Juhannah Reduque

In 2008, a film from a young studio made its way into the limelight. Its main character was largely unheard of, because the film was a comic-book adaptation, and it was expected to fail. Still, “Iron Man” shattered all doubt and claimed the number one spot for weeks at the box office. Rotten Tomatoes commended the film by saying, “‘Iron Man’ turbo-charges the superhero genre with a deft intelligence and infectious sense of fun.” With this overwhelmingly positive reception, “Iron Man” was the start of the intricate narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

The MCU has more characters and interweaving storylines than I can recite, yet it is that brilliant interconnectedness that continuously attracts people to its loyal fanbase. Marvel films grab our attention through compelling storytelling, jaw-dropping visual effects, brilliant soundtracks and an ever-growing cast. MCU films are influential, and since “Iron Man,” it has wisely used its platform to empower audiences.

From introducing strongly written female characters like Natasha Romanov, Pepper Potts and Peggy Carter, to producing full features like “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel” that unabashedly celebrate diversity and inclusion, Marvel has mastered how to weave social awareness into its stories. When I first watched “Black Panther,” I couldn’t stop thinking about Okoye, the general of Wakanda’s all-women army. She is strong, intelligent, skilled, confident, gentle and beautiful — not once is she forced to compromise any of that. In that certainty, Okoye’s characterization is defined: she is a woman, a warrior, a friend, a wife and more. Her character reassured me that I don’t have to be just one good thing. I can be all of it.

Recently, Marvel released their plans for Phase 4, promising more superheroes, stories and opportunities for Marvel to showcase their growth. Marvel knows that they are defining an era, and if their track record is any indication of their future, I believe that Marvel will become a legacy for future generations to look back on with awe.