Delving into the details of the Marvel Universe
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
I have never been a diehard Marvel fan. However, I’d watched many of the movies in theatres and they would play in the background during holiday dinners at my family’s house. Surrounded by Marvel growing up is part of a generational experience; it is a link we as Gen Z have to fantasy, our childhoods, and each other. However, with Spider-Man: Far From Home releasing on July 2, a large portion of this generation’s childhood is coming to a close. Does marathoning the MCU change anything? Would I recommend doing it? Well, let’s see.
Marvel spoilers ahead!
I duly enjoyed Iron Man’s (Robert Downey Jr.) wit, Captain America’s (Chris Evans) face, and Black Widow’s (Scarlett Johansson)… well, everything. Yet I hadn’t sought to delve deep into the Universe itself until a few weeks ago. With a special interest in Captain America, I watched the first Captain America movie. Soon after, I found myself scouring countless forums for the golden order in which to watch the MCU (I’m currently going with reddit user ). I watched Iron Man next (on a terrible in-flight entertainment app, and on a wonderful SkyTrain ride home post-being forgotten at the airport by my ride). I did change my mind and go back to watch Agent Carter. It’s already a long haul to commit to over 48 hours for just the movies, but with TV shows, one-shots, and other bits included, it would currently take over 13 days to marathon the entire MCU without a break.
Even some of the most committed Marvel fans in my life have not taken on the quest to watch the shows. Yet it has been the shows thus far that have sparked the most curiosity in me to uncover all the secrets of S.H.I.E.L.D. Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), for one, is an ambitious, driven, and powerful asset to the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR), and Agent Carter shone light on strange (potentially alien) happenings long before they were confirmed in The Avengers.
I am on season one, episode 18 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which takes place just after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. From the first episode of the series we’re given the sense that something isn’t quite right—which may have to do with the fact that Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is still alive (and has no recollection of how, besides spending time on the island of Tahiti). Watching the shows alongside the movies adds a plethora of new information. From what exactly Hydra was doing behind the scenes before the Battle at the Triskelion, to Asgardian battles, to how the hell Coulson was brought back from the dead, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. goes there. Not without its own fare of melancholic clips, however, with one of the most tragic scenes being Coulson continually begging his doctors, “Let me die!”
Yes, the shows are phenomenal. I didn’t expect my favourite character of the MCU to be an Agent over a superhero, but Coulson deserves the praise. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) sure believes so; as one of Coulson’s doctors says, “Director Fury moved heaven and earth” to bring Coulson back to life.
I knew the MCU was spectacularly constructed from the movies alone, but the added details provided by the shows are honestly unbelievable. Every episode and movie poses a whole set of questions about what is happening (beware of being spoiled on your innocent hunt to piece information together. Pro-tip: Just wait the question out. It will probably be answered soon enough). It’s no wonder our reality is so deeply woven into the culture.
Since I’m only so far into the timeline, I cannot say if I would recommend marathoning this whole massive franchise. It is a lot of time to devote. If you really want to, I would instead suggest marathoning much more casually than my hellbent race to finish before Spider-Man: Far From Home is out. At this rate I likely will not finish in time, that is if I were to really watch every single part of the MCU, but there’s a whole lot of movies and shows I may skip for the sake of my sanity.
(Last night I dreamt that I was Captain America. Wasn’t the first time. Suffice to say, it’s getting to be a problem.)
No, I had never been a diehard Marvel fan. Until now, anyway.