So during quarantine, I have decided to tackle a monumental task that I have been putting off for years. It always seemed so daunting and if I didn’t start then I wouldn’t have the pressure to continue. And what if I do start and my obsessive personality never allows me to stop? But it’s such a part of our culture and our world that I was feeling like I was missing out on something. Then we were handed a nationwide quarantine and I was given the one thing I needed: time.
The time I need to finally watch the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So that's what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. Upon researching, I decided to go about watching them in chronological order, and at the point of posting this piece I have watched through Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And for those of you who are wondering, so far my favorite movie has been Iron Man 3 and my favorite avenger is most definitely Chris Evans as Captain America. I also acknowledge that I am only beginning this full journey and I have much to still learn and see.
One of the reasons I put off watching these movies for so long was because I figured they were all just movies that followed the same basic plot and included a lot of action and stunts. So basically a whole bunch of movies that were the exact same thing. I was definitely wrong about that. The plots are much more complex and nuanced than I originally thought, and I found myself even pausing the movie to check in with my sister that I was following everything correctly.
However, even with all their complexity and twists and turns, each of these movies still have something in common. About three quarters into the movie before the big final fight or action sequence, it really seems like the bad guy is going to win.
Hydra is taking over, or Iron Monger is about to take down Iron Man, or Loki just used the tesseract to open up a portal and let crazy robot monsters attack New York City. Whatever the case is for that particular movie, the ending always looks bad.
My point is, we’re kinda in that part of the movie right now.
The Coronavirus is attacking the world and right now, it feels like nobody's ever going to be able to save us from its destruction. It looks absolutely hopeless and you’re wondering how will we ever get out of this one? How can our heroes beat this great, overwhelming force that is trying to destroy us. Especially when the people in power are also corrupt and ignorant. The virus is smarter and more advanced than we ever gave it credit for. Wouldn’t it be easier if we just gave up right now?
But here’s the other thing that happens in all the Marvel movies I’ve seen so far, the heroes always win.
They always find a way to overcome all the odds and defeat the villain. And we will too.
It may not be without sacrifices. We may have some fears that follow us after this time. Everything won’t go back to the complete normal it was before this occurred. We will be changed by this experience, there’s no way to deny that. Just like every superhero is affected and changed by each foe they encounter. But the fighting just makes them that much stronger.
I realize that this may seem a little silly. I’m talking about fictional characters fighting aliens and bad guys with extraordinary abilities. But we are real characters fighting a bad virus with extraordinary abilities.
Mr. Rogers is famous for saying that whenever we’re in times of trial you have to “look for the helpers.” Well, I’m going to adapt that a little bit and say that at this time, we need to look for the helpers and the heroes.
If you look around at the world, you’ll see all kinds of superheroes who aren’t giving up. Doctors, nurses, first responders, and researchers are fighting on the front lines taking down one robot at a time while teachers, caregivers, grocery store workers, and fast food employees are keeping our country rolling along. And if you have the ability to, right now you get to be a hero just by staying at home. After all, if every hero was fighting in the same way, we wouldn’t win. We need everyone to master different roles in order to work as an effective team.
Marvel is full of broader themes and meanings. One I’ve recognized is the promise that the heroes always win no matter how big the villain appears. The other is that together we are always stronger than when we’re fighting alone. Why else do you think Nick Fury wanted to get all these superheroes together to form the Avengers?
Right now, we as a global community are the Avengers of the world. And while we’re in that scary part of the story right now where our enemy seems terrifying and impenetrable, remember, a happy ending is coming as long as we keep doing our part in the fight.