel Disney Plus shows take 12 months from start of filming to release so this would fit in perfectly in that way. Which would be perfect for the series since it is Witch-themed.