“It’s not about how much we lost, it’s about how much we have left.”
-Tony Stark/Iron Man
“It’s not about how much we lost, it’s about how much we have left.”
-Tony Stark/Iron Man
“Part of the journey is the end.”
To say that Stanley Martin Lieber – a.k.a. Stan “The Man” Lee was a legend would be an understatement. The man’s impact on the world of not just comic books, or pop culture, but the world itself is not something one can begin to measure. And the impact the man’s work had on my own life – namely his co-creation Spider-Man – there’s just no words.
And of course, my personal favorite scene from my top favorite animated series.
RIP Stan Lee, and thank you for not just allowing us to escape, but for reinventing what a superhero is and should be, and for teaching us all real life lessons through your co-creations, from responsibility to self-acceptance and self-forgiveness and never give up on doing the right thing.
There’s the old adage that time flies when you’re having fun.
And in the case of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that saying couldn’t be more true.
And mind you, it’s only been ten years.
That’s right Arcaders, only ten years.
And yet it doesn’t seem to feel that long.
But either way, we can all agree that this universe has grown into something truly special.
“There was an idea…”
The film that kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And even that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Doing a superhero film is challenging enough, but with a Marvel character that was more third-rate as opposed to Spider-Man and X-Men? And on top of that, the character wasn’t exactly well-liked among comic book fans due to what had been happening in the comics at that time.
And just to really make things even more controversial, director Jon Favreau makes the decision to cast Robert Downey Jr., who was trying to make a comeback. In many ways one would think that after factoring in all of those things there would be yet another box-office flop, but yet…despite all of that, the film succeeded. And not only did it revitalize RDJ’s career, but it made Iron Man a household name and introduce the staple of post-credit scenes, with this particular one hinting at something bigger to come.
The Incredible Hulk
With this one, we are introduced to our favorite gamma-based hero but more in the style of a beloved TV series, which does not disappoint, and continues the building of this universe.
Iron Man 2
We meet Tony Stark again, but this time he’s having to deal with more issues beyond his now occasional self-centered attitude: The government wanting to obtain his armored suits; the son of his late father’s associate wanting revenge on Stark for what happened to the former years ago; and the worst part – trying to find a way to keep the Arc Reactor in his body from slowly killing him.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Like the saying goes, “To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been.” And this film takes you back to the 1940s with a vibe very similar to films like “Raiders of The Lost Ark” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Not only that but we get introduced to a character who looks anything but a person who could be a leader, let alone a symbol/inspiration, but the film gets you to root for him to the point that when he triumphs, you can’t help but cheer.
Here we get a comic book take on a well-known character in Norse mythology and with a Shakespearean vibe to it as well. But more than that, you have a hero who has to learn the most important thing a hero should have: humility. Once he learns it he gains more than just his abilities.
And after several films we get a history-making film where it isn’t just one superhero or two, but rather a group of heroes from different backgrounds/worlds all coming together to face off against a threat that is too much for one hero to handle. At a glance one would wonder just how they would be able to wrangle all these characters, but under the direction of Joss Whedon, it worked.
Iron Man 3
Taking place just after the Battle of New York, we have Stark suffering from PTSD and trying to deal with a new threat known as the Mandarin.
Thor: The Dark World
When Thor’s friend Jane Foster ends up being the target of a race called “Dark Elves”, Thor has to find a way to save her as well as stop these new foes. But to do that he’ll need the help of somebody who is anything but trustworthy.
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Here is where things get very interesting for not only does this film showcase Steve Rogers trying to acclimate more to the modern times, but he along with Natasha/Black Widow and new friend Sam Wilson/The Falcon find themselves in a web of intrigue that only the best spy thrillers could deliver, and at the end they find themselves questioning who they can genuinely trust among government officials
Guardians of The Galaxy
If it’s possible for a film to go off the beaten path in the best way this film is it, for not only do we get to meet a ragtag crew of misfits, but we get to love them all, including – but not limited to – a talking alien tree. Plus the vintage music also adds to the film in ways more than the modern tunes.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
With the truth of HYDRA still out out there and vying for more control, Stark decides to create something to try and combat them. Unfortunately things do not go so well. For this AI becomes self-aware and ends up going after the Avengers.
Get ready for things to get small yet no less astonishing for here we meet a hero who is seeking redemption for his past and unknowingly finds it thanks to a scientist/CEO and his daughter.
Captain America: Civil War
Now the events of all the big battles from previous films come back to bite our heroes, for after a mission goes somewhat awry, the United Nations decide to impose a set of documents called “The Sokovia Accords” on our heroes so as to keep them in check. Needless to say this splits the Avengers down the middle, and even at the end things still aren’t resolved, and with the arrival of a certain web-slinging hero, things are about to get more complicated.
And here we have another hero who finds himself on a journey of his own from self-centered genius to reluctant hero. And the way Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role you get the exact nuances Stephen Strange should have.
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2
Our misfit cosmic heroes return and this time they are out to discover the truth behind Peter Quill/Star-Lord’s parentage. Along the way old foes become allies and fan-favorites appear in the film.
Fresh off the battle from the airport in Germany, young Peter Parker is doing what he does best – navigating his way through life as the Amazing/Spectacular Spider-Man while at the same time trying to prove himself as a true Avenger. But when a foe called the Vulture comes on the scene Peter is about to find that a hero’s journey is not as easy as one thinks, and he himself still has a lot to learn. Fortunately, just like in the comics Peter learns on the job, and even when he fails he comes back stronger.
If the first two Thor films were a bit solemn, get ready for some wacky, yet high stakes adventure in this film for Thor finds himself without his hammer and imprisoned in a gladiatorial prison and must not only find a way out of said prison but stop villain Hela from destroying what is left of Asgard.
And finally we meet a new type of hero in T’Challa/Black Panther, who not only is a superhero but he is also a leader of his own country which as actor Chadwick Boseman said best, “That’s a responsibility that the other heroes don’t have.” And while he is trying to step up and be as great of a king as his late father, T’Challa also finds himself having to deal with a foe who also wants the throne.
When you combine all those films together as one storyline, you don’t get Voltron, but rather you get one cohesive storyline that ties everything together in a very cool way, but more than that you get a sense that everything is building into one big confrontation, and you are not wrong on that Arcaders, for now finally, after ten years and 19 movies, we finally get…
As Tony Stark already said, it really has been leading to this moment. And the stakes could not be higher. For after years of being hinted at, the Mad Titan Thanos comes to Earth to obtain the Infinity Stones, and he does not care who has to fall in order for him to get it. Naturally Earth’s mightiest heroes are not about to let that happen, but this time they must all band together to stop him. But even that might not be enough and as such, not every hero is going to make it out alive.
So with the stage set, here are two questions to ponder: how will the Avengers defeat Thanos, and who will still live after this?
Only one way to find out Aracders, so assemble your tickets and friends, and go to the theater and watch this epic adventure ten years in the making! I know I will be!
Happy 10th anniversary Marvel Studios, and here’s to ten more!