arts & music

Endgame: Marvel, the Universe, & First World Problems

by Bridget — April 26, 2019
The stars of Avengers Endgame

The awesomeness of opening night of Avengers: Endgame, opining about the maturation of the Marvel Universe, and how it relates to the world.

[NO SPOILERS, don’t worry!]

Last night I saw Avengers: Endgame on the night of the first release in Hong Kong. It is amazing!!!!!!!!! You need to go see it if you haven’t already. My husband bought tickets weeks ago, the very second they were available online. Luckily, just before the system crashed from an overload of Marvel Universe fans. 

The house was packed solid. I don’t recall ever seeing a cinema that full in HK ever before. And I’ve seen them all so I think that’s saying something! Watching superhero movies, especially by Marvel, is fun way my husband and I reserve time for each other. Watching movies and debating our thoughts afterwards. It’s strange to think it’s been 10 years since the first Iron Man and what an entertaining world they’ve created.

The Marvel Universe has come a long way in the past 10 years. One of the most interesting, and well received movies, has to be Black Panther. The creative and enchanting world takes you on a spectacular trip from the point of view of black African, and African-American characters. It is refreshing in its representation and it’s been a long time coming. The design mixes real African heritage and traditions with a secret futuristic society in such a beautifully harmonious way. The film makers created such a extraordinary fantasy that had people shouting “Wakanda forever!” at the movie’s end. And I don’t blame them. I wish Wakanda was a real place complete with their advanced technology and limitless potential to improve the entire the world.

Another way Marvel has evolved is by including female characters of weight and substance. Gone are the days of token female characters hyper-sexualized in ridiculous outfits and big breasts. I’ve always been a fan of secret spy & artful interrogator Natasha Rominoff aka Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson). But then in Ragnarök we meet Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and Wakanda comes with heaps of intelligent and strong women from science & technology wiz Shuri (Letitia Wright), to badass warrior Okoye (Danai Gurira).

Then finally, they create an entire movie about a female lead with Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). As if that wasn’t enough, she also happens to be the strongest character of the whole cinematic/Marvel comic universe. What stands out for me as the most intriguing, is the choice of casting a woman with a very girl next door quality. She’s an all-American, very simple looking woman. She’s not super sexy with pouty lips and too much make up, and she’s not looking for romance to define her. Carol Danvers is portrayed as an everyday woman who’s an amazing pilot, with marvelous powers, and a big heart.

Without giving anything away in Endgame, there’s a wonderful scene you need to keep your eye out for, a very special superwomen moment. After you watch it, feel free to guess what I mean in the comments!

This brings me to the Thanos snap, and the infinity gauntlet decked out with infinity stones. Firstly, before I forget, you must check out what Brie Larson & Scarlett Johansson wore to the official Endgame screening the other night. Total geek chic!

As for Thanos aka The Mad Titan (Josh Brolin), he’s an evil character who in Avengers: Infinity War wipes out 50% of the population chosen at random, in a (literal) snap. One snap for the betterment of the universe. He believes overpopulation is a plague on the universe which leads to most of our problems. Problems such as poverty, overcrowding, disease, water and food shortage, global warming, animal extinction, war, and general discontent. Of course the Avengers fight to try to prevent him from succeeding, Endgame takes place after he successfully annihilates half of all living beings in the universe (read more about Thanos’ idea of population control).

Thanos’ population control theory is a rather drastic solution, and if you read the above article you’ll see that it wouldn’t actually work anyway. The problem the world is experiencing isn’t necessarily the amount of people, it’s the beliefs those people have and their political choices that make the world an inhabitable place.

For example, let’s take a look at a pressing issue with global ramifications at this very moment in time. Measles is spreading around the world at an alarming rate because of the choices of a few people in Western First World countries. The epicentre being the United States. For whatever reasons that I’m not even going to delve into here, a number of people abstained from inoculating their children with the MMR vaccine. In 2000 Measles had pretty been eradicated around the globe until a portion of the population stopped vaccinating.

There have been pockets of outbreaks popping up because we travel, and this disease is highly contagious. Most recently, there was a massive outbreak in the Philippines, a country with low immunization coverage. So suddenly, there’s a huge demand for the MMR vaccine across Asia. And now, in places like Hong Kong, which has a regular vaccination schedule for its population but also has a small outbreak of its own, has to ration the vaccine. The measles vaccine is being withheld for high risk individuals until there’s more supply. Many clinics are out of stock. 2019 has become a bad year for measles. And guess what? The other day I learned that the MMR vaccine you got as a kid might not be effective anymore. The only way to find out is to get tested to see if you still have measles antibodies.

Measles is only one example of a political choice having global catastrophic effects.

Now think about global warming with: melting ice caps, and rising ocean levels, air pollution, fresh water & food scarcity, the death of ocean life in a continually warming and polluted ocean, and so on. Yet another event with political decisions that need to be made and acted on. What you do on one side of the planet affects the people on the opposite side.

We are all a part of one giant system, each part an important cog in a bigger machine. In every respect, we have to care about each other in order for the world to optimally function. Concepts like “America First” don’t work anymore and it will only have disastrous effects on us all. The world needs to work together, using inclusive ideals and sentiments that will continue to drive actionable accomplishments & change for the future or else we’ll surely meet our own endgame.

“Today we don’t fight for one life, we fight for all of them.” ~ Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War

Captain Marvel GIF by Marvel Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY

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