‘Millisecond. Marvel review: Disney+ brings a powerful teen to life with humor and high energy

'Millisecond.  Marvel review: Disney+ brings a powerful teen to life with humor and high energy

We often see profiles where someone of a certain age is asked what they would say to their younger self: what kind of wisdom would they impart, advice would they give, that sort of thing. I never have to worry about that because Doc Brown gave me an upgraded DeLorean so I can switch back and forth between the timeline, and one of the things I say to my younger self is: You won’t believe how the universe of superheroes and science fiction has expanded in film and television. It’s fantastic!

Oh sure, we had his Superman and his Batman and his Iron Man and his Wonder Woman and his “Star Wars” in the past, but now it seems like barely a month goes by without another movie or streaming series coming up or coming back. . -introducing characters from a much more diverse, intricate, mind-blowing, and often creative universe. Just look at what Disney+ has accomplished in the span of a few years, with “Wandavision” and “Loki,” “Moon Knight” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” “The Mandalorian” and “Hawkeye.”

And now comes “Mrs. Marvel,” with newcomer Iman Vellani making a brilliant debut as the MCU’s first Muslim superhero: a 16-year-old Pakistani-American high school student in Jersey City who loves the Avengers and Captain Marvel in particular, she’s a fan of the highest level superheroes. geeky (and we mean that as a compliment), and then she finds herself gifted/cursed with superpowers, and what in Peter Parker’s name is going on here! Created by Bisha K. Ali (“Loki,” Hulu’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral”), this is an instantly engaging, high-energy, relatively light and humorous series with top-tier production values ​​and one of the most terrifying casts around. enjoyable in any series of any genre so far this year.

Consisting of six episodes on Disney+, “Ms. Marvel” opens with a clever animated sequence in which Vellani’s Kamala Khan is in her bedroom, posting her latest video gushing about Captain Marvel and talking about attending the first “Avenger-Con,” instantly plunging us into an MCU universe where the Avengers have become famous and are revered like rock stars by high school kids like Kamala. Once Kamala logs off, her life as an attention-grabbing 16-year-old high school student awaits her, as her mother, Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff), reminds her that it’s time for her driving test and she needs to search the mirrors every 15 seconds; her father Yusuf (Mohan Kapur) gives her sage advice, and her older brother Aaamir (Saagar Shaikh) says she should say Bismillah even before starting the car “because you will need all the help you can get. ” Fathers! Older brothers!

Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher, left) and Bruno (Matt Lintz) share an interest in all things nerdy with their friend Kamala (Iman Vellani).

At Kamala’s high school, it’s immediately clear that she’s something of an outcast, with a clueless gym teacher mispronouncing her name and some mean girls growling at her in the halls. She at least has the obligatory nerdy best friends in Matt Lintz’s Bruno Carelli, a cheerful and bright tech geek, and Yasmeen Fletcher’s prankster and loyal Nakia. (The chemistry between the three fantastic young actors is so natural that we immediately believe their friendship is dynamic.) Adding to the colorful visuals of the series: a clever conceit in which the animated background creations often reflect what is going on in Kamala’s life and what she and her friends are saying or texting to each other. Very cool stuff.

“Millisecond. Marvel” would be entertaining enough as a coming-of-age comedy-drama about this wonderful, smart, rebellious, slightly offbeat girl and her family and friends, but once we’ve established who Kamala is and what she’s is your life, it’s time for… SPECIAL EFFECTS! At Avenger-Con, Kamala puts on a bracelet that was once owned by her grandmother, and something magical, chaotic, and semi-disastrous happens. Kamala definitely has some superpowers, but Which ones? (“What makes you think you have Ant-Man powers?” Bruno asks. “Because we’re both charming and look younger than we are,” Kamala replies as Rudd-ly.) Point to scene in which Kamala and Bruno try to figure out what his superpowers are and how he can harness them, in the style of Peter Parker when he first became “Spider-Man.” Am I Asgardian? Kamala wonders. Am I related to THOR?

As Kamala tries to navigate her home life, her high school adventures, and her newfound superpowers, we get a series of witty callbacks to various key moments and characters in the world of the Avengers and even a riff from “Devil Wears Prada.” “, the introduction of a couple of humorless Damage Control agents, a possible love interest for Kamala, some simmering BIG CONFLICTS, and even a montage of “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes. What could not be loved? Based on the first few episodes, I can’t wait to see what’s next for Kamala and her new alter ego.