Could Bad CGI Ruin ‘Ms. Marvel’?

When it comes to visual effects, Marvel movies typically don’t cause much concern. They’re the most successful franchise in the movies right now, and a significant part of that comes down to effects wizardry, whether it’s depicting the very small world of Ant-Man or de-aging Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel

At the same time, some fans think there are certain kinds of effects that are hard to get right, and it’s not a stretch to say the upcoming Ms. Marvel TV show might feature some of those.

Beyond that, there is also a school of thought that Marvel relies too heavily on CGI. 

Who is Ms. Marvel?

Kevin Feige
Kevin Feige | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

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Ms. Marvel causes some confusion among people who aren’t die-hard comics fans, but here’s the gist: She’s not Captain Marvel, as embodied by Carol Danvers, although Danvers used the name Ms. Marvel at one point.

The Ms. Marvel of this show is Marvel’s first Muslim hero, Kamala Kahn, whose powers include shape-shifting, changing her size, and the ability to heal quickly.

According to Fandom, Production Weekly described the show this way: 

“Khan broke ground by becoming Marvel’s first Muslim character to be lead her own comics title. Her identity as a Pakistani American, living in a religious family in New Jersey whilst trying to find her own way, have been a major focus of the stories. Her powers have been described as polymorphous, meaning she has the ability to stretch and change her shape.”

Actress Iman Vellani has been cast as the lead, with the show expecting to premiere sometime this year, although no precise date has been revealed. Marvel released a “sizzle reel” earlier in January at its Investors Day event, which announced several movies and shows for this year and beyond. 

Why are fans concerned about the effects in ‘Ms Marvel?’

On Reddit, a Marvel fan asked this question: “We haven’t really seen stretchy powers in movies recently. Could that be because they look horrible? Every time I see stretchy powers on movies, or tv shows, they always look horrible. I really don’t know if they can pull this off, CGI wise. How about you guys? Do you think the CGI will be good, or will it fail?”

When it comes to “stretchy powers,” the fan is probably referring to the Fantastic Four movies and Mr. Fantastic. None of those movies was made by Marvel Studios, which makes the MCU movies, but the three Fantastic Four movies Fox released have middling to bad reputations, and dodgy effects work ties into that. 

One fan lamented, “The Reed Richards stuff in every FF movie looked awful. They’re going to have to really up their game to make Ms. Marvel not look silly.” But another fan responded, “They have 150 million dollars. It’ll be fine.” 

Does Marvel overdo it with CGI?

Still, Marvel is hardly immune to criticism. While their effects are generally considered impressive, with multiple Oscar nominations, some feel that the studio has leaned too hard on digital wizardry.

Screen Rant argued that the big airport battle in Captain America: Civil War was all too obviously shot with green screens, and that the Iron Man suit looked less and less convincing over time. This is borne out by the fact that the suit became less and less practical with successive films. 

Having raked in billions of dollars with their 23 movies, Marvel Studios has no financial limitations for their visual effects. If WandaVision is any indication, production values will match those of the movies. Essentially the shows will be like a series of very short movies, or one long movie.