Marvel Rising: Chasing Ghosts Is So Much Worse

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Chasing Ghosts Fails At Nearly Every Single Scene

Marvel Rising: Chasing Ghosts is terrible. I don’t like being this negative, but wow, is this the worst of the Marvel Rising projects I’ve watched. As a follow-up to Initiation, it’s just baffling how poorly everything was handled. I’m less than halfway through these pseudo-short-films, and my hope for them took a mighty blow.

And this is almost entirely because of problems I already knew were a part of these—it was just never this aggressive before. I’ll go into detail, but two words sum it up: “animation” and “tone.”

Now, to be clear on that first point, less complex animation isn’t the issue. But how less complex animation is used, well, that can make all the difference—and Chasing Ghosts breaks several things with how poorly its visual storytelling is handled. I have to spoil a little to even explain why. In the final battle scene, there are myriad small issues. Patriot’s shield feels like it teleports. How close any character is to another, or even where they are in a very tiny space, is actively hard to track. I’m pretty sure Squirrel Girl cancels her own momentum at one point.

But the most egregious of them, so bad I have to devote this paragraph to it, is a subplot about a coordinated attack move that the Secret Warriors are practicing. You can’t have a team trying to learn to work together and then cut away when the characters successfully pull it off. That’s not just annoying; it’s downright amateur. The only redemption possible is if we see it in a different Marvel Rising story.

Now, maybe I wouldn’t have minded as much if I hadn’t already been writing off Chasing Ghosts from that secondly mentioned tone problem. The promise of a cool superhero moment would’ve been enough to introduce cohesion somewhere and stop Chasing Ghosts from collapsing. But nope—I got disappointment and a lack of cohesion. The comedy tone of Squirrel Girl and this version of Ms. Marvel already clashed with Ghost Spider’s much more serious story in Initiation, but adding the other Secret Warriors made it worse. It even seems to be infecting Gwen’s solo scenes. The decision to have a person with Spider-Senses chasing a murderer end with what appeared to be an unlocked cellar door full of only purple jelly is so absurd that I don’t blame you for thinking I made that up. I like goofy superhero stories. I like serious superhero stories. Pick one, Marvel Rising. Please.

Up until now, I could’ve mildly recommended these stories if you like these characters. Kamala and Gwen are my personal favorites, and I was curious to see how they dealt with the growing romance between Patriot and Squirrel Girl. And maybe the other Marvel Rising projects will be better, more interesting, probably more focused on hijinks and comedy—we can only hope—but Chasing Ghosts is, once again, terrible. But it’s also pivotal to the ongoing narrative. You can’t avoid it. So, if you want the full story, I can only warn you that there’s suffering to be had.  

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