Geeks like to highlight the fact that they are, in fact, giant geeks. For years, we’ve been loving to make fun of our general identities, whether it’s movies, TV, games, hobbies, or whatever else you like to do in your spare time alone or with friends. We don’t just show this with our words, we show it with Funko Pops, fan castings, and paying to watch Morbius twenty times is like giving all our money to a fictional vampire who makes us better people.
That’s cool, and people shouldn’t be shy about showing happiness for the things they enjoy, but it’s as if the growing monopoly of companies like Disney is starting to put a lot of ourselves into fantasy universes. The MCU is a perfect example of this, usurping the disturbing ability of adults from Disney to become one of the most obnoxious subcultures on the Internet and throughout the real world.
Kevin Fiege and his company have worked tirelessly to bring the comic book world to life on the silver screen, starting with a relative gamble in Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man before evolving into the most dominant cinematic force we’ve ever seen. Characters that only existed in legendary comics and forgotten video games have become household names, be it Captain America, Thor, or Hawkeye. Everyone knows them by now, and none of this would have been possible without the meticulous technical prowess that went into crafting the MCU.
But with this success came millions of fans, and an enthusiastic division that carries Marvel movies along with prestigious cinema and believes they deserve more value just because they are popular and everyone happens to love them. I love good comic book movies and those that focus on silly action and larger than life characters above all else, which is probably why Pacific Rim is one of my all-time favorites. But I never got to the point where I found myself thinking every little development or putting the Marvel movies on one pedestal one another – and let’s be honest with ourselves here – better things.
Hardcore fans have evolved into those who clap, scream, and cheer on movie screens whenever their favorite characters appear, or a fairly obvious evolution or revelation talked about in countless interactive and analytical videos months before it was proven true. I refuse to believe that anyone was really surprised by the appearances of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in Spider-Man: No Way Home. It was an open secret, and filmmakers actively tended to it as an essential part of film marketing. This pandering is why the movie rubbed me the wrong way so badly, treating us like fools.
We got caught up in the hype and hit ourselves with “will they or not?” Narration when reality was staring at us the whole time. But given equal parts nostalgia and fanatics, we still appeared and clapped like seals when all three appeared on screen. Marvel and Disney can probably expect that level of loyalty from their fans right now, having gotten so involved through merchandise, spin-offs, and goodness, you know what else could benefit from our increased interest. As long as we keep showing up, the MCU continues to evolve. I’m excited to see where he’s going, but I’m also dying a little inside when a grainy video of people cheering at clear shows pops up on my TikTok. Is it all real, because it’s hard to tell.
It’s a common reaction now, and it’s been since Avengers Endgame was released when Captain America picked up Thor’s hammer and finally won the day for the good guys. It’s become a meme, with people editing clips from Shrek, Morbius, The Bee Movie, or Alvin and the Chipmunks while keeping the prolific fan vocals the same. Part of me is curious if it’s something cultural and more common in the United States than in other parts of the world, but I’ve been on shows when important moments in the story are ruined by people cheering for the obvious. The actors aren’t there, they can’t hear you, just silently blowing air or smiling at yourself instead of ruining the experience for others. Oh my gosh, I look like that childish guy, but he’s the same kind of guy who claps when a plane lands because they didn’t die.
Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness launched this past weekend, and I spoiled my biggest moments on social media with videos with reactions just like this. I could have just shut down, but I shouldn’t have to. Over-analyzing and delving into every scene of the final credits and vague details is something fans see almost as an obligation now, and not doing so means you’ll be left behind and not care enough about the evolution of this universe enough to hang with the adorable kids. Either that or they’re all just having fun, but if that’s the case, please do it from the comfort of your own home.
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