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COLUMN: Thank you, Marvel Cinematic Universe, for helping me grow up



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"Avengers: Endgame" was released April 24. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

I was only 9 years old when the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Iron Man,” was released in theaters.

Before “Iron Man,” I had already seen other comic book movies like the "X-Men," "Fantastic Four," "Ghost Rider" and the "Spider-Man" trilogy and was developing a love for superheroes, as most young boys do. But this movie was different. It was the start of something bigger.

Since I was out of school for summer vacation, my Dad finally took me to see “Iron Man” more than a month after its release for a showing in the middle of the day.

No one really knew at the time what the MCU would become, with the post-credits scene of the movie showing Nick Fury telling Tony Stark about the “Avengers initiative.” Fast forward 11 years and “Avengers: Endgame” marks the end of the 22-movie-long “Infinity Saga” that started with “Iron Man.”

As I wiped away the tears after watching “Avengers: Endgame” on opening night, I began thinking about how much these movies meant to me over the years. Robert Downey Jr. had a line toward the beginning of the movie summing it up perfectly.

"Part of the journey is the end."

I don’t remember the first time I saw every movie, but there are some that came at turning points in my life.

When the first “Avengers” film came out in May 2012, it was the summer before my final year of middle school — an awkward time for everyone.

I was excited to see the movie when it first came out, but I didn’t want to go alone. I made plans with this girl I talked to on either Instagram or some other social media platform to go see the movie.

I lied to my parents and said I was meeting up with one of my friends so they’d be comfortable dropping me off alone. Once I got there, I bought us both tickets and waited 30 minutes in the lobby for her to arrive. She never came.

It didn’t stop me from seeing the movie, though, as I found one of the last remaining seats in the theater on the far-right corner. Was I upset a girl I never met in person stood me up? Yes, but at least I was watching “The Avengers.” It could’ve been worse.

I relied on Marvel movies the most the summer before my senior year of high school. A month after “”Captain America: Civil War” was released, my parents started having issues at home.

Each time I’d start having thoughts about the situation and how I was feeling, I’d immediately just change my mindset to how these superheroes have gone through much worse and still came out okay. I don’t know where my mind would’ve wandered if it wasn’t for late nights watching the MCU.

I’ve become closer with some of my friends, my older brother and my Dad thanks to these movies. This isn’t the end of the MCU, but it is the end of a chapter in my life.

Thank you, Marvel, for all the memories. Thank you for giving us characters people can relate to. Thank you for helping shape who I am today.

I love you 3,000.

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