The Effect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Modern Pop-Culture and Society

Marvel Opening Theme Song

The Effect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Modern Pop-Culture and Society

Zeta Orphanide, Staff Writer

It is no secret that one of the most progressive -and favoured among cinematography fans- film series of all time have come from the early edition Marvel Comics. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is an American media franchise and shared universe that is centred around a series of superhero films that are produced by Marvel Studios. The films are based on characters that have appeared in the popular American comic books that were created during the late 1930’s by Marvin Goodman. The franchise itself has perhaps one of the largest movie fan bases in the world. In this article, I will be dissecting and discussing the effects that these movies have had on popular culture and society, and how modern world issues are included in the franchise’s story lines. 

Superheroes are becoming more realistic and relatable: 

The MCU is notorious for constantly coming out with new movies and shows, each one being a continuation of one or the other. The timeline of the Marvel universe has been scattered for ages, each movie either being years behind, or way into the future and everything in between. With this scattered map of movies and shows, the MCU managed to introduce us to hundreds of different situations and phenomenons where our favourite characters had to find their way and navigate through life with every-day, regular, non-superhero-esque problems. The charm of the Marvel programmes comes through the sheer and thought-out personification of the heroes. After-all, they are meant to portray real people who face real world issues, along with apocalyptic catastrophes. Through this desire to relate the characters to everyday people in order to connect with the audience, the MCU has, on many occasions, managed to bring up major world issues we are facing every day. 


How do we relate to these iconic heroes? 

“I like the idea of Marvel including more real-world problems because it allows the franchise to come up with more realistic characters. Seeing characters who have gone through something similar that you have gone through, can make it easier to process and eventually deal with.” says a GAA student. How has the franchise managed to create characters that people are able to easily identify with, and why is that so important to us? A common theme throughout the timeline is seeing how certain characters are portrayed in two different means. We often are able to view the heroes during their lowest and highest points, which moments in their lives sparked their hero arc, and how they deal with mistakes and loss. Every mediocre hero movie contains the peak, where the characters enter their so-called “hero mode”, but what makes those moments so special? When analysing certain characters like Spiderman, we can see how difficult it is to lead a double life. Our favourite young nerf of the MCU is notorious for leading the timid, almost awkward archetype. When asked to compare the two personas of Peter Parker and Spiderman, many people noted that they identify with Peter due to their insecurities, awkwardness, and tendencies to make mistakes. Spiderman, on the other hand, could perhaps be described as the complete opposite of Peter. In all three versions of Spiderman, people commented that the most noticeable difference between the two personas is the change in attitude (other than his spider-like skills). In Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman (a favourite among fans), we get to see a cunning, teasing side of Spiderman that is completely different from his usual self. Perhaps we feel connected to either of the two because of the need to change ourselves when we’re around others to fit their needs and wants. 

(Image Source: Marvel Official Website)

  Raising Awareness:  

The franchise has become more inclusive and diverse as the series goes on. With the last set of movies and shows released by Marvel, we begin to notice a large shift of focus on world issues. In the early 2010’s, the movies were dealing with the influx of terrorism and general physical crime going on the the world. With Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man series, we are introduced to a world of international violence, and how past actions come back to haunt you; as well as how some people have been dealing with those instances. Moving on to the newer films, we see many resurfacing issues that have never really left, but rather have been amplified. “It’s magic and unnatural creatures, though they show a good image on how heroes like Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Gamora, etc deal with sexism. You’re used to your usual hero being a man adorned with muscles, but the MCU has done a good job at including a surplus of gender, race, and ethnicity.”said an anonymous interviewee. Over the past few years, the MCU has become an inclusive society. With the new addition of Captain Marvel, who was originally a man. The same situation occurred in the new Eternals movie with the new addition from the comic books, Makkari, who was originally a white male but was played by a P.O.C (Person Of Colour) Woman. Another example of inclusion in the MCU occurred in the recent show “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier”. This show raised awareness for systemic racism where one of the show’s lead characters, Sam Wilson, was racially profiled by the Police. “We are glad to see the MCU progress along with new world issues that are rising and hope to see more inclusion and awareness in future shows/movies”. A great example of the new phase of inclusiveness in the MCU, is perhaps one of the most well-done films according to Rotten Tomatoes, Black Panther, with a whopping 96% score on the “Tomatometer”. The film features the MCU’s first Black director, Ryan Coogler; an almost entirely Black lead cast, and a number of Black women in powerful and engaging roles. 

What has Marvel taught us? 

So far, we’ve looked at how the MCU has impacted our society, as well as how it has been impacted by world issues, but how does Marvel impact our lives 

as we grow as human beings? It is no secret that 

Generation Z has grown up with Marvel, and vice versa, these characters have been a part of our childhood, and unknowingly as they progress, they have affected us in one way or another. Since the very beginning with Captain America and Iron Man, we’ve seen two contrasting characters that both taught us multiple valuable lessons (no, not the Captain America detention videos). We’ve grown up with characters that taught us all about life and its challenges; whether that would be about the importance of doing the right thing, or learning to embrace and forgive yourself, and moving on from your past mistakes. These fictitious characters have managed to teach society about life. We’ve seen many questionable moments where our favourite characters made mistakes, fallen down, and caused bigger issues than the ones they solved. As we grow up, the MCU grows up with us, we’ve had to learn to let go of the past and move into new moments in life. That’s what it was always about, that’s what it’ll always be around.  “As movies like Iron Man and Captain America grew in people’s hearts, they found an attachment to these characters, and after Endgame, people were naturally devastated because they’ve grown up with these people. It gives children a role model to look up to yet also encourages them to move forward and try their best.” “I think that the MCU has caused people to be more understanding of themselves and others. It shows how there aren’t necessarily good guys or bad guys, just people with problems. Spiderman No Way Home does a really good job at doing that by showing that the villains could be changed.”(GAA Students and fellow MCU fans). We’ve grown up with these heroes one way or another, let’s see what the MCU has in stock for the future. 

Here is where our journey ends. We’ve seen how different factors of society have impacted the future of Marvel storylines, as well as how these movies have shaped our childhood’s and the personalities of tomorrow. I think I speak for all of us fans when I say that we cannot wait to see what the future of the MCU holds. ”We’d love to see more in-depth moments for all the new characters that have been introduced so far. I’d personally love to see more solo movies for the characters that have yet to get one.” How do you hope the MCU will progress? What are things you expect to see in the future?