With the exception of organized high school athletics, I’ve always been at my happiest when I’ve been a member of a Team. Specifically, a Team with a Mission– something that made us special, abnormal, transcendent even. The cast and crew of a play, the members of a club at a conference or convention, and a million other nerdy configurations.
This Team aesthetic is, I think, is the main thing that appeals to me so much about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When I sit down and attempt to personally rank the current MCU films, here on the brink of Endgame, I realize that my favorite entries in the franchise are always the ones with the biggest casts. The Avengers, Infinity War, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 are my personal top three.
A lot of my favorite MCU scenes have already been discussed in the kickass video essay series, “One Marvelous Scene.” What is “One Marvelous Scene?” From Nando v Movies’ YouTube description, “On this, the week of Avengers: Endgame, a couple of remarkable YouTubers assembled and each made a video describing One Marvelous Scene from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Here’s a link to the video playlist. When I heard the prompt, I wanted to take part in the exercise so badly. To be a part of another Team, far flung though it may be.
For my essay, I want to talk about a post-credits scene: the shawarma scene at the end of 2012’s The Avengers. I love this scene so much, because I think it’s one that any sort of Team can relate to, superheroic and non. Because what is the thrill of the opening night performance without the post-show trip to Waffle House at midnight, still in hair and make-up?
To me, this scene re-enforces the relatability of The Avengers. They’ve won the big game, they’ve opened the big show, they’ve made it to the state level of Quiz Bowl, etc, etc, etc. And, just like us, they’re exhausted and hungry.
(That’s my secret, Cap. I’m always exhausted and hungry.)
It’s really important to my soft, nerd heart to believe that the Avengers are friends deep down. Team=Friends, right? Right? I have the kind of job where we’re all so close and up in each other’s space all the time that my co-workers are the people I see the most out of anyone else. It makes me really sad to consider that we wouldn’t still be friends if we didn’t have work smashing us together all of the time, you know? I’m always so incredibly delighted when any of us ends up hanging out outside of a work function. Whenever it feels like we like each other on purpose, and aren’t just stuck with each other.
The Avengers certainly don’t start out the series as BFF’s. There’s friction and distrust among almost everyone. Going into Endgame, there are still a lot of unresolved issues, especially between Steve and Tony, and Bruce and Natasha. But, like Paris, I want to believe that they’ll always have shawarma. Because the circumstances and the work aren’t what make a group a Team. It’s the going out afterwards that does. It’s the choice to actively keep hanging out after it’s time to put down the hammer, the shield, or the bow & arrow.
I want the Avengers to be friends, because otherwise what was this all for? Why does the prospect of losing any of these heroes (for good) in Endgame hurt so bad? I think it’s because we don’t just want to keep seeing them, but because we want to see them together. Like, yeah, I want to see Captain Marvel punch Thanos’ lights out, but I want to see that less than I want to see these characters reunite with their friends and family.
I want them to be happy, or at least at peace. That’s my great responsibility to them. And I want them to win, and I want them to do it together.
And, in whatever configuration remains, I want them to go out for shawarma afterwards.