There was an idea, Stark knows this, called the Avengers Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, see if they could become something more. See if they could work together when we needed them to fight the battles we never could.
For me, it didn’t start with comics. For me, it didn’t start with the first Iron Man film in 2008. (Granted, I did get invited to see Iron Man 2 in middle school but had no idea what it really was.)
For me, it started with the chills I got at the end of the first Avengers film when the only letter left on Stark Tower was “A”.
Picture 16-year-old me. It’s sophomore year of high school. My best friend invites me to see The Avengers and I’m not excited at all. The trailers looked cool enough, but I assumed it wasn’t my thing. I assumed it was for boys. I go into it wanting to hate it, wanting to not get it, wanting all these things but walking out with something entirely different instead.
That night, we went backwards and watched Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, and I absolutely, positively, fell in love.
A few weeks later, it was the start of Summer 2012. That same friend and I are sitting outside on a random sidewalk in Cary, North Carolina, waiting for Robert Downey Jr. to walk by as he films Iron Man 3. We’re running around the set like crazy women. After we wait for hours and hear nothing but a rumor the Iron Man suits were in the building across from us, we go and see The Avengers for the second time at the theater next door.
I go back to that day a lot. I remember feeling so free, so in love with movies. It was truly the start of all of this.
Flash forward four years and I’m waiting in line for the premiere of Captain America: Civil War with that same friend who helped create the addiction. Then flash forward a few more minutes and we’re sitting in our chairs shaking as the Marvel logo appears. That reaction to a simple logo is something I never thought was possible when I had to get dragged into seeing The Avengers for the first time.
One year ago was Avengers: Infinity War, the beginning of the end of this era of Marvel movies. The beginning of the end of what I essentially grew into an adult with.
One year ago we were all sitting in our seats sobbing as we lost.
And a year later was this past Thursday night at 6pm in Chapel Hill, NC.
They’re calling it the “Infinity Saga.” Ten years and 21 movies and six infinity stones later, Avengers: Endgame released in theaters. (Don’t worry, no spoilers ahead.)
It was a beautiful, perfect, masterpiece. A culmination of so many films and moments and memories sitting in movie theaters shaking. From the last hour on, I never stopped crying. [That one scene is probably the best thing I’ve ever seen on screen. The whole time it played out, I was openly weeping with my hands clasped over my mouth in shock it was actually happening. It was a beautiful comic book spread come to life–comics in which I have dabbled into a little now, just so you know.]
I’ve never felt so connected to a universe, to characters, to everything. It was a fantastic tribute to the original six Avengers, to the ones who I met seven years ago in a moldy theater back when I barely knew what comics were.
The musical score call backs, the quote call backs, the joke call backs… just all of it. It was both fan service and movie-making at its highest possible level.
I’m never going to forget the moment when the trailers ended and the screen went black. My heart was absolutely racing and never quite stopped. It was that feeling from Civil War, but amplified. I was 16 again outside an office building waiting to see RDJ.
I know this blog is meant for you guys to follow my two biggest creative passions: writing and photography. But those wouldn’t be a thing without movies, without the MCU. I a million percent wouldn’t be who I am today without it.
I’ve always wanted to create stories where someone looks up and sees Iron Man flying through the sky too. Where reality and fantasy can coexist and everything is larger than life.
There’s so much hope in knowing that we could live in a world where we have constant protectors watching out for us, whether that be a billionaire playboy philanthropist or just a kid from Brooklyn with a shield. (Or both. Or a whole Wakandan army.)
This chapter of the MCU may be over, but it changed my life in ways I can’t even explain.
Midnight premieres and running through streets giggling over superheroes is something I’ve cherished for so many years now, and the MCU gave me that and then some.
I owe Disney for so many things (most of all, my entire life up until this point because my Dad is on their payroll), but out of everything they’ve done for me, helping me see these stories and fall in love over and over again with these characters is something I’ll forever be indebted to them for.
Thank you, Disney. Thank you, Stan. Thank you, Marvel.
Thank you, Avengers.