‘The Marvels’ Ripped Apart by Early Viewers, Doomed To Flop

in Entertainment, Marvel

Brie Larson as Carol Davers/Captain Marvel in 'The Marvels'

Credit: Marvel Studios

Amid a damning report that exposes the inner workings of one of the biggest entertainment giants in Hollywood, Marvel Studios, it seems like the upcoming sequel to director Nia DaCosta’s Captain Marvel (2019) isn’t expected to impress at the box office after earning “middling reviews” during a public test screening, spelling trouble for the high-flying hero and her place in the Multiverse Saga.

The Marvels IMAX poster Monica Rambeau, Captain Marvel, and Kamala Khan standing around each other
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Marvel Desperate To Save Brie Larson, Brings in New Team

It’s no secret that Marvel has struggled to find its footing in the aftermath of its critically acclaimed Infinity Saga, which culminated ten years of storytelling in 2019’s multi-billion dollar hit, Avengers: Endgame.

Since then, the studio has made commendable efforts to expand the MCU on Disney+, all to varying levels of success. On the one hand, WandaVision scored the studio multiple Emmy Awards, and the Tom Hiddleston-fronted Loki became one of the most-watched TV shows on the streaming platform. Meanwhile, lukewarm installments, including She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and the more recent Secret Invasionfell flat with audiences, tarnishing the franchise’s legacy.

Tatiana Maslany in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: ‘The Marvels’ Suffered Behind the Scenes, Director Reportedly Abandoned Production

Now, with the days of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) seeming more and more like a distant memory, Marvel is shifting its attentions toward the next era of MCU stories, which, until earlier this year, were supposed to be led by Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror.

However, Majors’ franchise future is looking bleak as the actor prepares to stand trial for an alleged domestic violence case after he was arrested in New York City on assault and harassment charges back in March.

Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Credit: Marvel Studios

A new exposé from Variety addresses the studio’s Kang problem, with Marvel boss Kevin Feige reportedly holding a “retreat” for top executives to debate over whether or not to replace him for Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (2026) following his recent controversy and negative responses to his appearance in Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023). While the studio hasn’t made any movies — to public knowledge, at least — just yet, the outcome of Majors’ trial could be the final nail in the coffin.

The Variety piece doesn’t exactly paint Marvel’s situation in a positive light, and it spares no mercy when addressing the air of uncertainty that surrounds the Brie-Larson led Captain Marvel (2019) sequel, The Marvels (2023), which flies into theaters next weekend.

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) flying with Goose in 'The Marvels'
Credit: Marvel Studios

It’s safe to say that audiences haven’t been kind to the Captain Marvel franchise ever since Air Force pilot-turned-Kree warrior Carol Davers first arrived on the big screen in 2019. Many rolled their eyes at Brie Laron’s “nonchalant” and “flat” performance of the titular hero, who, despite boasting some impressive powers, seriously lacked in character development, ultimately helping to save the day in Endgame.

Still, Captain Marvel grossed Disney and Marvel over $1 billion worldwide, making it a surprising box office hit. But with The Marvels, which will team up Carol with Ms. Marvel breakout star Iman Vellani and Disney+ WandaVision alum Teyonah Parris, who play Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, respectively, many have their doubts that the sequel will dazzle audiences. 

Every member of The Marvels looking up into the distance
Credit: Marvel Studios

According to the Variety report, fans who got a chance to see a public test screening of The Marvels gave it “middling” reviews, signaling imminent disaster for the studio after the blockbuster suffered the worst ticket pre-sales of any MCU entry post-pandemic.

The early screening, which was held in Texas sometime in June — well before the article’s publication — allegedly left audiences wanting more, with many giving it so-so reviews; they generally didn’t think it was necessarily tremendous or poor, just average.

Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in 'The Marvels'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Surprisingly, this report directly contradicts another leak from trusted entertainment insider KC Walsh, who previously stated that The Marvels test screenings received nothing but “positive praise,” especially when compared to other MCU Phase Five films that have been released in 2023.

It’s important to note that Marvel Studios doesn’t usually show test screenings of its movies to public audiences, instead only giving Disney employees access to special showings. So, why did The Marvels get such a rare opportunity?

Zawe Ashton as Dar-Benn powering up her arm for combat in The Marvels
Credit: Marvel Studios

Well, with the MCU’s reputation hanging by a thread in the aftermath of projects like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Quantumania, and Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), it’s not surprising that studio heads would want to get more of a read on audiences’ responses to upcoming releases, as to, hopefully, avoid another critical and financial flop.

In the five months between the test screening and The Marvels’ release, a lot of elements could’ve been polished up, and Marvel could’ve easily taken the feedback that it received from the audience to make some adjustments to the Captain Marvel sequel to make it more enjoyable. A slew of reports have confirmed that the movie underwent four weeks of reshoots in response to the low test scores, meaning we could see a better version of the story when it arrives in theaters later this month.

Kamala Khan, Monica Rambeau, and Captain Marvel fighting in The Marvels
Credit: Marvel Studios

Ultimately, these reviews are subjective, meaning those looking forward to seeing The Marvels in theaters shouldn’t dash hopes just yet. If Marvel Studios did indeed take the time to carefully and thoughtfully rework the film ahead of its premiere, then the comic book sequel could potentially rescue the floundering Multiverse Saga from inevitable demise. But that’s a lot of expectations to put on the shoulders of a movie that audiences don’t seem to want to succeed, unfortunately.

Only time will tell if The Marvels can beat the odds when it arrives in theaters on November 10, 2023.

Are you looking forward to seeing The Marvels, or are you skipping it? Let us know in the comments below!

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