Note: “The Avengers” is referred to as “Avengers Assemble” because that’s how it was released here.
When I was a child, being seen as “nerdy” or “geeky” was practically the highest form of insult apart from “gay”. You were a weirdo for even acknowledging the existence of Doctor Who and Star Trek and heaven forbid if you want to talk about them. This is especially true on the island where I was raised where boys are supposed to like football and rugby and nothing else. Then one whole year before I was due to start at secondary school, it happened- the Marvel Cinematic Universe emerged.
Prior to this, superhero films did not have the best reputation. The early Superman and Batman films gained praise but then came Daredevil and Catwoman which received negative reviews across the board. They were slow and poorly directed with writing that would make the Star Wars prequels blush. in 2008 the well written, excellently directed, beautifully scored, story driven Iron Man changed everything. For the first time in a long time superhero films could be serious without being dark and fun without being camp. This structure, soon to be the winning MCU Formula, would be used in a further 4 films leading up to Avengers Assemble in 2012. By this time, I was well into my secondary education and had discovered a group of like-minded people who were invested in not just these characters, but superheros in general. One particular soul would go on to spend our entire friendship reminding me that 2000 AD was as good, if not better than, DC and Marvel. He is right of course and, provided you’re of age, the 2012 Judge Dredd film is worth a watch.
Avengers Assemble would go on to become one of the highest grossing films of all time, making $1.52 Billion worldwide, and so the MCU grew. Relatively unknown names like Star-Lord and Black Panther would become household names and so here we stand. After 21 films, 11 years and Billions of dollars we stand on the precipice of what could be one of the biggest moments in cinematic history. I have become invested in its stories, its mythos and its soundtracks, but more importantly in the community it has brought about. I have made lifelong friends who are as into this franchise as I am. People who are eager to see what awaits and speculate what that may be.
Tonight isn’t the end of this franchise, there will be more to come, but it is the end of an era. Perhaps, if we’re very lucky, an ending worthy of the great Stan Lee. Tonight is for him.
We miss you Stan, now and forever…