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Finding Disney in a MARVELous New Obsession

Extraordinary Magic in Everyday Life

 

As the oldest of four, one could say I was sheltered. I was the child to tread the waters through unchartered territory and my parents, understandably, were hesitant to expose me to much in terms of film genres. In fact, perhaps my Disney fandom today is a result of the saturation and exclusivity of animated films in my household when I was growing up. You might have similar rules in  your home: No PG-13 until you’re 13, nothing too violent, and let’s stick to movies with a positive message. (Naturally, by the time my sister came along, with three older brothers ahead of her, these were all but abandoned and she walked into 1st grade proudly sporting a Jack Sparrow backpack.)  In the long run, I am glad to have those precautions set, though they admittedly meant I missed out on many genres I am just now discovering. One of these is the superhero film.

Captain AmericaI’ll be honest: I never saw a Marvel movie until nine months ago. [Ducks plate thrown through cyberspace.] With the overwhelming response of audiences, critics, and, frankly, Imagineers to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I decided that maybe these movies were something I should pay attention to. I hadn’t avoided them intentionally. I just didn’t grow up with these characters and by the time I reached the age that my parents allowed me to view these types of films, the genre already had a steady plot going and I figured there was no point trying to dive in late. But when ABC picked up a full season of Agents of SHIELD and Disney Cruise Line announced a full Avengers-themed children’s club, I could hold off no longer. I gave in, and now I can’t get enough. Yes, I’m a bandwagon fan (though acknowledging that notion lessens some of the shame, right?).

It was weird at first to watch these movies with the idea in mind that these are now, technically, Disney characters. It wasn’t that I disliked the acquisition in 2009, I just had no interest in it, and these personas were ones that were already engrained into my brain as being associated with Universal Studios. (Not that I have anything against Universal specifically, that’s just what I associated them with.) That mindset shift was difficult (and the technicalities of the purchase still confuse me), but once I threw any preconceived notions aside, I immediately became enveloped in the story. I watched every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe successively, beginning with Iron Man and gradually working my way through in time to see Thor: The Dark World in theaters. And I loved them. They are all fantastic.

What’s so clever about these stories is that, in essence, they are really one MASSIVE story being told in multiple parts with multiple layers. Everything connects. Each level is intricately designed in terms of character development and plot twists, to make every film a surprise. But it doesn’t do so in a typical multi-film series. Added to the fun is the idea of this being one collective story, but each film has a different assemblage of characters interacting across casts (Nick Fury, Agent Coulson, and Black Widow being excellent examples, to name a few). And then they all collide for a massive crossover whose release excitement I wish I could have lived through.

Iron Man ExperienceThis Friday, Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters, and I’m more excited than ever. The Imagineers are excited, too. In addition to the aforementioned Avengers play area onboard the Disney Magic, Disneyland’s Innoventions is slowly becoming the park’s Marvel hub, with exhibits highlighting the adventures of Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America (with meet & greets available for the latter two). There’s also an E-Ticket Iron Man-themed attraction coming soon to Hong Kong Disneyland. These stories, characters, and films bring excitement and intensity to the movie-going experience, consistently something to look forward to with giddy anticipation.

What is your favorite Marvel film? What do you like most about this series?

 

Images copyright Disney.

Blake is a college student studying Electronic Media. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade on Main Street and then sprint to Frontierland in time to see it again. You can follow Blake’s random Disney ramblings on Twitter at @olddirtyblake, or at BlakeOnline.com.

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