Young Fandom: Why Representation Matters
by Veronica Nunez
**Contains Spoilers of Avengers: Endgame.***
I headed to a local movie theater which has very low ticket prices in the mornings and matinees to see Avengers: Endgame a fourth time. Since it was part of a smaller theater chain I was hoping they would still have some Avengers/Marvel collector cups and popcorn tins available. Arriving at 10:56am I was still in time to buy a ticket for the 11am show and was seated next to a father with his daughter who appeared to be approximately 8 years old as far I could tell in the darkened theater. This is about this girl and how her responses to Avengers: Endgame really affected me enough for me to still be thinking about it days later.
This little girl was fantastic. She laughed really loud at the funny scenes and was completely engaged in the happenings in the movie. In the early part of the movie Tony Stark is adrift in space with Nebula, and Tony lies down and Nebula comes to check on him. When Tony doesn’t respond to Nebula’s moving his face I heard a sharp intake of breath from the girl. I just thought “just wait.” From what I could tell from the girl’s responses to the movie I believe she’s seen most if not all of the MCU films to date.
Two main instances I want to cover focuses on when Mjolnir goes to Captain America and when the women surround Captain Marvel to assist her in getting the Infinity Stones to Ant-Man and Wasp at the van. When Mjolnir flies into Captain American’s hand most of the audience in the theater applauded and cheered, but the little girl just said “Whaaa?!” quite loudly. I couldn’t help but to laugh. I turned to her and she was looking at her dad (who was sitting between us) confusedly. Her reaction told me that even if she doesn’t know much of the Marvel comics or lore, she knows from the films that only Thor can wield the hammer.
The audience didn’t cheer when the women came to Captain Marvel, but the girl loudly said, “girl power!” and clapped her hands. I looked over at her and she was absolutely beaming at the screen thoroughly enjoying seeing these women kick ass on the screen.
When Thanos and Captain Marvel are fighting for the stones and Thanos pulls out the Power Stone, the girl quietly said, “oh, no.” Later, everyone in the audience cheers when it’s revealed Iron Man has taken the stones out of the gauntlet Tony had made, and the girl jumped to her feet clapping and cheering.
I wasn’t able to talk to the father and daughter duo after the movie as they left just as the credits began, and I left after the six core Avengers’ credits (with the actors’ autographs) finished. The girl’s reaction when the women come to assist Captain Marvel is just another reason why we need more female superheroes and female leaders in television and films. This little girl definitely knew the characters and some of the lore, yet she got the most excited seeing women support another woman and see them fight a common enemy alongside the all of the men. We need to see more females leading figurative and literal battles on screen for the younger generations of all genders.