Marvel's Great, Emotional, and Hilarious Year (and why it's more important than we think)

B Y: Lauren Montoya

Friendly disclaimer: It’s best to have seen the following films, or if you haven’t, have some general background knowledge, or even acknowledgement of the films and the concept of Marvel (what Marvel is) in a whole when reading this, in order to enjoy and/or understand several important aspects of the content of this review. Thank you!

This year has been incredibly exciting for moviegoers and for passionate fans of Marvel, with four huge films being released by the famously known company. I myself love to go to the movies to escape from the realistic world, especially when I step into the realm of Marvel, where unique individuals with great strengths and abilities exist. When you’re waiting in line anxiously at the front box office to purchase your tickets, knowing that you’re about to witness an action-packed cinematic work, you begin to guess what outcome is to appear from the constantly shown trailers that have hinted at such. I’ve always appreciated how Marvel has done this; always keeping their audiences guessing and creating theories about the film makes them more interesting than they already are. Additionally, I’ve always been impressed by how the original comic book artists and current directors and producers have developed these creative characters, plots, and ideas that have connected their audiences, whether fans or not, with the characters themselves. I believe this is why Marvel is so loved by many; they have gone to tremendous lengths to make these characters unique, yet relevant to our own lives, so that we as the moviegoers can relate to these fictitious beings and feel like we are actually apart of their world.

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With 2018 to arrive, fans were crossing their fingers in hoping for the best of the four films Marvel was going to indeed release, and the reason why I’m emphasizing the amount is because this is an impressive number of works to give in one year, and particularly these anticipated titles : "Black Panther”, “Avengers": Infinity War”, “Deadpool 2”, and “Ant-man and the Wasp”. “Black Panther” was the beginning of Marvel’s amazingly active year, as it took social media by storm with its cast being virtually all African-American and the empowerment of them as heroic, strong individuals, which has added more social and cultural diversity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film itself was visually beautiful and even breathtaking at some scenes that perfectly captured the scenery of Wakanda, the homeland of the main protagonist, T’Challa (aka the Black Panther). It looked completely lifelike for me because I was sitting close to the front of the theater, due to how crowded it was in the more desirable seats. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the majority of the movie despite the seating; however, I felt that some action scenes could’ve been better here and there, and the pacing at times was quite slow. But overall, it was just absolutely exciting to see the famous Black Panther himself in action in his own film, since his first debut in “Avengers: Civil War”. With its presence of African culture and diverse story, “Black Panther” holds a deep significance within the Marvel universe and minds of the people that celebrate heroic qualities and family heritage.

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Proceeding, yet connecting the characters from “Black Panther”, was Marvel’s next and probably most talked-about film, and the third installment of the Avengers series, “Avengers: Infinity War.” Although considered to be the “best” of the other Avengers films, fans walked out of the theater emotional, confused, and questionable of how the following film would continue off from its infamous cliffhanger. I too was quite upset of what had happened to more than half of the main cast of heroes, surprised and shocked on how much the directors and producers decided to put into just one film. One of the main issues of the film was actually its multiple amount of elements it wanted to address and bring to the spotlight, which had proved the old saying of “biting off more than you can chew”. It was a lot to take in all at once, with characters literally disappearing before your very eyes and the heroes for once falling at the feet of the villain; it was something nobody was used to seeing in any movie because of the general idea of the hero always conquering all forces of evil. However, despite the idea of Infinity War being Marvel’s major emotional roller coaster of a movie, the actual film brings togetherness within communities of people as depicted with the Avengers, people of Wakanda, and the Guardians of the Galaxy coming together to defeat Thanos and save humanity from destruction. The film embraces the idea of working together with people from different areas, places, and backgrounds to stand united for what they believe is right, which is definitely something we as a country should take into consideration, especially in terms of today’s standards. “Avengers: Infinity War” signifies important elements such as unity, sacrifice, and courage, which are classic heroic qualities in ourselves and as we see that these depicted heroes have insecurities and personal conflicts with themselves and others around them, it’s easier to view ourselves as our own heroes.

“Deadpool 2” was the following film released and although technically not apart of the MCU (the Avengers and X-Men do not live in the same universe, I know, it’s confusing), it is still under the same name of Marvel, and this will be reviewed. This film was the sequel to the extremely successful first “Deadpool” film and is actually more acclaimed by some because of its more complex and meaningful storyline of the importance of family. However, the film suffers from the same issue as with “Avengers: Infinity War” in that there are a lot of things the directors and producers attempted to accomplish in a certain time frame. Some things were successful and some were not. I personally think one of the major challenges, and unfortunately downfalls, of the film was approaching the initial idea of a sarcastic and satire filled comedy, and blending it with a heartfelt, more significant meaning. Some of those more sentimental moments with Wade Wilson (Deadpool) in finding his heart in the right place and himself as an individual were lost within the comedical elements of the film because they felt a bit too forced at times. Even then, they were even intentionally meant to coincide with each other at other times.

So, while the second installment of the hilarious series doesn’t exactly match up with the original in plot consistency and organization, “Deadpool 2” certainly doesn’t disappoint; it had me laughing a lot, and with its own unique charm of being a family, (despite its restricted rating), film in its own significance and meaning of course. It presents a relevancy between the main character and audience, in finding our own selves through difficult personal conflicts, that ultimately develop us as individuals and make us realize what really matters and how that can help us discover who we truly are. We tend to get lost within unfortunate events that occur in our lives and forget what is important and even who we are, and “Deadpool 2” reminds us of how the concept of family, biological or not, is powerful, despite seemingly “impossible” obstacles that come in our paths.

Finally, the last and most recent film of this list, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is another sequel. Similar to “Deadpool 2”, this film focuses more on a deeper meaning and has more family related and emotional elements tied to it, much more so than its predecessor. Taking place from “Avengers: Civil War”, Scott Lang (Ant-Man) must return to action, despite being under house arrest from combating against the law alongside the other Avengers, due to government wanting to limit and watch over every move of the heroic individuals. Hope van Dyne (the Wasp) is more involved action-wise than the first film (which I enjoy more about the sequel than the first one). She fights alongside Scott against a new villain, Ghost, who actually isn’t technically a villain because of her revealed identity as someone who genuinely isn’t one to intentionally do evil , but rather pushed towards it because of her hurtful past. This presents one of the most significant meanings of the entire film, which is that everyone deserves a second chance, including Ghost (who asks to be helped at the end of the film) and Scott, being both a hero and a father to his daughter. It was impressive to see this particularly in “Ant-Man and the Wasp”, because it is definitely one of the more underestimated Marvel productions.

Although not the greatest work of the year, it still presents a nicely composed plot consisting of Hope finally finding her mother, whom she had thought passed away when she was a child, to Scott proving himself to be a hero in the eyes of the most important people in his life. Giving someone else, or even yourself, a second change gives the opportunity to become something greater than you once were, or do something they’ve or you’ve never done before. That’s where the hero aspect comes into play, in which we realize that we do need that extra offer of help or we do need that second chance, to show our true capabilities and fulfill who or what we want to be and what we want to accomplish in our lives. In other words, we embrace the support we receive from our families and fiends, which are important factors in our lives, to become empowered as our won heroes in our own stories.

The cinematic world of marvel is undoubtedly more than just films that include unrealistic, fictitious heroes and villains who fight on gigantic movie screens, that result in millions of dollars worldwide. The more significant aspect that is also true is, that they connect with our own lives in the real world and reveal our own identities as our own heroes in different ways and forms. This is why I’m so passionate about Marvel and why so many others are as well. The more aware people become of the films’ importance and relevance within society and the world. The more we become appreciative of the art of film and other significant aspects in our own lives we tend to look past.

Sydney Ho