Representation has been at the heart of why Pakistanis tuned in to watch Ms. Marvel, and has completely overtaken the narrative around the show, with very little said about its actual content. Ultimately, though, the series makes for good TV that the whole family can watch, and holds its own against other MCU shows (think WandaVision, Loki, Hawkeye).
At the heart of it, it’s a quintessential coming of age superhero show, targeted mainly at a young audience.
It’s solid and engaging, keeping audiences sufficiently hooked until the last episode. And their loyalty does not go unrewarded because episode 6 really takes the show to the next level.
But let’s start from the beginning.
Pakistanis were invested in the show because the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fan following in this country, as elsewhere globally, is huge. You’d have to be living under a rock not to have seen at least some of its 30-something movies and six Disney+ TV shows.
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What really pulled them in though was that although the MCU is made up of multiverses, humans, mutants, aliens, robots, Norse gods, billionaire techies, really everything imaginable, there was one thing Pakistanis never thought they would see. Someone like them in a main role.
There is general consensus now that Ms. Marvel has done for Pakistanis – immigrant and otherwise – what Crazy Rich Asians and Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings did for Asian Americans.
One fan, who has loved Spiderman since he learnt to walk, said “I have family in New Jersey. And I see my cousins in Ms. Marvel, dealing with desi issues and Islamophobia.
“Plus there is now someone in the MCU that young, Muslim Pakistani American girls and boys can look up to and literally see themselves in. How cool is that?”
Very cool, indeed.
Another viewer told me: “the overall storytelling in general of MCU TV shows is not something I’m a huge fan of, and the fact that Pakistani culture was being shown in an MCU show automatically made me like Ms. Marvel more than the others.”