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Marvel franchise more than fantasy

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WEB EXCLUSIVE

With the finale to the 10-year saga of Marvel films looming, I reflect on how I joined this franchise of superheroes.

It started with the first Thor movie. I loved the action-filled and beautifully written plot of the story of the alien Asgardians. This movie peaked my interest, and I began to grow curious.

Soon after I became intrested in Marvel, my father showed me the first Avengers movie. I adored the idea of collaboration from multiple movies of different superheroes. I watched it over and over and over again. There I was, little 13-year-old me, sitting in front of the TV screen, drooling at the elite men and women who helped defend the Earth.

Once eighth grade hit, I became obsessed. I bought tons of Marvel merchandise and put it on every birthday list. I collected pins, cups, toys, figurines, and more. I even made multiple friends in middle school because of our shared Marvel interest, and we’re still friends today.

I did research on every movie and TV show and rejoiced when I saw Marvel in the media. I printed Wikipedia sites and kept a log of easter eggs. I downloaded any Marvel app I could find and pretended during the day that I was a future SHIELD member in training. I waited for months for a special 75 Year Marvel Anniversary special on the TV, and I ended up taking around five pages of notes.

In my research, I stumbled upon a replica of the “Phase 1” set from The Avengers. It contained a light-up tesseract, secret files on all of the superheroes from that movie, and ALL of the movies that came out during that phase: from Iron Man to The Avengers (2008-2012). It took a lot of convincing, but I received it as a reward for getting good grades, and about two weeks later, it showed up at my door. It required a parent signature and everything. I was ecstatic and jumped and down, out of control, with the box in my hand. I opened up the case and laid my eyes on the treasure. I had my entire childhood in front of me.

My favorite memory from that set was when I was looking over the files again and realized something. I had a weird card that was entirely blank except for certain clear, horizontal rectangles. After analyzing it, I place the card on top of one of the files. Text filled up the blank spots to reveal a special message! I felt so excited that I had actually decoded something and felt like a real agent of SHIELD.

It even brought me and my dad closer, too. He saw my interest in Iron Man and showed me how to make my own arc reactor out of a tupperware lid. I learned about electricity and after it was finished, I felt my happiness beam and glow, just like the little arc reactor under my shirt.

In my sophomore year, we had a tie dye shirt day, where we learned about pH and chemicals. I made an Iron Man-inspired shirt with red and yellow dye and a blue circle over the chest. It’s probably the best piece of clothing I own.

It was my life. I aspired to be wise like Captain America and strong like the Hulk. My favorite was Iron Man, though. His snarky humor and suave characteristics made me awe at the billionaire. He was intelligent, funny and even had a dark side. He taught me that you can be smart and don’t need someone to dictate every choice you make in your life.

My other favorite was Spider-Man. Even though there’ve been at least six movies, he always remained my favorite. I related to him, not in the super-hero aspect, but that he was a teen and in high school. He was the shy photographer that I wished I could meet in person. I learned from him that anyone can be special, and with all that he dealt with, saving New York City on a daily basis, my first-world problems were put in perspective and gave me the motivation to keep going.

Throughout Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Civil War, Age of Ultron and more, I grew up with Marvel. It gave me strength to go on and be strong throughout my day. The posters on my wall still remind me to never give up, and to pursue the person I wanted to be.

And now, as the last Avengers movie approaches, I fear that I will lose the ones that helped me in my life. I fear that might actually cry in a movie for once and see the ones I cherish blown away in the dust. I fear that it will mean the end of my childhood and maybe, deep down, I will have to grow up.

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Marvel franchise more than fantasy