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3-min read

Of Avengers and Us: How MCU Convinced Me That Aliens Exist

After watching 21 MCU films, and some others by DCEU, I have no second thoughts about life outside of our planet. Now, is there a superhuman who can save us?

Devasheesh Pandey | News18.com

Updated:April 23, 2019, 9:28 PM IST
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Of Avengers and Us: How MCU Convinced Me That Aliens Exist
After watching 21 MCU films, and some others by DCEU, I have no second thoughts about life outside of our planet. Now, is there a superhuman who can save us?
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Alien life has constantly been referred to in the entertainment industry, but all flew close-to or under the radar until Avengers and the likes came into our lives. If you take a look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe, amplifying culture and reality has been the primary focus and rightly so, but now, after exhausting time with watching some 30-odd superhero films, and catching sight of the depicted iconography, it feels like I am being conditioned to face the inevitable reality--that of an alien invasion.

Delving into the possibility as such are other media arms of the same franchise- comic books, TV and children's toys- which too have depicted aliens in many shapes and form, influencing, at each step, how we perceive them.

Let's take a look at how a USD 18 billion franchise has seeded the serious thought of extraterrestrials in our heads, with mass damage as the only possible conclusion to such obliterating hostility.

Escapism and Reality- A Thin line in MCU

While the theory of ETs and flying saucers have been around for more than 70 years now, and there have been confirmed UFO sightings in some parts of the USA, Australia and Canada (Roswell UFO incident in New Mexico), MCU seems to be treading the thin line between supposed myth and inferred reality.

Alien Sighting in Roswell, New Mexico, 1947

Instead of providing proof of contact with alien species, or transmission signals, or physical artifacts, entire MCU rests on the authenticity of their existence. They are mostly depicted as threats and a counterpoint to humanity and its ways. Thematic references in films have also traveled from outside, unannounced alien threats to Skrulls (shape shifting aliens) in Captain Marvel living among us. And so has our point of reference.

Its reasonable to believe that the likes of Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) and Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson) are themselves outcasts, seeking refuge on Earth. The only way they get to survive here is by becoming consenting party to our institutions and government. But if they don't like them (us), they may turn any minute and who is to argue otherwise! It's classic power struggle, where only the ones with faculty, dictate terms and survive, and aliens sure are our close rivals.

Reality Enhancing Filmmaking Tools

Imagination stockpile of writers and directors has been realised using CGI, VFX and prosthetic make-up, for all practical purposes. The general populace had no inkling as to what ETs looked like in the first place until mass media started circulating the concept of spaceships and aliens. Today, humans have become easy prey for aliens, who wield tremendous powers in the MCU.

While the Outriders, Thanos, Chitauri etc are considered to be cool, vicious yet fictional creatures, there's a certain realness in the appearance that does not seem to help. Say for instance, an alien from Shaktimaan (Indian superhero) would not have the same effect on my imagination as much as an impeccably CGI-crafted Chitauri. And when these species are not themselves, as a replacement, they look like us and speak English (Guardians of The Galaxy). The perfect replacement. See here:

Alien Comparison

Additionally, proximity to human emotions (fear, hatred, competitiveness etc), tension that rises with background score, necessity to compete and fascination with the human race and other such tropes only compound the feeling, forcing us to buy into the idea of a looming extraterrestrial threat and earth as a playground for human paranoia.

Cross- Referencing and Repeating Cycles of Alien Life Form

Aliens fill popular culture- from books, to TV shows to movies, they are everywhere and also shape our beliefs in all things that are otherworldly. ETs repeatedly feature in the MCU and instead of taking an earnest look at the possibility of life forms apart from Earth, these films merely reinforce alien proximity to our planet, in sort of serious, menacing ways.

They come claiming resources, dishing out death, humiliation and damage. Apart from sci-fi films that feature fantasy creatures as our benevolent overlords, humanity is a mere pushover for alien species, whose agenda is either slavery or destruction.

So if infiltration and subversion is their only purpose, how well are we prepared to take them on. Are we geared for such lukewarm possibilities, like experiments drawn up, threats analysed, guidelines issued or adequate weaponry designed? US President Ronald Reagan once said, "I occasionally think how quickly our differences, worldwide, would vanish if we were facing an alien threat." Well, that needs to be given serious thought is all because humans will be helpless under the onslaught.

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