An open letter to MCU diehards: Casual Marvel fans can enjoy ‘Endgame’ too

April 06, 2019 – Jurmane Lallana and Vinz Lamorena

A recent post from a local Marvel community page branded those who watch Avengers: Endgame without first seeing Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man, and the Incredible Hulk are “fake Marvel fans.” (Quick side note: Really? The disaster that is Incredible Hulk is included in the criteria? That already is a red flag for condemnable pretension on our books).

We know how to enjoy a good meme and all, but this is one that steps over the line. There's a certain kind of responsibility, one of avid moviegoers, that compels us to fully disagree with that post. Here's the thing, not liking MCU movies is okay. Thinking Marvel comic books are better than the movies is okay. Liking the 2008 Incredible Hulk is okay. But categorizing moviegoers who head straight for Avengers: Endgame as "Fake Marvel fans"? Definitely not okay.

Marvel fan pages with a huge following should lead not lead in rallying the toxic crowd to attack casual viewers. They should know better than to judge because a movie watched is still a movie watched. As long as people support Endgame and contribute to the sales, we should all be happy. Why do you think Infinity War made so much money? Because people who have not watched a film in ages went out of their way to see it.

Although it is always recommended to watch the previous movies, trust that Marvel Studios produced Endgame in such a way that new fans will be able to understand what's going on, and it will be an entertaining and emotional film on its own. They are obviously making this blockbuster for old and new fans alike. What's stopping first-time MCU watchers to appreciate the featured heroes on Endgame, so much so that they actually end up watching the movies that came before it?

It's simply illogical to think that every single one that contributed to the billions in the box office sales of any Avengers film has each been following the MCU since 2008. Heck, maybe some of its newest fans weren't even born in that year, but we see some of these toddlers proudly wearing their Spidey suits and Captain America shields. It's okay for people to discover things and decide later on that they love them. Even if it is after riding the hype. It's not categorized as popular culture for no reason, right?

The thing is, we shouldn't rob people the opportunity to become fans themselves. Everybody starts somewhere. It's true for everything we encounter in life. You, a self-proclaimed Marvel diehard, were once a fool who knew nothing about that tremendously awesome world where parallel realities collide and superhuman beings lead the most interesting of lives. We each have different ways of discovering things we love. For other moviegoers, Endgame can be their entry to the Marvel geekdom. There's no rule saying they can't.

Besides the attention and interest fans share so passionately about their individual fandoms, there's also one common thing that we share: We were all once in a position where we were just starting to understand the universe we have voluntarily wanted to immerse ourselves in. We get it. Some of us put Marvel and the experiences it gives us on a pop culture pedestal. We want to guard the sanctity of a cinematic universe we have patiently witnessed to be built in a span of a decade. There's that fear of diminishing authenticity towards Marvel's characters and its stories when we let people who aren't as equally knowledgable as we are in. We share the same sentiment, too.

But as fans, we don't need to build a gate around things we love just because we believe there's only one way of appreciating them. It's as simple as that. If we don’t want to share with other people what you have loved and cherished for years, then aren't we the ones who are ought to be called a fake fan? It's a disservice to Marvel, to decide for ourselves who can or cannot enjoy the movies they create.

Looking back, we were that comic book fan who have read about the MCU heroes years before they appeared on the big screen. We understand where this arrogant disdain is coming from. When Iron Man (2008) came out and he became the default answer to the question “Who’s your favorite superhero?,” we felt annoyance—a sense of entitlement for being a fan first. We felt dozens, no, millions, of people were just bandwagoning on what’s trending and didn’t really understand Tony Stark the way we did. However, years later it comes off as pretty silly. We know now that others supporting Iron Man doesn’t mean we'd have to support him any less.

A friend of ours pointed out that Marvel diehards may face this dilemma when Endgame finally shows in the cinemas: Casual viewers asking endless questions if they head straight to Endgame without watching the movies that came before it. This can be irritating for us who waited more than a decade to watch it, and that is why we should set some ground rules before watching the movie. Convince the people you’re going with to at least read up on what happened, or give them a background before the movie starts.

If they’re truly worth the company, they will respect how much this means to you. If not, then find like-minded individuals who value Endgame the same way you do, or set a date with yourself to put you in the zone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you and the Marvel Cinematic Universe enjoying a special moment together.

Avengers: Endgame will premiere in Philippine cinemas on Apr. 24.