It has been over a month now since I attended an advanced screening of Avengers Endgame. Over a month since I saw the final Avengers movie. I think that I am still in mourning, but also just loving being surrounded by the hype all over the media for the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now! Does anyone else love watching or reading something during its prime time/hyped up period of release?
Now although the endgame has already occurred, these last 10 years of Marvel content has certainly shaped a part of me and will continue too, far beyond the end credit scene (or lack thereof). Each character, no matter the significance of their role was placed in the position they were in for a reason and I truely believe the small details were the foundations of this collection of films. The characterisation of all characters, made them relatable, flawed and gave them that sense of humanity in a world where superheroes are often placed on a pedestal indefinitely.
Marvel and the Avengers superheroes had a brilliant way of moulding superhuman ability and the normal human condition to create a beautiful mix of both. Qualities such as compassion, love, frustration and sadness all shone through in their flawed embodiment of what a superhero should be. While they haven’t defined superheroes as a whole, their cinematic universe has certainly redefined many aspects of superheroes, broken down barriers and crushed specific tropes (not all, I am aware there are many stand-out tropes still evident). Overall though, each characters individual embodiment of the superhero archetype and their own flaws enabled movie-goers like myself to be able to learn valuable lessons.
So I thought; what better way to celebrate these amazing characters than to discuss one lesson I learnt from each of of the six original Avengers to follow along with the #thankyouavengers hashtag! If you have learnt any lessons of gained anything particularly notable from these characters, leave it in the comment box below! I would love to hear what lessons other people have taken away from these characters.
Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)
“Sometimes you gotta run before you walk”
– Tony Stark
Tony Stark. The leader. The OG. Since the very beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ironman has been in the picture, becoming one of pop cultures biggest names. He has not simply garnered this stellar reputation from doing nothing. Ironman has been an idol and a role model character for millions globally, because he is flawed, courageous and caring (just to name a few qualities). There are so many lessons we can take away from Mr Stark, but the one I seem to focus on is persistence in all endeavours. Tony Stark is a mechanical genius, and throughout the entirety of the MCU, he pursues new and exciting projects and smashes his goals. He doesn’t give up on anything or anyone and makes it his mission to continue his work, through all obstacles. Persistence and the resilience that comes alongside it, is something we all need a bit more of, in the pursuit of what sets our souls on fire. Particularly, being the creative person I am, this message hits home!
Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)
“For as long as I can remember, I just wanted to do what was right”
– Steve Rogers
At this point it is basically common knowledge that Captain America is my favourite Avenger and Marvel superhero. His character has taught the world many lessons, and provided me with many personal pieces of wisdom and knowledge. The one that has always stood out for me is his constant expression of forgiveness and care for others regardless of the individual. This lesson was taught all the way back when post-serum Steve Rogers jumped on top of the fake bomb during his training for the armed forces, to protect the men who previously had mocked him for his abilities and appearance. Even when he was ridiculed for who he was and isolated from the group, he still was willing to give his life to save them. He ability to forgive and still show compassion and mercy was really important to both his characterisation and the Avengers group. This trait that Steve exhibits was continued through his entire run in the MCU. Notably in Civil War, when he is fighting Tony Stark to save Bucky Barnes. Another instance is when he states “we don’t trade lives” to Vision in Infinity War, but then is willing to give his life for any member of his team, or anyone period. While, the lesson shows sacrifice in an extreme form, I think that the message remains that when we forgive people for their wrongdoings, assist anyone who needs help and understand that sacrifice is a part of life and sometimes they must be made for the best interest of others, society or ourselves.
Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson)
Just because it’s the path of least resistance doesn’t mean its the wrong path. Staying together is more important than how we stay together”
– Natasha Romanoff
Black Widow. The ONLY female original Avenger. One of the BEST superheroes birthed from this universe, in my opinion. Natasha Romanoff had a traumatic and crazy life prior to the Avengers, that made her the strong female heroine that the Avengers needed. From that she gave us her most powerful and significant lesson. Our past is not what defines us or our future, and you should never let it. We have all fought our own individual battles, but to move forward in life, we all must forgive and leave our past in the past. It will always remain a part of your history, but it should never be an instrumental factor in your present or future. It will only act as a burden. Natasha leaves her past as a Russian spy behind, which only makes her incredible work as an Avenger and working for the good of the world and the people in it, even more amazing. She turned her life around and transformed herself into a weapon of a different kind. Everyone praises Captain Marvel as a feminist superhero for young girls, but Black Widow has more character depth and deserves far more recognition. In saying that, I love both superheroes and we should never compare female superheroes and put them against each other as if it is a competition (especially when Marvel already lacks leading female superhero’s). However, the point remains that Natasha Romanoff deserves far more recognition than she receives for her powerful transformation and strong moral compass.
Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo)
“That’s my secret Cap, I’m always angry”
Hulk. With one side being physical ability and the other being mental ability, Bruce Banner’s characterisation is extremely diverse and because of that, it has enabled him to provide a number of valuable lessons for audiences and in particular, myself. I think the lesson for Hulk that stood out for me as the most prominent is that mental strength and intelligence is just as valuable, often even more valuable than physical strength. We see Hulk develop throughout the film from an angry character, to a gentle and caring character, after he settles his emotions. I think it shows that you can only get so far, with physical strength and ability. Without mental stamina and brain power, you are limited.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
“I choose to run toward my problems and not away from them…”
Thor! The God of the group, quite literally. Thor has been one of the strongest and must significant characters in the MCU, since the beginning and for good reason. Even though, I was critical of his portrayal and characterisation in Endgame, I still love his character overall and think he deserves a LOT of recognition for everything he has done for this franchise. In terms of what Thor has actually taught us, I think he can teach us a lot about how we react to situations. We can learn from him that we should never run away from our problems. Instead we need to face them head on (preferably with a hammer). There is no point hiding away from our problems and lamenting in despair (this is where they stuffed his characterisation in Endgame). Don’t feel sorry for yourself or try and pass blame. Take responsibility and act to change. Embrace change and just roll with the situation you are presented with. We cannot expect to move forward in our lives, careers and relationships if we do not embrace change and tackle any obstacles we face directly and head on. Thor does this well throughout the entirety of the MCU (with the exception of Endgame. Particularly in Ragnarok and Infinity War, he took situations which were dire and turned them into a moment of catharsis and faced them directly. While the problems faced by Thor, are slightly more intense, we can still apply this logic to our own lives, and it is really important that we do. Don’t stagnate yourself physically and/or mentally, by not acting. If you want something done, go out and do it yourself!
Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner)
“Tell my family I love them”
– Clint Barton
Hawkeye, since his debut in 2011 debut in Thor, has been a great addition to the Avengers team. He is courageous, strong and will not back down. I think in Endgame particularly, we see one of his best qualities shine through. He is extremely family orientated character, with a lot to teach us about putting family first. He would do anything for his family, including sacrificing his life for them. I think it is so important to see that family are the ones that will be there for us at the end of the day and in the morning. A lot of other people in our lives are temporary. They come and go and change depending on the weather. Family is tied to you for life, and it is so important to have a close bond with family and make sure you keep that bond strong. They are the people who will truely be with you through thick and thin (unfortunately that boyfriend/girlfriend you were dating for six months won’t). So, if we apply this message to our lives, make sure you don’t take family for granted, because you never know when anything could happen to them. Love them, cherish them and don’t shut them out.