‘Ms. Marvel’ directors name Spike Lee and ‘Boy Meets World’ as unlikely inspirations

Ms. Marvel
Image via Marvel Studios/Disney Plus

Ms. Marvel, which premiered its first episode this week on Disney Plus, has instantly made a big impression on MCU fans. There’s a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is Iman Vellani’s immensely endearing leading turn as Kamala Khan, but the show’s vibrant visuals are right up there. The pilot sported a real creative flair and featured various eye-popping moments. And for that we have the directors’ eclectic mix of i ya ww2 ml we will:-nspirations to thank.

The men behind the camera, Bad Boys for Life duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, opened up about how they approached directing Ms. Marvel while chatting to The Wrap. Adil & Bilall, as they’re professionally known, revealed that they wanted to emulate the energy of the original Marvel comics on screen, which led them to cultivating an Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse meets Scott Pilgrim vibe. As Al Arbi explained:

Well, we were attracted by the vibrancy and the colors of the comic books and at the same time, we wanted to really have this comic book aesthetic and aspect and homage to it. And it was something that was actually not in the script, her dream world and all that. We wanted to go inside her head and start off right away with that stop motion that she would do and the murals that come to life and the text messages. We really had this idea of having this animation aesthetic inspired by Into the Spider-Verse and Scott Pilgrim.

The influence of Sony’s animated Spider-Man flick and Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim were immediately obvious to viewers upon seeing the first ep, but El Arbi went on to namedrop a few other, much less expected, inspirations for Ms. Marvel‘s fast camera work. The director referenced a range of touchstones, from the work of Spike Lee to iconic kids’ sitcom Boy Meets World. El Arbi continued:

And at the same time, just the fast paced, like a lot of camera movements, colors, and things that we were inspired by Spike Lee, by the way that he shows New York in this colorful, funky way, we want Jersey to be the same thing, the same vibe and the John Hughes movies and Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, Boy Meets World, Saved By the Bell, all these high school American TV shows that we grew up with being in Belgium. We’re looking up to that. So that’s been the idea.

While a bit of an unprecedented combination, now that the directors have pointed out it, you can see how these other movies and TV shows fed into Ms. Marvel, from Lee’s love of New York as a setting to the coming-of-age storytelling of Boy Meets World and its ilk. The level of invention and film-literacy that Adil & Bilall have brought to their debut superhero project makes us doubly excited to see them hop over to the DC universe soon for HBO Max’s Batgirl flick.

Ms. Marvel unfolds new episodes Wednesdays on Disney Plus.