Losing and carrying on

For a long time, the superheroes we’ve read about in comic books have attracted a great deal of interest in their TV and film adaptations. A quick look at these productions over the years shows that all of these heroes in their time have influenced children and young people, first on TV and then the films afterwards.

Until 20 years ago, DC characters were the ones dominating movies and TV shows. George Reeves’ Superman made his mark by bringing a generation of children to the screen in the 1950s, followed by the TV Batman in the 1960s. Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman movie made everyone believe the Man of Steel could fly, and his screenplay provided the template for almost every superhero film for years after.

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Tim Burton’s historic Batman in 1989 was a bit dark, but it returned the Dark Knight to the world stage. Until then, no matter what characters Marvel brought to TV or movie screens, they were never able to achieve the same success as Superman and Batman.

After that, an event took place that would change the world of superheroes forever. In 1992, Superman fought with Doomsday and died, meaning that superheroes who always win their fights can also die. After Superman, a lot of heroes died, but almost all of them came back to life somehow.

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In 2000, with the special effects developed in the X-Men movies, a new era of comic book movie adaptations was born; these films were hugely successful with a generation raised on comic books. In 2008, when Marvel was struggling financially, they shot the first Iron Man movie and for the first time started pull ahead of their long-time rival, DC.

The film and the acting were quite good, but what attracted the most attention was the conversation between Tony Stark and Nick Fury that followed the credits after the end of the film. It was a message that these superheroes, who were always turning up in each other’s comic books, were also going to appear together onscreen. Before that, the only crossovers were in the Hulk movies, when the Green Giant appeared together with Thor and Daredevil, but that wasn’t very important. Of course, there was also the 1973 Turkish cult classic, 3 Dev Adam (3 Giant Men), where Captain America takes on the gangster Spiderman.

Over the next 11 years, Marvel produced 22 more superhero movies and became the world’s number one. Their success increased comic book sales, and the films’ storylines were reshaped according to fans’ favourite scenes.

Marvel Studios raised the bar so high that for a long time, their competitors had no chance. But finally, this 22-film series is coming to an end (for now) with the last instalment, Avengers: Endgame.

In case you haven’t seen the penultimate movie, Avengers: Infinity War, I should warn you there are spoilers in this paragraph. In Infinity War, Thanos, the supervillain tied into the other 22 films, snapped his famous fingers and annihilated half of all living things in the universe. Endgame starts at this point with our superheroes, demoralized and unaccustomed to losing, and it focuses on them trying to solve this new problem; it’s extremely difficult to carry on after losing battles and loved ones. This is understood through the changes we see in the characters at the beginning of the film.

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Afterwards, the search begins for something Dr Strange mentioned at the end of Infinity War that could possibly help them beat Thanos. It’s worth mentioning that there are some important points from Captain Marvel’s and Ant-Man’s stories; they didn’t appear in Infinity War, but their movies were released afterwards. Two other things that work well in Endgame are that Thor is depicted as a comedic character like he was in Ragnarok, and there is Hulk’s transformation into Professor Hulk, which we know about from the comic books.

The big takeaway from Endgame is about successfully carrying on despite defeat, which is really hard for people to do after losing people they love, their self-confidence, and so many other things. Regardless of all that our heroes lost, they force themselves to keep going. Considering this point, you might notice certain aspects that resemble the situation that Kurds have faced for years.

Kurds, like the people in the Marvel Universe, continue with their struggle despite losing loved ones, their lands, and a lot of their rights. They never once had a superhero to protect them from the cruelty they face.

Although they were able to take back some of their rights, these steps forward didn’t last long. Almost no traces remain of any progress made in the first years of the AKP’s rule, especially in Turkey’s Southeast. After everything that’s happened in the last several years, the Southeast region seems like it has gone back to the old days.

Although their elected MPs have been arrested and their elected mayors have been removed from their posts and replaced with trustees, Kurdish citizens have never given up their rightful struggle during these difficult years. Despite all that they have lost, their struggle to regain their rights carries on. In short, even though Kurds aren’t superheroes, every one of them is acting like a superhero.

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When you’re watching Endgame, you’ll understand there won’t be any more films about a lot of the superheroes, but it’s good to see that life goes on despite all the death and destruction. Regardless of how many hardships we face and how much we lose, there is always hope for the future. As the famous saying goes, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn.”

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.