I have paid attention to Tony Stark for the last 12 years.
I attached myself to the Marvel Cinematic Universe sometime in 2013. But I knew of IronMan since way before that.
There was that scene in Endgame, towards the end, when Thanos says “I am inevitable” and clicks his fingers. Nothing happens because Tony has taken away the gems.
A part of me died then. It dawned on me that to save the world, Iron Man would have to go.
Going back a bit, when Pepper flies in with an Iron Man suit and the entire women collection of Marvel Superheroes show up to support her. Okoye says “She’s got help”.
I am literally in goosebumps writing this.
But yeah, I can’t talk straight about Iron Man’s death. Not today. Not ever. And when she jumped off that ridge, to save her friend and to give the world another chance. You know- The Black Widow- what kind of selfless give do you have to have to consider yourself only a small part of saving the world. Small but so so so crucial.
I can go on about Marvel’s storytelling. Every story is packed full of emotion, theatrics, humanity and action. Every superhero is fighting for their right to be human, and to stay human. In all their conflict and disagreements, through all those years of each character maturing beautifully- Marvel has also shown the fallibility of Gods (picture Thor’s beer belly).
But I am going to stop now, and take this space to tell you, what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taught us about story telling in the last decade or more.
1. Every Marvel character has cult status. This wasn’t because they were superheroes. It was because they were unapologetically human.
When you craft characters, rather than think what they should be like, think what they would be like. Marvel keeps it real. It brings in all the dirt- there’s ego, unrequited love, hidden away families, arrogance, empathy, selflessness, selfishness- you name it. All the sins of mankind, make them human. When fleshing out characters, the more human you keep them, the more potential they have to scale with your plot.
2. I haven’t enjoyed all the plots of all the Marvel movies. Age of Ultron didn’t wow me. But the Avengers fatigue didn’t hit me. The movie was more than the plot. When the sceptre was recovered by Stark and Banner, they realised that there was artificial intelligence inside the sceptre’s gem. That wowed me!
Connecting myth, Gods, humans and science.
The story is more than the plot. When you write your stories and your plots, don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea that the plot has to be easy. Aristotle says that plots should be easy to remember. Well, I disagree. Plots should have the freedom to be what they eventually become. MCU has given us 22 Marvel movies, every plot feeding into another, not in any order, but yet coming together. It requires tremendous vision to be able to see that far ahead. You simply can’t. So don’t be stuck up about your plot.
Worry about your characters, and about involving as many aspects of their personality as you can. As the character evolves, so will your plot.
3. The one thing that worried me across Marvel movies was that nobody seemed to die. Every human turned superhero survived everything, beer bellies to heart break to aliens and stayed solid. Unfortunately, they killed quite a few in Endgame.
That said, as the characters and plot evolve, it makes sense to keep an eye out for a “plausible ending”. When characters have outlived their usability, they should be terminated. Swiftly.
“I Used To Have Nothing. And Then I Got This – This Job, This Family – And I Was Better Because Of It. Even Though They’re Gone, I’m Still Trying To Be Better.”- The Black Widow at the beginning Endgame. This was a plausible ending, and yet hopeful. She died a martyr.
Part of the journey is the end. This was recorded cryptically by Tony, as his own eulogy. I wouldn’t have guessed that they would take out Iron Man. I was not prepared for that. But there were hints throughout the movie. I love you 3000 being one, especially when he won against Pepper.
While writing, take time to drop hints and shades throughout the plot, through dialogues and through specific scenes. They don’t have to mean anything right then, but when the reader looks back, there is immense takeaway.
There is a realisation that “Oh!! That’s what they were on about!!”
And because you have read so far, you can’t not watch this video.