Liking science never really seemed to be the cool thing to do, but recently, superhero media might have changed that…
If you, like me, were the kid who preferred science lessons when you were at school, you might have found yourself on the receiving end of ridicule from your peers. When people asked me what my favourite subject was, I’d answer science and get strange looks.
While most of my friends would profess that PE was their favourite lesson, I wasn’t like that. I wasn’t the most sporty of kids and I much preferred to play around with chemicals and “accidentally” blow things up. As a consequence, I was never one of the cool kids at school.
But now, with the huge success of the MCU, things are starting to change. People are realising that, actually, science can be cool. Thanks to heroes like Iron Man, we’re now seeing that it’s actually a good thing to use your brain as well as your brawn.
“Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave… with a box of scraps!”
Right at the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we discovered that Tony Stark was a different kind of hero. Rather than being an alien with superpowers, he was simply a man in a suit. Yes, he was a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, but ultimately, the thing that got him out of that cave was his mind.
Who can honestly tell me that they didn’t want all of the technology in Stark’s house when they first saw Iron Man? Yeah, he’s rich and he’s got some great cars, but all I wanted was a computer system like JARVIS. What’s even better is the fact that he’s clearly made all of this himself.
This theme continued as the MCU grew. Though Captain America is a more quintessential superhero, ultimately, he’s the product of a science experiment. When Bruce Banner is recruited by Black Widow in The Avengers, she tells him it’s his mind that the team need, not the monster inside of him.
From there we’re introduced to the “Science Bros” as Banner and Stark bond over their love of science. But that’s not all, just look at the likes of Hank Pym in Ant-Man or Shuri in Black Panther. Both prove crucial to their hero’s successes in the films. Even Tom Holland’s Spider-Man proves his scientific nous by altering his suit.
It’s Not Just The Films… Or The MCU!
Though the MCU’s television branch might not be as connected as it was before, there’s still a huge emphasis on tech support. Agents of SHIELD features their own brilliant research and development team in Fitz and Simmons. The two geniuses are the heart and soul of the team and use their skills effectively.
Simply put, if Fitz and Simmons weren’t a part of Coulson’s team, SHIELD would have died a long time ago. It’s thanks to their brains that the team has survived for so long. While they might not have the same skills as Daisy or May, they certainly prove their worth.
It isn’t just the MCU that focusses on science either — DC’s Arrowverse also demonstrates the importance of tech support. Look at Arrow for instance. Though it began as Oliver Queen’s crusade to save his city, he very quickly realised he needed help. This led to him recruiting Felicity Smoak.
As the years passed, Oliver’s team expanded to include Curtis Holt, who complimented Felicity’s genius. The show became much more than just a man with a bow and arrow beating up criminals. Curtis went on to become Mr Terrific, a hero who uses a great deal of technology to defeat his foes.
Team Science Always Wins
Looking at The Flash, we can also see the importance of science and engineering. Though Barry Allen is the one doing all the running around, he wouldn’t be the hero he is without his team at STAR Labs. Cisco Ramon, in particular, is a critical member of the team.
Pretty much every episode of The Flash contains some device Cisco has created; whether it’s the ear-buds he creates to defeat Pied Piper or the breach generator he gives Supergirl, Cisco’s inventions are a vital tool in saving Central City. It’s amazing, really, that he’s able to develop such devices, but he does have help.
Harrison Wells (whichever version) is always tinkering away and inventing something, as is Caitlin Snow. Barry himself is a CSI as his day job and has a fairly scientific mind as a result. Even with all of his speed, it turns out that Barry’s team is just as important as he is to saving Central City.
When the Arrowverse crosses over (we’ve ranked the best Arrowverse crossovers here), it’s not just the superheroes who team up. Yes, we’re also treated to the meeting of the minds. 2016’s “Invasion!” crossover demonstrated this as Felicity teamed up with Cisco and the STAR Labs team to find a way to defeat the Dominators. Ultimately, though, it was Martin Stein who developed the device that sent the aliens away. Man, there’s a lot of geniuses in the Arrowverse!
Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM as they’ve come to be known) are hugely important and you can see this from superhero media. So, the lesson here is: stay in school, kids! You never know where your knowledge could get you!
Find out how the MCU post-credit scenes began here.