An emotional note dedicated to the nostalgia and memories that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has created for me and many others. Disney and Marvel will come out with future projects to earn more dollars, but the journey that we undertook till Endgame, that will never come back.
In the summer of 2008, my father got a pirated disc of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. Yes, we both were indirectly criminals for that and I apologise for consuming pirated content, but that was one of the most memorable movies I had ever watched. AC/DC’s Back in Black plays as the movie opens with Robert Downey Jr. smiling in a military vehicle. I knew no AC/DC and no Robert Downey back then, so it was just a ‘cool rock song’ playing with a ‘cool bearded man’.
Robert Downey Jr., in the first half of that film, was uber cool (excuse me for my overdoing of the word ‘cool’; it’s just that I am getting reminded of my years as a pre-teen when my vocabulary was limited), and he gave the signs of classic and toxic cool-guy nature we all kids were impressed with. Millionaire, playboy, genius. We all wanted to be that (not everyone would desire to be a genius though). But by the time, he realises his powers in the second half, you realise Downey’s Tony Stark is a man with responsibility too. He goes on to manage his friends, family, company and humanity in general, wearing that suit. That suit just didn’t give him powers; it makes this superhero more human, and of course, it helped to create a whole universe in the process!
A chain of events was set for me and many other Indian children to get awed by the spectacles for Marvel movies. I watched and re-watched this comic-book inspired film saga in movie halls, DVDs dubbed in Hindi, Star Movies and HBO. As this franchise grew, I grew with it, too.
My music playlist didn’t just have AC/DC now; some vintage soul and new age hip-hop got added in it too, courtesy of Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther. I cheered on a new actor being chosen for the role of Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). I lamented on a new actor being chosen to play Spiderman (Tom Holland). I got bored with some heroes being introduced in films like Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor. I got excited with some heroes being reintroduced in films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: Ragnarok.
And most importantly, out of sheer coincidence, I became like Tony Stark just like pre-adolescent me had wished back in ’08. Nah, I am no millionaire, playboy and genius now but at least, my post-adolescent facial hair makes me look like ‘discount Tony Stark’!
All of this seemed like a perpetual fun ride but then any cliched prophet will tell you, “All good things must come to an end”.
Last year, many fans shed many a tear when they saw Thanos (aka Purple Shrek) snapping his fingers and half of the population on the planet just fading out of existence. “We’re in the end game now,” Doctor Strange proclaimed. The world was stunned as this was the first time, a villain had emerged victorious. And no PG-13 comic book film does this. So, we waited for a happy ending (if there was one).
We waited for a year, and then, Avengers: Endgame released and people created an online ruckus booking tickets, filling theatres till their maximum capacity. With great difficulty, my family and I got our tickets to the nearest PVR.
I remember in 2012, I had watched the first Avengers movie with my parents and sisters. I was probably in eighth grade and people had spread the rumour that the planet will be removed from existence that year. I must confess at one point I did feel that ‘2012’ could be a true phenomenon. I thought aliens would come or natural disasters would ‘avenge’ human abuse on Mother Nature with fire and fury, with Marvel Cinematic Universe style destruction. I was still glad that before I and this planet die, I had watched The Avengers which seemed like the most majestic movie I had ever seen.
The title of ‘the most majestic’ movie soon got replaced with Infinity War with me and now Endgame is wearing that throne for me. Of course, I will not spoil the movie for you here but all I can say is (stating the obvious) that you might shed tears.
I cried a lot, not because of what goes on in the movie, but also because a part of my childhood died last Saturday. A journey that had started in 2008, had finally ended for me, 11 years and 48 hours 1 minute later.
I am glad to be a part of this globalised world where this Indian middle-class boy witnessed a multi-billion-dollar franchise of the West (made with the help of thousands of VFX and sound editors from India and other Asian countries). I felt a wide range of emotions together while travelling back home. I felt mellow had finished a chapter of my life but at the same time, I felt happy that I got the best closure.
Even in the movie hall, I stayed during the credits scene like any Marvel loyalist would, waiting for a post-credits scene. The usher, however, told us that there’s no such scene this time. And at this moment, I realised this ‘phase’ of Marvel and my growing up had really ended.
Featured Image Credits- Marvel Cinematic Universe
Shaurya Singh Thapa