End of an Era
I watched Avengers: Endgame yesterday and it blew my mind. The three-hour epic had been hotly anticipated as the final chapter of a ten-year odyssey through the marvel universe. For me, it has been roughly thirty years in the making.
I sat in the sold-out Saturday afternoon full of anticipation. I had managed to banish my two children to the realms of Nana’s and Granddads for three hours. I was adorned with my Loki T-shirt which has the slogan ‘I am burdened with glorious purpose’; my popcorn, nachos and drink held tentatively to avoid a full-on food disaster in front of a hoard of people. I was nervous, but why? Why was I so nervous about something so trivial as a film.
However, this was not just a film; this was a culmination of many years of my life; of reading comics, watching countless TV episodes and films and even playing Marvel Top Trumps. If they got this wrong I would be mortified; now, after years of having a cult following, Marvel had been accepted into mainstream society, it was ‘on trend’ to talk about the battles of the X-Men and The Avengers, would they mess it up? I saw a plethora of society in that cinema, all experiencing three hours of pure cinematic bliss; families, groups of adults and teenagers all laughing at the comic moments and wiping away tears in the sad sections.
At one pivotal moment in the film, I wept with joy; I was not meant to cry at this point but I was so overwhelmed I could not help it. I held my husband’s hand tightly as he consoled me, knowing exactly why I felt so full of emotions, it was my own emotional epiphany. I was a Marvel nerd and I was proud to be one; everything I thought about humanity and how we should be with each other was shown on screen and I could not get enough.
A Geek from Birth
My memories of Saturdays full of Spiderman, Spiderman and his Amazing Friends, the X-Men and The Incredible Hulk fill me full of joy. I was taken in by the fantasy; it was a means to escape being an average child in an average town, if only for half an hour. The creations of Stan Lee taught me that superheroes were not perfect; they were usually social outcasts but showed courage, resilience and determination to use their powers for the good of humanity.
I recently taught a lesson with a year eight class about self-belief, the students knowing I love Marvel started to engage in a conversation about qualities that superheroes possess that are not deemed to be their superpower. Although Captain America has super strength, he also has loyalty and selflessness, putting his own needs above that of others for the ‘greater good’. Likewise, Iron man would not be able to be the superhero without his amazing intellect and determination. Spiderman would not be the same without his spirit, sticking up for the ‘little guy’ and bringing an abundance of enthusiasm. My own personal favourite; Deadpool would be nothing but a gun for hire with regeneration without his absurd sense of humour and love of unicorns.
My love affair with the Marvel universe at one point was the source of ridicule. I was classed as a ‘geek’ and a ‘nerd’ because I swam against the current. My primary school friends played horses or house while I yearned to be Firestar or Storm. I kept my love for superheroes a secret, I was in the closet for a long time.
It was only when I met my adorable husband that I could safely come out of the closet as the true geek that I am and be proud of it. My husband nurtured my love of Marvel and encouraged it, I felt accepted and loved. My husband has taught me to embrace and love the things that bring me joy, even if it involves fancy dress and a huge collection of Funko Pops.
I have my son’s Spiderman blanket on my chair at work along with a Spiderman coffee cup and I often get asked why I have them. The tone of the question is usually a curious one as I am the same age as many of their parents. I usually turn to them with a smile and say ‘because it makes me happy and it reminds me that superheroes are everywhere.’ I am approaching forty and I would rather spend my time surrounded by stuff to do with Marvel than adult stuff, so sue me if I do not conform to expectations. I am happy and that is all that matters. In the words of the amazing Stan Lee:
Another definition of a hero is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being and will go out of his or her way to help them — even if there is no chance of a reward. That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero
Favourite Marvel stuff
Favourite Female superhero: Firestar
Favourite Male superhero: Deadpool
Favourite Villain: Loki
Favourite Comic: Avengers vs X-men
Top 5 Marvel Films
I have chosen not to include my all time favourite which is Ant-Man as I have included it in my ‘Favourite Movies of All Time’ post which will be coming soon. There are so many Marvel films that I love that I had to create my own special countdown of my favourites.
This is one of my firm favourites mainly due to the villain, Loki, who I am fascinated with due to his complex character. Played by Tom Hiddleston to perfection, he shows something rare compared to other villains; depth of character. Tom, having being theatrically trained strived to bring history and realness to the character. He immerses himself into the role and brings the full charm of the God of Mischief to the screen. As an actor myself, I would rather play the complicated villain compared to the hero, maybe I have a sadistic streak.
The Avengers is also the first film that set the formula for other Marvel films; a mix of humour and action that does not take itself too seriously. Personally, I prefer Marvel to the DC universe because of the dash of ‘cheesiness’ that is rampant in The Avengers. This is classically shown in my favourite moment of the film where Hulk throws Loki back and forth on the floor ending with the words ‘Puny God’ as it cuts to a shot of Loki groaning in pain.
Captain America: First Avenger
The Chris Evans movie that establishes the history of good old Cap appeals to the history geek in me. It is the ultimate battle against adversity; Steve Rogers’ persistence to serve his country even with his vast list of health problems. Even without the super serum, Steve is an admirable human being who would gladly sacrifice his own needs over the good of humanity. He makes the ultimate sacrifices to keep the world safe from the dreaded tentacles of Hydra.
I connect with Steve Rogers’ optimism and tenacity to keep fighting and do the right thing, even in the face of failure.
I always brag that I liked Deadpool before it became cool. That might make me sound obnoxious but I am human and need to inflate my ego from time to time. It was my Husband who introduced me to Deadpool when we would play ‘Marvel Ultimate Alliance’ on the PlayStation 2. My husband even has a Deadpool Tattoo on his lower leg.
I was deeply disappointed when they ruined the character of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. When it was announced that Ryan Reynolds wanted to do a stand-alone movie I could not help but think that it would not happen or Wade Wilson’s wicked sense of humour and breaking of the fourth wall would not translate. I was extremely happy that Fox studio’s brought us an R rated, a sarcasm-filled film that satirises its own genre. Plus Ryan Reynolds is hot, even after his accident; it shows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Guardians of the Galaxy Two
This is ultimately a film about family and how you can find it in the most unlikely of places. Most people can identify with the idea of a ‘dysfunctional family’ after all the comics imitate the lives of their creators. It shows that the idea of a family does not need to be biological and can indeed be made up of the people you love. Being an only child I can identify with Peter Quill sense of loneliness but I have come to realise that I am not alone as I have the most amazing friend of over twenty years that is like a sister to me, she is firmly part of my family.
I love the second film of the franchise for two main reasons; Baby Groot and Yondu. Both of these characters make this film heartfelt and magical; the opening scene is a masterpiece set to one of my favourite songs Mr Blue Sky by ELO. The tale of Quill discovering his real father and the sacrifices a parent will make in order to protect their children through Yondu and Quill and Rocket and Groot warms my heart. This film encapsulates what it is like to be a parent and the awe-inspiring love you can feel for your family. Being a parent is not about perfection, it is loving each other for the dysfunctions that they have and embracing it.
Captain America Civil War
This provided a pivotal moment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the introduction of Spiderman and the heralding of Marvel history, I squealed when I first saw my favourite web-slinging hero appear on screen with the Avengers. Previously, Sony Pictures, having owned the rights to Spiderman on the big screen, had made their own stand-alone films, first with Toby Maguire and then with Andrew Garfield. Both Spidey film franchises failed to capture the true spirit of our friendly neighbourhood Spiderman who I loved as a child.
On realising the power of Marvel studies, now owned by Disney, Sony teamed up with them and history was made. Tom Holland was expertly cast as Peter Parker and Spiderman found his true home under the wing of Tony Stark’s Iron Man. The main thing that I love about Spiderman is his personality is the closest to my own and I can identify with the over-enthusiastic, geeky teenager who just wants to impress everyone and do a good job. The act of complimenting the superheroes he must fight against shows just how sweet a character Peter Parker is.
I refer to the original X-men film that saw Patrick Stewart take on the mantle of Charles Xavier and Sir Ian McKellen as his nemesis Magneto. It is also the film that birthed a massive crush on Hugh Jackman, who I love to watch in any film, apart from Les Miserables as the musical, although beautiful, depresses me.
Wolverine has worked alone most of his life but has huge chunks of his memory missing. When he meets Rogue, it takes him on a journey that, with the help of Charles and the X-men, will piece together the rich tapestry of one of Marvel’s greatest superheroes. I vividly remember dragging my Mum and Dad to see this film with excitement; my dream has come true, one of my favourite cartoons was on the big screen, although my favourite character Jubilee would be missing for around twenty years.
What do you think of the Marvel Universe, are you a superhero fan? I would love to find out your opinions in the comments below.
Ciao for now beauties xx