The journey of becoming a hero is more complicated than one would think. The decisions they go through and what they need to decide to do is what makes them who they are. Kamala Khan is finding out the hard way as she’s at a lot of different crossroads. It makes for a fantastic episode as we explore her dilemma.
Story: Bangles of Backstory
We finally get some explanation of what exactly are the bangles and it’s a little bit confusing. Granted we’re at the halfway point so we’re not getting the full explanation of them yet. It felt more like an exposition dump that went on for far too long. And top of that, it felt like the villain’s heel turn was way too sudden. In the beginning of the episode, you saw them get along with Kamala and suddenly they turned on her. They mentioned that the group doesn’t have more time, but it’s still unclear why. To say it’s at the tip of a hat would be underselling it to say the least.
That being said, it’s the only negative aspect of this episode as everything else is fantastic. For nearly the whole hour, we get a deep dive into Kamala’s process. There’s so much to handle with her being a superhero, but also factoring in her family and religion. She wants to do good, but doesn’t want the government to consider the mosque and Muslims a threat. On top of that, her family is also pressuring her as well.
Characters & Performances: Talking for Guidance
Everytime I think Iman Vellani has her best scene, she always tops herself by giving it her all. Any emotion on the spectrum, she pulls off to perfection. The moments where she’s fangirling or getting excitable is great, but the quieter moments have blown me away. When she talks to her mother, you can just hear the pain in her voice over the decisions she’ll need to make. We haven’t seen a lot of scenes of Kamala and her mother, Muneeba, bonding together, but hearing Muneeba’s monologue about the struggles about coming to America is a clear highlight.
The other moment is when she talks to her iman from the mosque outside of her party. This feels like her Uncle Ben moment of someone giving her advice that’ll define what kind of hero she’ll be. While in different circumstances, this is a very similar scene from the comics. The advice of “Good is not a thing you are, Kamala. It is a thing you do” sends chills down my spine. Combined with how Vellani takes everything in while you feel the wait on her shoulders is a great showcase for the talented newcomer.
Cinematography & Sound: Wedding Dances & Bon Jovi
There’s a lot of scenes in the MCU that has put a big stupid smile on my face. In this episode, there’s one scene that is instant Dopamine that goes to my brain. That scene is the wedding reception sequence. I can’t really explain why seeing this makes me so happy. It just feels like a celebration that feels like pure joy. The choreography has the perfect mix of being professional without being too pristine. If it was really rehearsed then it would have taken the viewer out of it. It does look like the Khan family were rehearsing, but they’re not professionals. I can watch it over and over again just to be beaming with delight.
There’s another clip that almost took that spot and that was Kamal’s first fight scene. We finally got to see the embiggen fist in action and it’s awesome. What takes this sequence to the next level is the music behind it. If you have a superhero show set in New Jersey, you better have either Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi playing. To have a fight scene set to “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi playing is simply fantastic.
Editing & Pacing: Starting Off Slow
The bangle exposition at the beginning wasn’t the best start to this episode. It’s just felt like information overload and since these powers aren’t from the comics, even readers would have a hard time as well. Afterwards, it goes back on path, but maybe having an information dump wasn’t the best idea. We don’t have as much as the extraordinary editing from the first two episodes. Even know it could symbolize that Kamala isn’t daydreaming as much, it did establish an identity for the show.