Ms. Marvel First Reviews: Iman Vellani Is 'Wonderful' in 'Vibrant' Superhero Origin Story, Critics Say

A colorful story pallet, authentic South Asian representation, and a delightful star turn by Vellani in Marvel's latest for Disney+ is a breath of fresh air and offers a fun viewing experience for the whole family.

by | June 7, 2022 | Comments

Ms. Marvel is the latest comic book–inspired series to hit Disney+, and the program is here to lay a few more bricks in Marvel’s plans for Phase 4 of the MCU. Starring newcomer Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, the company’s first-ever South Asian Muslim superhero, Ms. Marvel will premiere the first of six episodes on Wednesday, June 8 to Disney+.

Ms. Marvel is Marvel’s first superhero coming-of-age origin story to hit the streamer. The program also stars Yasmeen Fletcher as Nakia, Matthew Lintz as Bruno, Fawad Khan as Hasan, Mohan Kapoor as Yusuf Khan, Zenobia Shroff as Muneeba Khan, Rish Shah as Kamran, Nimra Bucha as Najma, Alysia Reiner as Sadie Deever, and Arian Moayed as Agent P. Cleary.

Expectations and excitement are riding high for Marvel’s latest small-screen adventure. But does it deliver the goods? Here’s what critics are saying about the first two episodes of Ms. Marvel season 1:

How does it fit with Disney+’s other MCU shows?

It’s also worth noting that Ms. Marvel is a great jumping-on point for new viewers, especially younger ones or anyone who hasn’t previously seen themselves in the many square-jawed heroes of the MCU so far. While it’s fully immersed in the fictional Marvel world, like the most recent MCU series, Moon Knight, it isn’t linked to any previous continuity so marks a handy entrance point. – Richard Trenholm, CNET

The start of ‘Ms. Marvel’ really feels different from the rest of the adventures of this superhero universe, since here a youthful approach is chosen to a series that has much more in common with ‘Never Have I Ever’, the great Netflix series, than with ‘Iron Man’ or any other character introduction Marvel movie. – Mikel Zorrilla, Espinof

Crafted with all the attention and focus required of the expansive (and tired) Marvel Cinematic Universe while exploring new avenues, “Ms. Marvel” doesn’t feel bogged down by schematics or world-building in the way “Moon Knight” did a few short weeks ago, instead opting for a poppy and refreshing alternative, one that puts Marvel fandom at the forefront as the main character is obsessed with Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel. – Nate Adams, The Only Critic

How is Iman Vellani?

Ms. Marvel digital art

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.)

​​Ms. Marvel is a quirky and fun coming-of-age story that reminds me of when Tom Holland was cast as Spider-Man. I loved him, because he pulled off the young, nerdy Peter Parker. I feel the same about Iman Vellani. A hint of rebellion and sarcasm but wide-eyed optimism makes her a delight to watch on screen. – Tania Lamb, Lola Lambchops

Iman Vellani is a fun new addition in the Marvel world. She has a natural presence about her in what she brings to Kamala going from the energetic Avengers ultrafan to figuring out life as a real superhero. – Paul McGuire Grimes, Paul’s Trip to the Movies

Iman Vellani is a bright spot of joy in the MCU that feels needed after the darker tone things have taken in recent years. – Sarah Musnicky, Vital Thrills

She’s wonderful. She’s charming. She’s quirky. – Austin Burke, Flick Fan Nation

Watching Vellani come into her own is quite the feat, a lightning-in-a-bottle find who brings a buoyant attitude and infectious comedic delivery playing New Jersey teenager Kamala Khan. – Nate Adams, The Only Critic

What about the rest of the cast?

(Photo by Daniel McFadden/Marvel Studios)

​​The matriarch of her family, Muneeba Khan played by Zenobia Shroff is a delight! She is the driving force behind Kamal’s connection to her family, and the one who always says ‘no’. She represents all the inhibitions and restrictions of the culture that Kamala comes from. And navigating that relationship is honestly going to be the most interesting non-superhero element of Ms. Marvel. – Shah Shahid, Blank Page Beatdown

Matt Lintz is one of many standouts on the show, playing Bruno, one of Kamala’s friends. He’s just another one who totally understands the type of show he’s making and knows exactly how to deliver dialogue that so so heavily relies on his timing and his inflection. I’m also loving Yasmeen Fletcher as Nakia, another one of Kamala’s friends. There’s one particular conversation between her and Kamala in episode 2 that just plain old filled my heart and is, by far, one of my favorite moments in the show. – Perri Nemiroff, Perri Nemiroff

How are the writing and directing?

(Photo by Daniel McFadden/Marvel Studios)

Directors Adil & Balali, who helmed the great crime film Black (2015) and the surprisingly good Bad Boys for Life (2020), infuse the first episode with crackling energy and a compulsive pace. Series creator Bisha K. Ali, who wrote the first episode, quickly establishes Kamala’s likable personality with her wry voice-over narration, illustrated by her colorful doodles and sketches coming to life as she lives her best life. – Peter Martin, ScreenAnarchy

There’s much to love about Ms. Marvel. Often it feels authentically closer to John Hughes’ movies than even Tom Holland’s Spider-Man films, with Ms. Marvel channeling the essence of the iconic director’s movies (Sixteen Candles, especially) rather than performing an empty homage. – Eric Francisco, Inverse

How does it represent South Asian culture?

(Photo by Daniel McFadden/Marvel Studios)

The creator and head writer of Ms. Marvel, Bisha K. Ali, knows what she’s doing. The Muslim family elements are so painfully accurate, that I was reliving my own high school days of having to skirt around my parents’ plans for my life. Not to mention the onslaught of the powerful Brown Mom guilt that engulfs you in a sea of shame if you have one errant thought. But there are also the sweet and hilarious dynamics of the loving father, the protective older brother and the gossipy Aunties. It’s all so damn good! And all of this is supported brilliantly by the amazing Ms. Marvel cast of recognizable South Asian actors. – Shah Shahid, Blank Page Beatdown

Kamala is a Pakistani American, and she already has something like a secret identity even before she becomes a superhero. She and her friends are pulled in different directions as they hide their carefree Marvel-obsessed inner life behind different masks for family, school and mosque. In the hands of a writing team headed by Bisha K. Ali, as well as directors including Meera Menon, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the show’s authenticity adds a groundedness to the fantasy elements. – Richard Trenholm, CNET

Ms. Marvel devotes attention to Kamala’s Pakistani culture. Her family speaks a little Arabic and discusses their prayers.

Episode 2 even features the Call to Prayer in a mosque. It’s remarkable to put this ritual on display in a Marvel show for Disney+, even more so when characters call out the custom of separating women by a partition in the back. – Fred Topel, United Press International

The specific insight into Pakistani culture, including discussions around music and Bollywood cinema, shows the MCU is reconfiguring its priorities for more inclusive heroes. – Nate Adams, The Only Critic

How is the production value?

Iman Vellani in MS. MARVEL

(Photo by Daniel McFadden/Marvel Studios)

It’s so colorful and fun that it’s now easy to resent the MCU’s un-expressionistic past and stale commitment to verisimilitude. Turns out, a comic book show can have color and clarity! Not everything must be engulfed in grueling darkness, like the recent Moon Knight and the putrid grays and blues of Hawkeye and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. – Eric Francisco, Inverse

We are constantly getting all of these quirky editing techniques and going from live-action to 3D animated graphics onscreen to 2D storytelling to interesting transitions. All of these things I did not expect to see on the show and it kind of reminded me of Mitchells vs. The Machines. Not at that level, of course. But just the creativity that was flowing through that film. I felt that in this. – Austin Burke, Flick Fan Nation

There’s a “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” aura surrounding the show, which doesn’t feel rushed or inauthentic, giving Marvel nerds a slice of culture they haven’t seen before. – Nate Adams, The Only Critic

It’s also great to see a Marvel show take place in a real city. They may have filmed in Atlanta, but whether it’s dressed as New Jersey or Anytown, USA, it’s a real place.

Most of the Marvel movies now exist entirely on green screen stages. It can’t be underestimated how much showing a place in which real people interact creates a feeling of a relatable world. – Fred Topel, United Press International

Any final thoughts?

Iman Vellani in MS. MARVEL

(Photo by Daniel McFadden/Marvel Studios)

As origin stories go, Ms. Marvel brings enough of a new feel to make it an enjoyable watch, both for new viewers and anyone who loves superheroes as much as Kamala Khan. – Richard Trenholm, CNET

Ms. Marvel works on multiple levels, the predominant of which is the experience of a being young Pakistani girl in America, trying to grapple with superpowers and a conservative Muslim family. It’s sweet, wonderful and a giant leap for representation in the MCU that doesn’t feel forced or like it’s pandering to anyone. I honestly can’t wait for you all to experience the joy that is Ms. Marvel. – Shah Shahid, Blank Page Beatdown

It’s delightful, vibrant, sometimes emotionally heavy, and often blissful fun, with a flavorful blend of coming-of-age adventure and the grounded complexities of second-generation immigrant life in America. – Eric Francisco, Inverse

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