On May 2nd, 2008, a young boy in the third grade who loved superheroes more than anything in the world stepped into a movie theater, completely unaware as to what kind of phenomenon the movies would be. Four years later, after several different films in between, the boy once again stepped into a movie theater to see what these different films were all leading up to. Another four years later, that same boy, now a young man, stepped into a movie theater with his whole family to see the beginning of the end of the films that he grew up with, from elementary school to college. And now, one year later, before a piece of his childhood comes to a close, this boy sits at his desk to write about what these films meant to him, and how they shaped who he was.
I always loved superheroes, from the costumes, to the stories told with them, to the people under the masks and suits, they never failed to be awe-inspiring to me. I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted something like the Marvel Cinematic Universe coming to fruition, but at this point, I couldn’t imagine a world where it didn’t. Every film, from the strongest ones to the weakest ones, have had some kind impact on me, and each one has acted as a bookmark in a chapter of my life. The MCU has guided me through the best and worst times of my life, and when all is said and done, I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
Phase One was a completely unexpected experience, but it was all worth it when I saw The Avengers on opening day. The laughter, cheering, and applause throughout the film felt completely justified and earned, and it was one of the best movie-going experiences of my life. When Phase Two started with Iron Man 3, that same energy and magic carried into the IMAX theater I sat in on opening night, and it never seemed to leave, even if the the audiences weren’t as loud at times. Not to say there weren’t some lower points along the way, like Thor: The Dark World and Age of Ultron, but even at those points there was still an environment of excitement and anticipation. Even if something didn’t live up to the hype, there was always something coming to look forward to, even if it felt like the wait would be an eternity.
Phase Three put everything on a whole new level. With the introductions of Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Captain Marvel, this fictional world was expanding and reaching the hearts of people from all different walks of life. I remember vividly when we met Peter Parker in Civil War for the first time, and I couldn’t help but cry from how overwhelming it was to see him with all of these characters we’ve come to love over the years. Even as High School ended for me, and as college reared its head with all of its trials and tribulations, these films and these characters were still there by my side, and it felt like they would never leave. Then when Infinity War came around, I cried with my family as half of them did, leaving the other half to pick up the pieces. It never fully occurred to me how this was the beginning of the end for this interconnected story that began ten years beforehand until I saw the snap happen with my own eyes. After another year of theorizing and anticipating, the endgame for the franchise as we know it has arrived. All the years, all the films, all the characters, all the stories were leading to this. Each film may have ended a chapter of my life before, but this one may very well be the end to an entire novel.
Eleven years ago I walked in to see Iron Man. Seven years ago I walked in to see The Avengers. Last year I walked in to see Infinity War. And in just a few days, I’ll be seeing the final chapter to the greater story those films, and the rest of the MCU films, were a part of. It’s the story that’s stayed with me from when I was nine years old to twenty years old, the story that’s kept moving forward when it seemed like everything around me was changing, the story that’s been there for me through all my personal struggles and dark times in life. Seeing it told through all of these films in theaters with my friends and family has brought us all even closer together, and has created unforgettable experiences for all of us. And all of this, all of these films, stories, phenomenons, they all spawned from an idea. If there’s anything to take away from this, aside from how much I love the MCU and how much it means to me, it’s that a simple idea can reach the stars and touch the hearts of people around the globe. All you have to do is do whatever it takes to act on it. To everyone involved with the MCU, thank you for making the past eleven years worthwhile.
Let’s bring on the endgame.