Scalded cat fears cold water. After three first phases having had a string of resounding successes, filling theaters and exploding revenues, Marvel Studios (owned by Disney) were forced to recognize it: phases 4 and 5 of their cinematographic universe were overall failures which required a questioning.

Worried by the very chilly reception that Ant-Man and the Wasp received. Quantumania (released in February 2023), then somewhat invigorated by the box office numbers achieved by Guardians of the Galaxy. Volume 3 (May 2023), the studios chose caution on their latest production, The Marvels. The third film of phase 5 reduces risk-taking, returns to basics and adopts a rather classic form in the genre. Quite an effective work, in short, which, if not mind-blowing, allows fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to find their bearings, while reserving for them some unexpected, quite refreshing sequences.

Without equaling Avengers. Endgame by Anthony and Joe Russo (December 2019) which had grossed 2.7 billion dollars, Captain Marvel by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (March 2019) had placed itself among the successes, with 1.1 billion collected in the world. Four years later, water has flowed under the bridge, superheroes have finally grown tired, the movement

Destabilize the galaxy

No need, however, to have seen these previous productions to follow Nia DaCosta’s film which, during the first part, verbose and a bit convoluted, is responsible for putting these three heroines into perspective, the links that unite them and the way in which they will have to travel together to save the Universe. On this point, nothing new. Except that Carol Danvers will have to repair the damage caused following her previous victory over the Kree. Deprived of resources, the latter, led by the formidable Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) have no other recourse than to open holes in the atmosphere in order to suck in, where they are, the light and the ‘water. Which has the unfortunate consequence of destabilizing the entire galaxy.

The combat that begins leads to different planets (and its share of fantastically inspired settings, more or less futuristic architecture), takes you through sidereal space, this infinite black hole that splits, like laser rockets, the silhouettes of our three superheroines. A bit nostalgic, the show is adorned with special effects which, by dint of being repeated, end up boring. Fortunately saved two or three times by welcome episodes of self-deprecation. And some strange parentheses. Such as this Bollywood sequence which, before the final assault (outrageously stretched), transports us into the enchanted and kitsch world of a musical where Captain Marvel becomes, in the instant of a dance, princess of a kingdom (we are at Disney). Like this other sequence where dozens of kittens, as soon as they are born, begin to suck up everything that moves, thanks to the tentacles that escape from their mouths.

For the rest, director Nia DaCosta seems to stick to the specifications. Hardly more or less. Like the actresses and actors who lend their bodies more than their talent to the role assigned to them. It’s hard to do better when all the lines are essentially aimed at explaining what’s going on.