Back in 2017, Marvel Entertainment announced an initiative that would broaden the horizons of Marvel’s television domain. In this initiative, the production of multiple animated series and films would commence to familiarize the next generation of comic book fans with some pretty awesome characters. MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS takes part in that initiative as it brings fan favorites together for brand new adventures!

The development of MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS has been widely noted for its emphasis on the inclusion of a diverse cast of characters. This focus on inclusion has been lauded by comic book fans, particularly women, who have been longing to see a superhero team-up that primarily consists of female characters. Thankfully, this film does just that in an entertaining, authentic manner.

MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS is certainly an adventure film. On top of that though, significant thematic elements layer the film, ones that contribute to the film’s overall quality.

marvel rising: secret warriors
Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel in MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Marvelous

MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS primarily focuses on the friendship between Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel and Doreen Green aka Squirrel Girl. What I admire most about the two’s relationship is their unwavering admiration for superheroes. They are young heroes, so they maintain a naivety when it comes to conflicts on a more external scale. They also struggle to balance their heroic responsibilities with personal and familial conflicts, particularly Kamala.

However, that naivety isn’t necessarily a flaw amongst the two. Rather, their perception of superheroes and their desire to save the world despite being young reminds us of our own admiration of superheroes when we were young. Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl have fun being heroes, which allows us to be right there with them on this exciting new adventure.

Now, the two do experience plenty of growth throughout the movie. UAtthe beginning of the film, Kamala is still trying to understand her powers. This struggle is further challenged when she and Doreen find themselves in the midst of a conflict involving a rogue Inhuman named Dante, who is dealing with his own struggles of controlling his powers. Various forces are pursuing Dante, some of which maintain cruel motives. As a result, the two come to discover the prejudice against Inhumans in general.

Thus, we get to see Kamala and Doreen navigate more serious conflicts they may not have necessarily been prepared to face. Because of that, we see their authentic reactions to new, significant issues. We see them make mistakes yet rise above them.

We also witness them learn to work alongside others who come from vastly different backgrounds.

marvel rising: secret warriors
Doreen Green aka Squirrel Girl in MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Decent

One of the characters Kamala and Doreen work alongside most in the film is none other than America Chavez. Her presence in Marvel Comics dates back to 2011, and since that debut, she has made quite the impact on readers. She embodies Latin-American and LGBTQ+ representation. So, there is a multitude of people who are looking forward to that representation being translated itself into television form.

As a fan of her character, it was especially exciting to see her in action in this film. MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS showcases the extent of her powers in addition to her motivations for using them for good. It was especially exciting to see her fight alongside fantastic characters such as Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl.

With that being said, I do wish we got more of America in the film. Yes, we get insight into her backstory. We get a taste of who she is and where she comes from. However, I ultimately wish we got to see her interact more with her newest allies throughout the film to get a deeper understanding of her identity and where she sees her place in the world as a hero.

marvel rising: secret warriors
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Astonishing

I also wish for the same development of Dante’s character, who is arguably the most complex in the film. He maintains a significant, overarching arc throughout the film that resolves itself neatly. However, I believe the film only scratched the surface of who Dante is.

Hopefully, upcoming features will flesh out these particular characters more and give us more insight into their journey of understanding who they are as heroes.

Also, fans of Spider-Gwen may be disappointed to discover that Earth-65’s Gwen Stacy does not make an appearance in MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS. Rather, her debut as Ghost-Spider will take place in another animated feature. I know I was looking forward to seeing her take on her latest alias alongside the rest of the team, but I guess we have to wait on that for some time.

The world of MARVEL RISING has only just begun. So although we may not be totally familiarized with characters like Ghost Spider and Dante just yet in the television form, those developments are undoubtedly en route. My main hope is that all of these characters are given an opportunity to shine as they each represent their own authentic interpretation of a hero.

The Verdict on MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS

Overall, MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS is a great time. Squirrel Girl is absolutely hysterical. I found myself laughing out loud at various points throughout the film due to Doreen’s wit. I also adore her relationship with Ms. Marvel. They are friendship goals as they continuously support each other, even when one makes a mistake.

It is also worth noting that some of the members of the Avengers make an appearance in the film. Captain Marvel plays a rather significant role. However, she does not take away from the younger heroes’ presence in the film. She is certainly a mentor, particularly to Kamala, but she does not cast an overwhelming shadow. I appreciate how Captain Marvel’s role does not take away from Kamala’s personal journey.

This movie is about the younger generation of Marvel superheroes through and through. They truly enjoy being superheroes and it’s so fun to watch their adventures. I’m looking forward to seeing what this gang of heroes gets up to next!

MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS premieres September 30th on Disney Channel and Disney XD.

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