Friday was “Disney+ Day”, aka a global marketing bonanza in which Disney tried to gin up some interest in new subscriptions for Disney+ after they missed Wall Street expectations and added “just” 2.1 million new subscribers in their fourth quarter. Honestly, the insistence on total global domination is exhausting, imagine needing everyone to love you so much that “just” 2.1 million people loving you is “disappointing”. And then, in your sweaty attempts to make mommy and daddy love you the most, you throw together a science fair project that comes out slap-dash and sloppy—that’s Disney+ Day. Here’s a list of everything that went wrong with it.
One thing that did turn out okay is a teaser for Ms. Marvel. All the Disney+ Marvel teasers are so short as to be almost nothing, (Kathryn Hahn’s spin-off is called Agatha: House of Harkness, and it has an entire title treatment, this was global breaking news), but the Ms. Marvel teaser, brief as it is, makes a few points. One, we get to see Kamala Khan: Captain Marvel Fan Girl in action, and two, the teaser emphasizes Kamala’s roots as a Pakistani-American and Muslim superhero. Iman Vellani remains super cute as Kamala, and I love her homemade Captain Marvel cosplay costume. Part of Kamala’s story is copycatting Carol Danvers for a minute, and the shot of people looking up as “Captain Marvel” drifts overhead, reflected in a building’s windows, is neat and stylish. I am not equally interested in all of the Marvel-Disney+ things, but Ms. Marvel is one such thing that remains high on the interest list.
I always like seeing the perspective of normal people in the MCU, it’s a reminder of the stakes—what the Avengers are, ostensibly, fighting for—and while Kamala Khan will soon enough abandon the ranks of “normal” for “superhero”, her grounded origin as a New Jersey teen, daughter of immigrants, is one of her best storytelling features. I hope we’re not too quick to abandon that. The comics in which Kamala has to balance homework and heroing are fun and also a refreshing break from the “everything is the end of the universe” stakes common to the Avengers. It’s not always the end of the universe! Sometimes you just have to get home in time to do your calculus homework. We already know that Iman Vellani will be part of the Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels. I just hope that, along the way, the MCU doesn’t lose sight of Kamala’s charm as just a kid. Peter Parker might be in high school, but none of his problems are high school-related, and his next movie comes with multiverse-level stakes, it’s so far removed from the actual teenaged milieu. With Ms. Marvel, I hope we can just enjoy an actual kid doing actual kid things in the context of the MCU. There is so much fun to be had with that perspective, especially for, you know, the actual kids who love the MCU.