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Marvel Completes It’s Conquest Of The Cinematic Universe With Avengers: Endgame

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Spoiler Alert!

It has been the most anticipated movie in the world for well over a couple of years now. Ever since Thanos pillaged the Universe, Wakanda and snapped his fingers to wipe out half of the beings in the Universe, we have all been waiting to see how this was going to end, given that the original Avengers were spared from the snap.

MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) has done all it can to not disappoint its audience and takes us through an action-filled and emotional roller coaster ride in the Endgame.

I am at my hometown in Kerala and Thrissur is not even counted among the top cities of the state. It got an INOX only a few years back. I wanted to experience the thrill of watching the movie on the first day of release and when I went online to book the ticket, I was taken aback when I found that all the tickets were already booked and gone. Then booking opened for April 27, 2019, and that too ended in no time. 28th is Sunday and there was no need to even check for the tickets. Fortunately somehow, I looked back on April 26 for no reason and I found that INOX had increased the number of shows. The booked shows were all 3D and I found a normal show in 2D which still had tickets available. Then I heaved a sigh after getting a first-day third show ticket.

I believe MCU has usurped Apple’s worldwide brand leadership superiority comprehensively. I am very well aware of the passionate following that Apple has in many countries across the world, and how people who are their loyal and dedicated customers buy as many products of Apple as they can and keep upgrading them. But Indian market never experienced the madness of Apple’s fandom. Though a large number of Indians use iPhones, iMacs, etc, Apple doesn’t enjoy the cult status it has in other countries. But MCU seems to have broken through that barrier as well. If Endgame could kick up this level of buzz and curiosity in my hometown, I am wondering how huge it would be in the major cities across the country.

Coming to the movie, as I was watching it, I kept thinking about Apple’s products and their products that are most probably in the pipelines. It is generally considered that Apple has a huge pipeline of new products and upgrades of its existing products with new and upgraded features. Steve Jobs was rumored to have worked on many of their designs before his death.

From the first Iron Man movie in 2008 which kicked off the Avengers franchise, MCU has been leaving a teaser behind at the end credits of every movie which would come to play a significant role in another movie down the line. Who would have thought that the smiling face of Thanos at the end credits of the first Avengers movie in 2012 would transcend into a full-scale war and a finger-snapping wipeout of half the Universe’s population in the Infinity War? Now I am wondering if MCU had decided on the script of Infinity War before that of the first Avengers movie itself. But then it puzzles me more because to script the Infinity War they needed to first decide on how Endgame was going to pan out.

What Is Endgame All About?

The trailers were already out sometime back and we knew the original Avengers team were desperately trying to reverse what Thanos had done. We know that Antman was inside the quantum realm at the end of Antman and the Wasp. So when he was shown knocking on the door of the Avengers building desperately wanting to talk in the Endgame trailer, the clue was written all over it. Antman had survived the snap in the quantum realm, had found his way back and believes the way to undoing Thanos’s snap is through the quantum realm.

The new Spiderman movie (Spiderman – Far from home) trailer is out. He was a victim of the snap and so was Nick Fury and both of them are being shown in the trailer. So Endgame releasing before the new Spiderman movie means both of them are back which means all or most of the Avengers are back. This, in turn, means the original Avengers have managed to unsnap Thanos. We already know this much before watching the movie.

So Captain Marvel receives Nick Fury’s pager SOS, flies down to Earth, hooks up with the original Avengers, tracks down the retired Thanos with the help of the reformed Nebula, and Thor decapitates him with the Stormbreaker axe. But they don’t find the Infinity stones as they were destroyed by Thanos after the snap. Then Antman walks in 5 years later and shows that time travel is possible through the quantum realm. Then they hit upon the plan to track down the stones before Thanos does in the past and thus begins the race through time as they are made to go as far back as 1970 to retrieve the Tesseract.

Here some of the time travel scenes of the movie made no sense to me. Thor goes back to 2013 and brings his hammer Mjolnir into the present, which basically makes the scene where Hela crushes it with her hand in Thor Ragnarok irrelevant and senseless. Thor would not have had the hammer in his hand when he and Loki were facing her. What would have had happened if he had summoned the hammer?

Captain America from the present is shown getting into a fight with his past version in 2012 as he goes in search of the Tesseract. Nebula of the present is shown fighting with Nebula of 2014 and injuring her. How can only one version of her get injured without the other feeling the pain? I believe that if we are ever able to time travel, our past self will only be seen as a version of our present self and vice versa without any interaction. Changing the events of the past can have significant and catastrophic effects in the present so we may only be able to view them passively.

Plenty of spoiler alerts about the movie are already popping up on the internet. It is the control over the Soul Stone that allowed Thanos to wipe out half of all the living beings in the Universe in Infinity War. My understanding was that it was the Infinity gauntlet that gave Thanos control over all the stones. In the Endgame, it is Hulk who first uses the Infinity Gauntlet with the stones to restore everything that Thanos had destroyed. Thanos who gets to know in 2014 that the Avengers are putting together the Infinity stones in the future is shown to be time travelling into the future to attack the Avengers.

Thanos was killed by the Avengers 5 years in the past so there was no way Thanos could have traveled into the future unless Hulk had restored him and his army with the finger snap. This means Hulk did not have control over the Soul Stone to selectively restore the dead beings. But when Iron Man uses the gauntlet and snaps his fingers only Thanos and his army are wiped out which means Iron Man has control over the Soul Stone. How does Iron Man have control over the Soul Stone but not Hulk? It is also not clear how Thanos manages to travel into the future with his army. Marvel has to explain these oddities in their narrative.

Anyways, Sci-Fi and the grandeur of special effects upstages all rationality. The original Avengers were kept alive because only they could have reversed the effects of the snap and neutralized Thanos. But it would have had to come at a cost. It became evident that all the original Avengers will not survive past the Endgame movie when Chris Evans mentioned in an interview that it has been a privilege playing Captain America over the years and to be part of the Avengers franchise. Just the way like Wolverine of the X-Men franchise.

Some or more of the older characters have to die off or disappear so that new characters can come in and take the franchise forward. The original Avengers have had their time in the sun. Now it’s time for superheroes like Captain Marvel and Spiderman to take center stage. This could be why finally there was no teaser at the end credits. The original Avengers could probably be seen as flashes from the past in the next Avengers movies. So expect a complete reboot of Avengers with new heroes taking their place and going forward.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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