Avengers.... Assemble!TWITTER/CINEPHILE

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has long confused and intrigued me. Its various components and characters weave together throughout the franchise, with multiple universes supposedly interlinking, all connected by various titles and taglines. Realising that even the Guardians of the Galaxy films were related, messed with my mind more than I care to admit. It seemed that lockdown was the perfect time to actually work out what was going on.

I had seen the Iron Man films courtesy of my dad and brother and had loved them. I’d never felt a pull to any of the other films — that is, until lockdown. Specifically, until my sister interrupted my work one afternoon and showed me a couple of TikToks of Tom Hiddleston as Loki. As an outlet for her online school stress and my grammar and year abroad organising, we picked a film at random from the list Disney+ helpfully offered, and got watching. We chose Thor: The Dark World purely because we wanted to watch Loki. I must emphasise that this was the sole reason my sister would have even considered beginning to watch them with me. What I can’t explain, however, is why we didn’t logically begin with the first Thor film, or even the original Avengers Assemble. I honestly don’t think it mattered to us at the time. To cut a long story short, we were confused, perhaps unsurprisingly. What had happened in New York? Why was Stellan Skarsgård running naked around Stonehenge? What was this woman’s deal with Thor? Equally, we were disappointed by how minimal a role Loki played. Nonetheless, we were excited for more, and I began to see a little of why these films are so popular.


We then went back and watched the original Thor film, and a few more of the Avengers films. At that stage, I can safely say that we were still only in it for Thor and Loki, perhaps Iron Man at a push. Captain America was irritating, Black Widow was cool but seemed to be the love interest of every man in the room, and I didn’t know Hawkeye’s name until well after we had watched the entire series through. We arrived at the big two final films, Infinity War and Endgame, with trepidation. We knew something happened, with characters dropping like flies, but felt we had to finish our journey. They were difficult watches. Our haphazard watching had meant that I had formed little emotional attachment to some of the characters, having become very involved in a mere handful of them. It seemed that special pleasure was taken in the heartrending separations and deaths of some of the characters we loved the most. Infinity War had my sister and I struggling from the start. We saw no reason to continue after the first ten minutes. Towards the end, the memes I had seen from a few years ago finally made sense. We were weeping real tears. Endgame was slightly better, although watching Ant-Man would probably have made the whole appearance of Paul Rudd and his time-machine seem less like a handy plot device and more natural. As stressful as it was seeing the characters go back in time, it was entertaining, and left an opening for the upcoming Loki series on Disney+ (the only thing keeping me going at the minute).

“Immersing yourself in the characters and allowing yourself to care about the trials they face, makes the whole thing much more exciting.”

One thing I will say for Endgame is, perhaps obviously, that it only gets better the more characters you know. We watched two Captain America films recently, and finally understanding who Bucky is (*sob*), among other characters, makes the final scenes of Endgame much more powerful. It would at least reduce the running commentary my sister and I had going — statements like: “Oh, she must be the Wasp, the wings make sense now!” and “These must be Doctor Strange’s friends, they have the weird magic circles on their hands too.” You do warm up to the characters, and their backstories only make the finale even more satisfying. Already, Captain America is less of a drag because we have since experienced his origins right along with him — equally, Black Widow is less of a foil to the heroic male narrative than she appeared before. Immersing yourself in the characters and allowing yourself to care about the trials they face, makes the whole thing much more exciting.


Mountain View

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In spite of the severe emotional trauma the MCU appears to have been building up to for a decade or so, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure how passionate a Marvel fan I was going to become — it all seemed a bit high-stakes too quickly, and, honestly, Thanos became more irritating than terrifying after he refused to die. However, since I’ve had more time to get to know the characters, I’m getting increasingly hooked, to the point where my sister drops by my room at 5pm each day to ask which film we’re watching today. We’ve gone back to the beginning, watching films we had skipped over in our initial watch. I am not sure I’m enjoying the films entirely in the spirit they were created — they seem a bit high-stakes and the women’s outfits often involve easy-to-remove zipped articles, depicted extensively with the occasional gratuitous shot. That said, they don’t hold back on discussing America’s Ass, either.

I have to say that even if it’s only to re=watch Loki, or because lockdown entertainment is getting a little thin on the ground (I’m going to have to start watching Bridgerton or something ludicrous next), I’m in for good.