Ms. Marvel Seeing Red review S1 E4
Ms. Marvel is such a complicated, confusing superhero show.
It’s a bit of a drag as a show about a neophyte hero, but Ms. Marvel is absolutely excellent as a series about a teen girl finding her way in life alongside her likable family and friends.
At some point that might not be enough for a superhero series, but for now, I’m happily appreciating every scene with Kamala and her family. And Seeing Red made some significant strides in terms of making the action sequences more of what audiences tend to expect from Marvel Cinematic Universe battles.
Kamala and Muneeba head to Karachi at the urging of her grandmother, Sana (Samina Ahmed). Sana shared the same vision of the speeding train as Kamala and hopes a visit to Karachi will help explain some things for her.
Under this guise of a mini-family reunion, Kamala has to spend some time with her cousins, Zainab (Vardah Aziz) and Owais (Asfandyar Khan). This should make for a slog of an episode, but as usual, Ms. Marvel flips the superhero series dynamic with several touching, tender family moments. Think of a random motivational pep talk in The Flash, but with that same good-natured approach throughout.
There are some really heartwarming moments with Kamala and Muneeba, Kamala and Sana and Muneeba and Sana. This episode skillfully showed how Kamala doesn’t see enough positive reflections back in New Jersey to think a “brown girl could save the world” while feeling like an outcast totally unfamiliar with Pakistani customs since she was born in America.
One major commendable aspect of the Disney+ series is the showrunners are not taking a cookie cutter approach with the characters. We’re getting the flavor of their culture from Sam’s family working on a Louisiana fishing boat on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Mark Spector traveling to Egypt in Moon Knight and now Kamala’s side quest to Karachi.
These aren’t getaways for the sake of traveling the Marvel globe — it’s essential in showcasing the characters’ heritage. Karachi offers the most colorful and engaging backdrop with the intricate building designs, stylish wardrobe and locations that haven’t been previously revealed in the MCU.
Finally getting a chance to ditch her cousins, Kamala checks out the train station, which has an Ant-Man mural. It’s funny in the post-Endgame world that Ant-Man, who should have been a founding member of the Avengers, is one of the more prominent mainstream heroes left.
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She’s attacked by the Red Dagger (Aramis Knight), a dagger tossing vigilante that works with a group fighting the Clandestine. This was a fun fight with a more playful tone than the other battles. It reminded me of the intent of the Daredevil/Elektra playground fight scene in the Daredevil movie with far better execution.
The battle also showed Kamala’s increasing comfort level with her powers. After reaching a truce, Kamala and Red Dagger aka Kareem go to his hideout to meet the Daggers’ leader, Waleed (Farhan Akhtar).
Waleed offers some insight on Kamala’s powers and gives her a vest with both provides a connection to her Pakistani heritage and her alliance with the Red Daggers. I dig the RPG element of Kamala piecing together her costume bit by bit.
That’s more fun than having Bruno or some designer friend whip up something in an afternoon. She’s crafting her costume without necessarily being all that intentional about it yet. And it was also nice to see Kamala just hanging out with Kareem and his friends for a bonfire.
This is very impressive considering Kamala is still a new entry in the MCU, but the slow burn of her becoming a hero has been so rewarding.
Najma and the rest of the Clandestine break out of Damage Control custody though Najma doesn’t want her turncoat son, Kamran, joining them. It was a little weird seeing Kamran seemingly decide to stay in the Damage Control prison instead of just leaving with the others.
It doesn’t take Najma and crew long to get to Karachi and chase down Kamala. Najma’s crew looks menacing and seem formidable, but they keep acting like the Three Stooges in fighting a girl that has minimal control or her powers and less fighting experience. It makes them look like goofs lacking any real sense of menace.
Not even Najma killing Waleed upped their threat level. Waleed seemed to exist solely to play Kamala’s Obi-Wan Kenobi very briefly and making the sacrifice play in the end. Kamala and Kareem have an effective battle against The Clandestine with Najma striking Kamala’s bracelet.
This seemingly sends Kamala to 1947 — a pivotal talking point in the series — where India gained independence from Britain. Kamala traveling through time to this specific period is a solid payoff to all the foreshadowing of this massive moment for her family.
That also makes for a very satisfying cliffhanger. There’s just two more episodes to go so this flashback probably won’t last too long. Likely long enough for Kamala to get some necessary family insight and feel more comfortable continuing her journey to become a hero.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Disney