Ms Marvel – Episode 2: Crushed

Ms Marvel episode two references Paul Rudd’s immortality, and does amazing things for representation.

Ms Marvel episode two continues for the latest series on Disney+ continues after Kamala Khan unlocks a superhuman ability.

Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) swaggers into each scene with determined invincibility following the parallels between her and her superhero idol Capital Marvel (Brie Larson) as the pacing slows to a snail’s pace to focus on the importance of this show and Vellani’s performance.

This debut performance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is monumental and the show knows it.

Ms Marvel introduces the first Muslim superhero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe bringing with it all the stereotypes, discrimination and history that Westernised audiences have been taught over the years.

So audiences wouldn’t be wrong to assume that Disney would opt to ignore, or brush past all the wrongful perceptions that the Muslim community had been tarnished with over the years, yet, it embraces it and delivers dialogue that shows just how wrongful it has been.

This is best exampled in a scene involving the Department of Damage Control (DODC) relaying instructions to another agent, saying to be careful with investigating as the FBI is already watching every mosque already as if behind every mosque is a suspected terrorist of someone worth extensive espionage.

Thankfully the show doesn’t linger on this harrowing truth, instead, celebrates the Muslim community with a lengthy exploration of Eid Mubarak showing the cliques within the community.

I cannot think of another live-action mainstream show in the last twenty years that has shown the Muslim communities and handled them in a truthful, reflective way that doesn’t ridicule, suggest or incite hate.

This aside, Vellani’s debut role as Ms Marvel is undoubtedly perfection as a casting choice. Speaking of Vellani’s casting, executive producer Sana Amanat says that there was no one better than Vellani.

“In so many ways, she embodies the character 110% through and through. She is a huge super fan of Marvel. She showed us her bedroom on Zoom, and it was just like a fan explosion of all her love for Marvel. She knows the finite details of every single character just like Kamala Khan, and it just felt very meta and crazy that we were able to find that needle in a haystack.”

My apprehension for this show would be that its tone would be similar to a quirky family show found on the Disney Channel, and yet it has surpassed every expectation with charm.

Instead, Ms Marvel episodes 2 delivers poignancy, curiosity and charm, becoming a self-aware reflection of the fifteen-year-old franchise, and its cast.

Paul Rudd, who plays Ant-Man in the Marvel universe, has become an internet celebration in his own right with many online noticing that the actor hasn’t visually aged since his role in Clueless.

Weirdly it seems that Khan or at least some within the MCU are aware of Rudd’s ageless ability as, when experimenting with what powers she has, hopes that she can control ants so that she would passively gain immortality like Rudd.

The only issue I’m currently facing is that if I’m to assume that the series is six episodes long, as a tradition for the Marvel shows, we are now two episodes in, and I have no clue understanding of the antagonist.

Admittedly the show intellectually is creating multiple threads: her family; her relationship with the popular-kid Zoe; the new possible mysterious character Kamran (Rish Shah) or her own identity, I just wish it picked one and made it clearer.

Despite this, the slower pacing made for a preferred watch as each character felt fleshed out including Kamala’s Marty-McFly-dressed best friend Bruno (Matt Lintz) whose unrequited love for Kamala does create an unnecessary awkward addition, and the political aspirations of other best friend, Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher).

Overall, Ms Marvel episode two was a charming, inoffensive affair that brought attention to the importance of the Muslim community beginning with the start of many years of historical corrections needed. Hopefully, as the show continues, developing further into the Partition of India, we will explore this theme some more.

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By Conor Riley

Conor is the Founder and Editor for Cinamore, a publication focused on giving power back to journalists. As a portmanteau of the word 'Cinema' and the Italian word for love 'Amore', Cinamore aims to highlight the love that we all carry for the art of the moving image.


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