The Marvels Has So Many Plot Holes


This post contains spoilers for The Marvels.

With the exception of maybe Avengers: Endgame, no MCU movie just ends. Borrowing from the comic book medium in which its characters were born, MCU films end with cliffhangers and portends, mid- and post-credit scenes that tease up the next movie or storyline.

That’s certainly the case with The Marvels, the latest MCU entry and latest indication that the superhero boom is now a whimper. The post-credit scene offers yet another nod to the X-Men, but that’s not the only question viewers have after watching The Marvels.

As David Crow put it in Den of Geek‘s review, the movie feels like “a post-production Frankenstein situation where a combination of ideas are thrown at the wall by reshoots and reedits.” As a result, The Marvels ended with many unanswered questions.

Some of them are little annoyances, like “Why didn’t SABER build a space station with enough escape pods to accommodate the crew?” or “Why do Flerkins look like mammals but lay eggs?” Others are a bit bigger.

What’s Carol’s Problem?

Captain Marvel has two character arcs in The Marvels. In one, Carol recovers her lost heroic ideals and in the other, she learns how to work with others on a team. The two parts come together in a heart-to-heart between the three heroes when they escape the water planet Aladna (more on that in a minute) to an empty field.

Carol reveals that, thirty years ago, she destroyed the Supreme Intelligence, a giant green tentacle head (or, in Captain Marvel, Annette Bening) that rules the Kree Empire. Once the Supreme Intelligence died, the Empire fell into civil war, a battle that cost the Kree home world Hala all of its natural resources.

The Kree dubbed her the Annihilator, a name that really hurt Carol’s feelings, despite coming from a conquering people who brainwashed her and turned her into a weapon of the empire. Apparently, the shame not only eroded Carol’s heroism, but also drove her to avoid returning to Earth to check in on Monica, daughter of her best friend Maria. “I felt if I could fix it, then I could come home,” Carol tells Monica in a heartfelt confession.

Monica is too busy responding with lines about family so cheesy that even Dom Toretto would gag to ask the obvious question: why didn’t you just go fix it? Later on in the movie, Monica realizes that all Hala’s sun needs is a jump start from a surge of energy; energy that Carol has thanks to her power set. Even if we accept that Monica just now realized that Captain Marvel is really, really powerful, the idea of “jump starting” the sun isn’t new — villain Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) mentioned the same thing in the movie’s very first scene.

In short, apparently Carol could have undone her mistake at any time. But in the same way she could have gone and visited Monica at any point, or that she actually worked with a team in Avengers: Endgame and even calls in her dear friend (apparently) Valkyrie to help out some displaced Skrulls, she never does.

What’s the Deal with the Quantum Bands?

The Marvels begins with Dar-Benn landing on a planet, smashing a rock, and finding one of the Quantum Bands. Dar-Benn and her sidekick, Man-bun Man (the credits tell me that’s Daniel Ings as Ty-Rone, but that’s not better) say they’ve been looking for the Quantum Bands for a long time, but it seems like it was pretty darn easy to us viewers.

So easy, in fact, that we cannot help but wonder how it ended up on the empty rock planet where Dar-Benn finds it, especially given the long familial journey that Kamala’s bangle went through in Ms. Marvel. In that show, the bangle came from the Noor Dimension, an alternate reality occupied by a group of Djinn called the Clandestine. In The Marvels, the Quantum Band is just under a rock.

When Kamala gets both bands at the end of the film, she enthuses, “They travelled through time and space to get to me.” While we’re usually on board with Kamala’s naïve enthusiasm, not even Iman Vellani’s infectious performance can get us to accept that as an answer.

And that’s not the only question that The Marvels raises about the Quantum Bands — including the fact that they’re called Quantum Bands. The title fits Marvel Comics, in which a hero called Quasar (but none of the many people using the Captain Marvel moniker) uses Quantum Bands to make constructs, but doesn’t match the story told in Ms. Marvel.

How did the Noor get the one band? How did the Kree learn about the other? How come Dar-Benn never uses her Band to make constructs? How come Ms. Marvel never uses hers to absorb energy? And, oh yeah, what does any of this have to do with the Mandarin from Shang-Chi?

How Does the Power Switching Work?

After reversing her first switch with Kamala, Monica Rambeau talks with Nick Fury about the young hero. “Teleportation isn’t in her power set,” she says, making a very good point that the movie never really addresses. At first, it appears that using powers makes the Marvels switch places with one another. But then it doesn’t, and the Marvels can use their powers without swapping space. Until that stops working again.

Look, this is nothing new for a Marvel movie. After all, Avengers: Endgame stopped everything to very clearly explain how time travel works and then Ms. Marvel and other entries immediately ignored those rules. But for those who weren’t charmed by the movie’s training montage set to the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic,” this answer isn’t good enough.

The real answer probably has something to do with the Nega-Bands that many versions of Captain Marvel (not, crucially, Carol Danvers) uses in the comics. Those Captains Marvel would clang the Nega-Bands together to switch spaces with the human Rick Jones, itself a nod to the original Captain Marvel from Fawcett and DC Comics, who swapped places with young Billy Batson.

As much fun as those winks toward source material are, they don’t work within the narrative of The Marvels.

Why Can’t Monica Fix the Rift From the X-Men Universe?

The Marvels uses the same visual language for warp travel that we’ve seen since the first Guardians of the Galaxy, a honeycomb pattern that opens up in space for people to go through. But The Marvels adds a wrinkle that too much travel can cause a rift, which Monica compares to an earthquake caused by fracking.

Furthermore, Monica makes clear that it’s not SABER, the Guardians, or any good guys whose jump points push the universe towards a space quake, but the bad guy Dar-Benn. And like a celebrity who takes a private jet to talk about climate change, the Marvels hop into a jump point to stop her.

During the climactic battle with Dar-Benn, the bad guy gets overloaded with energy and explodes, which creates the final rift and sets off the space quake. Monica once again suddenly figures out a solution and tells Kamala and Carol to zap her (Kamala can zap now), which gives her the power to fix the rift.

Well, sort of fixes it. When Carol calls her back, Monica insists that she can’t leave and that she has to stay on the other side to get the job done.

Why? That part isn’t clear, but we can probably guess that it has something to do with her meeting the X-Men.

What Happened to Aladna?

The best part of The Marvels occurs when the three heroes arrive at the watery planet Aladna and the film briefly becomes a musical. The heroes have come to Aladna to stop Dar-Benn, who plans to drain the oceanic world of its water resources.

Despite the efforts of the Marvels and Aladna’s military, Dar-Benn and crew begin siphoning out the water. Worse, the Marvels decide that this crucial moment is when they should have their big confessional with one another. They jump to a field to have their emotional moment, but nobody says anything about Aladna.

Did the citizens sing their way out of trouble? Did they get their water back? Is Carol going to mope about this for another three decades before doing anything about it?

Where is Nick Fury’s wife?

At the start of The Marvels, Nick Fury calls to check in on Carol. But when Carol asks how her old pal is doing, he doesn’t even acknowledge the question and gives her a mission. Fury’s response must confuse anyone who watched Secret Invasion, or at least those who stayed awake through the whole thing. Secret Invasion put Fury through the wringer, killing off his second-in-command Maria Hill and his Skrull partner Talos.

Furthermore, Secret Invasion revealed that Nick Fury had a wife named Priscilla (Charlayne Woodard), a Skrull whose real name was Varra. She worked with the evil Skrull Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), but truly loved Nick and decided to help him.

The biggest twist of all turned out to be how little Priscilla/Varra mattered to the wider MCU, nor anything else that happened in Secret Invasion. The Marvels makes absolutely no reference to Secret Invasion, which renders the slog of a series even more inessential.

Will Any of These Questions Get Answered?

Maybe! Marvel’s been bringing back all sorts of stuff lately, including plot beats from The Incredible Hulk and Elektra, movies that hardly anyone really likes. Then again, Marvel is also going through a massive overhaul, which might mean that The Marvels goes the way of Varra and never gets mentioned again.

Still, MCU movies work best when we get to watch characters having fun together. On that end, The Marvels excels, with Vellani’s boundless energy pushing things along, even when her co-stars get saddled with portentous character beats. Will that be enough to make The Marvels a better movie on rewatch? That’s a question only you can answer.

The Marvels is now streaming on Disney+

The post The Marvels Has So Many Plot Holes appeared first on Den of Geek.

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