Fish and Cherries Productions

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Reel Snippet – Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors

Summary: Kamala Khan (Kathreen Khavari) grew up idolizing superheroes and after she was turned into an Inhuman, she’s gained superpowers and adopted the name Ms. Marvel. Unfortunately, neither her nor her best friend Doreen a.k.a. Squirrel Girl (Milana Vayntrub) are taken seriously at all by the community, so they just have to keep training. But they hit a big break when they encounter an Inhuman named Dante (Tyler Posey) running away from another Inhuman named Victor (Booboo Stewart). SHIELD agents Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) and Patriot (Kamil McFadden) want the two untrained heroes to stay back and leave this to the professionals, but Kamala worries that SHIELD shares the world’s prejudice against Inhumans and continues to pursue. Things get messy when a superpowered miscreant named America Chavez (Cierra Ramirez) and an alien hunter named Hala the Accuser (Ming-Na Wen) get involved, Kamala will have to see who will be on her side to fight against a plot targeting Inhumans everywhere.

Review: Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors is an animated film that premiered on the Disney Channel, so it wouldn’t surprise me if you hadn’t heard of it. I imagine some of your expectations might be low too, but stow that cynicism for a moment because this is mostly pretty good. Admittedly, the people who are going to get the most of it are diehard Marvel fans (which puts me in a dilemma because I’ve always decried movies that are “for the fans”), though I’m sure some could use this as a gateway into the fandom. Granted, it has to establish Inhumans, SHIELD, and the Kree in a very short amount of time and quite frankly, I don’t know how well it does that for newbies.

The film does manage to give a lot of less popular heroes a good showing. None of these characters are household names, with the possible exception of Quake, complete with her Agents of SHIELD actress reprising her role. Still, everyone gets to put their best face forward, the best one being Kamala herself. Squirrel Girl and her pet squirrel Tippy (Dee Bradley Baker) are pretty funny and the rest are pretty cool but a little ordinary. Hopefully they’ll have more of an expanded role in sequels. Heck, Dante hasn’t become Inferno yet (oh my god, I just got that pun), so there’s plenty of material to work with.

On that note, let’s talk about things to work on, particularly the animation and songs. The songs are really terrible, drowning in auto tune and/or synth to the point of being unlistenable and only seem to exist to give Dove Cameron something to do, since she’s playing Spider-Gwen in other Marvel Rising projects and doesn’t appear in this film. The animation problems are a bit harder to pin down, because it seems to be going for a minimalist style but can come off as stiff and awkward at times. It might be a personal preference, but I didn’t like it.

I don’t think people who aren’t in the target demographics of kids or diehard Marvel fans will flip for it, but I can’t call it bad. It’s got a diverse cast and even shows that America has two moms (and yes, I do mean it in that way), so that earns it a bunch of points on the “good for kids” scale. So yeah, I guess I give this a thumbs up. I know it’s not my usual fare to review a Disney Channel original animated movie, but honestly this has been such a slow month that I make do.

Fun Tidbit: Several voice actors from this movie have played before some Marvel character or are already playing one. For those reprising roles, Chloe Bennet (Daisy Johnson/Quake) plays that same character in Agents of SHIELD (as mentioned earlier), Milana Vayntrub (Doreen Green/Squirrel Girl) is set to play this character in Marvel’s New Warriors, and Kathreen Khavari (Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel) also voices Kamala on Avengers Assemble. For those who played different roles, Booboo Stewart (Victor Kohl/Exile) played James Proudstar/Warpath in X-Men: Days of Future Past and voices Jack O’Lantern in Spider-Man (2018) and Ming-Na Wen (Hala the Accuser) plays Melinda May in Agents of SHIELD. Heck, Dove Cameron, who doesn’t even appear in this film, played Spider-Gwen in Ultimate Spider-Man some time ago.

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