There are plenty of things that I’m an absolute nerd for: Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Warehouse 13, Supernatural, and several others. I grew up reading and rereading Harry Potter (practically damaging a couple of the books because I read them so much) and read so many other fantasy/sci-fi books. Mugglecast (a podcast about Harry Potter) was the first podcast I ever listened to and I’m about halfway through knitting my own fourth doctor scarf.
But as nerdy as I was (and still am in so many ways), I never really got into comic books or the comic world. A part of it was no one I knew was into them so I never really had an introduction to them growing up. Another part was I really didn’t see comics being marketed to or being made for me – I didn’t fit into the stereotypical demographic of comic book nerds and going into a comic shop was intimidating. (Which I now realize is complete bs.)
My introduction to the Marvel universe really came from watching the Avengers in mid 2012. I had seen Iron Man and Iron Man 2 before watching the Avengers and knew some random things that bled through popular culture but a lot of the universe was very new to me. So watching the Avengers opened a completely new door for me. Since that summer, I’ve watched all three Iron Man movies, both Captain America movies, both Thor movies, Guardians of the Galaxy, a couple of the X-Men movies, the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and Agent Carter. (Although, I’m a little behind with Agent Carter unfortunately.) While I’m not big into comics still, there is so much I love about the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and of course, so much I don’t like).
[GIF image of Captain America in the Avengers saying “I understood that reference”]
One of the things I do love about the cinematic universe is how the movies and shows tie into one another in subtle and not so subtle ways. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has several episodes that tie in with Thor: The Dark World, the Avengers, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Plenty of the movies reference/flash back to each other and rely on a single universe for context. The characters and stories exist in a world with each other. Marvel has created a world that is interconnected and complex and for me, there’s something so satisfying about how there is so much that ties in together. (Although, different studios working on different Marvel character movies makes the shared universe a bit more difficult.)
My least favorite thing about the Marvel cinematic universe (unsurprisingly) is the almost complete lack of diversity among the characters in the movies and shows. There are so many white men in the movies and shows and I just want to flip tables over every time I think about it. We have three Iron Mans, two Thors, and two Captain Americas that are all played by white men but god forbid Peter Parker might be black in a future movie?? (Fully on board for Donald Glover to play Peter Parker. The video below is from his stand up hour and he starts talking about #DonaldForSpiderman roughly a minute into it.) Or that there be more diversity and media representation in the movies and shows?!? Nerdy white boys aren’t the only people who love the comic book world – it’s definitely time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to follow the Marvel comics and have more representation. (Ms. Marvel movie maybe??) (And even the comics aren’t 100% great.)
Diversity and media representation is definitely not limited to just the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are so many shows and different media mediums that are so white washed and lacking in diverse/complex characters. And of course, a big corporate business like Marvel isn’t always going to get diversity and representation right.