*WARNING: Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame

The year 2008 was my Annus Horribilis, my year of disaster and misfortune. I know that I’m not alone in this, for 2008 was the year of the great recession. My small business was failing, I had lost my apartment and was couch surfing and my relationship of 4 years fell apart. In short, my life was imploding. One summer weekend I stayed with my best friend Marcie and she introduced me to a film that would change my life: Iron Man.

A poster for Avengers: Age of Ultron

I had seen superhero movies before, who hasn’t? Superman, Batman, Spiderman, the X-Men, but while I liked them, none of them really struck me. For some reason Iron Man did. There was something about spoiled brat/screw up Tony Stark reminded me of myself. While I’m not, and never have been, stupidly wealthy, I was a spoiled brat and I was definitely a screw up. I was enthralled watching Tony become the man that he should be – and for the first time in ages I laughed. There were scenes that I made Marcie rewind, over and over, just so that I could keep laughing. It felt so good to do something as simple as laugh.

From that day on, I was hooked. I had something new to learn about, a whole new world to discover. I am someone that loves research and research I did! I looked forward to every new movie, seeing most with Marcie. I can tell you about the day we saw each movie, it’s seared into my memory. When we saw Captain America: Civil War, I was wearing my favorite Cap t-shirt. The same shirt that I would later wear when I flew to London to start my new life. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy on a first date and when he told me that he wasn’t into superhero movies, I knew we wouldn’t be going out again. Thor: Ragnarok was one of the first films I saw with the man that would become my husband. That was a memorable night because, not only was the movie great fun, while our bus home was stopped a drunk man head butted the bus. I kid you not, he hit the bus so hard with his head that he left a dent and then he stood up and walked away. Ewan and I saw Avengers: Endgame while on a trip to Scotland. We dodged a bullet by not eating some sugar free lemon drops that we’d brought with us. We later noticed on the package: WARNING: Excessive consumption may cause a laxative effect. Can you imagine how upset I would’ve been if I missed half of the movie because I was in the bathroom?

When Endgame was over I expected to feel lost, sad that the world that had become such a part of my life was finished. But I wasn’t sad or lost. It was amazing to see 22 films come together in a perfect ending. I may have teared up a little at Captain America’s goodbye and at Tony’s funeral, but I was happy with how it turned out. Later it would occur to me that with every new Marvel film, my life had gotten better and better. That’s not to say that Marvel really affected my life directly, but that each film has been a sort of landmark to me and each film marks my life progressing from my Annus Horribilus to where I am today. I wasn’t sad to see the end of the Avengers as we know it because I knew that, just like my life, things move on and get better.

Today I woke up to the joyful news that Marvel had announced its Phase 4 list of films at the San Diego Comic Con. The list includes new films and television series: Black Widow, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, The Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, WandaVision, Loki, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, What if?, Hawkeye, and Thor: Love and Thunder. Oh the joy! Director Taika Waititi will be back to direct the next Thor and Natalie Portman will return as Jane Foster. We’ll finally get the back story on Nat and Clint in Black Widow and Hawkeye. Falcon and the Winter Soldier will bring the odd couple together for a stand alone film. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is reported to be “horror based” and will also feature the Scarlet Witch. Wandavision, Loki and The Eternals will be a new addition to MCU’s list of television series. But it’s Shang-Chi that brought the most excitement to our house this morning. Shang-Chi was my husbands favorite comic book as a kid. He quickly produced several of the old comics and a compilation book for me to read.

And so, instead of the blank void that I assumed I would face in the future, a future of no new films, today I learned that the Marvel Universe would continue on. I no longer need the films to make me laugh. My life is the best that it’s ever been. But I look forward to these new films and TV series just as much as I did when my life was terrible. Much like Marvel, my life has reached Phase 4 and I look forward to both!

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