Avengers: Endgame Dissertation (Part 2) – The Findings

[DISCLAIMER: This blog post is a condensed version of my research’s findings. If you’d like a copy of the complete dissertation paper, please e-mail arifahbadli@gmail.com. If you’d like to read about my journey in writing this dissertation (including my personal motivations, challenges, and methodology), head over to Part 1]

After an insane amount of late nights and hard work, I managed to submit my final year dissertation consisting of 10,000 words during a global pandemic. Alhamdulillah, Newcastle University gave my research paper, “#DontSpoilTheEndgame: An Investigation Into Social Media Engagements With the Viral Phenomenon of Avengers: Endgame” a First Class grade of 78/100! 

ABSTRACT: Avengers: Endgame was a film released in 2019, the finale of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Infinity saga, that not only became the highest-grossing film worldwide but broke records in terms of social media engagements, making it a viral phenomenon. This research explores the factors leading to high engagement with the film online, revealing social media’s role as a space for meaningful conversations about a beloved media franchise. To investigate this area, insights from 692 online questionnaire respondents as well as a sample of 1,000 random tweets posted during the film’s screening period were gathered. This data was then analyzed thematically to interpret the ways in which social media users interacted with Avengers: Endgame, and why they were inclined to post or share about the film. Drawing on theories of participatory culture, convergence culture, virality and cultural phenomena, the findings argue that meaningful social media engagement with Avengers: Endgame was influenced by psychological motivations – such as emotion, exclusivity, and secrecy. Other than that, this research discovered the powerful capacities of social media in uniting people across the world to interact with the film online through fandom communities, production of user-generated content, and interactive features. This communal genuine urge to share about Avengers: Endgame succeeded in spreading the word to a large audience and making content about the film go viral. However, the negative aspects of this, such as fan labour and spoiler-related anxiety, are also touched upon. Evidently, social media plays a huge role in elevating media audience participation in this digital era. 

Keywords: Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Cinematic Universe, social media, engagement, fandom, participatory culture, convergence culture, viral, cultural phenomena, film marketing

As we all know, academic writing is often dull – it lacks humour, storytelling, personal experiences, and is full of hard-to-understand jargon. So please enjoy this condensed and more fun version of my dissertation findings! For every major finding, I’ve also provided an alternative example from a different real-life event for better understanding. It will take you about 15 minutes to read, if you can spare the time to do so. 

endgame

Why choose Avengers: Endgame as a case study?

Well, other than the fact that I myself am a huge Marvel fan… the movie gained 40.5 social media engagements during release week, breaking internet records. It was also named as the most tweeted movie of all time in 2019. Also, director Joe Russo himself mentioned that Endgame couldn’t have achieved the numbers it did without social media.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is also an extremely unique movie franchise in the sense it released 21 movies prior to Endgame are interconnected with each other. Every movie is a small part of a huge jigsaw puzzle, despite featuring different characters. This means that most people who regularly consume American entertainment are familiar with at least a few movies or characters even if they aren’t huge Marvel fans. That small sense of familiarity could have influenced them to watch Endgame, thus posting about it on social media.

Continue reading Avengers: Endgame Dissertation (Part 2) – The Findings

Avengers: Endgame Dissertation (Part 1) – Producing A 10,000-word Research Paper During A Global Pandemic

[DISCLAIMER: This blog post is about the journey of writing my dissertation (including my personal motivations, challenges, and methodology). To read a condensed version of my research’s findings, please head over to Part 2.  If you’d like a copy of the complete dissertation, please e-mail arifahbadli@gmail.com]

On the 29th of May, 2020, I finally submitted my 10,000-word dissertation titled “#DontSpoilTheEndgame: An Investigation Into Social Media Engagements With the Viral Phenomenon of Avengers: Endgame”. I consumed way too much coffee for the defining assignment of my university life. It was worth it though – because I am extremely proud of my findings. And well, it ended up being a First Class dissertation, receiving 78 marks out of 100 – which is considered a brilliant score in the UK system. Alhamdulillah! I’ve only written one other essay that managed to get a mark higher than that. 

desk

So, what is a dissertation, exactly? There are many other word variations for a research dissertation – thesis, final year project, and so on. But generally, many university students all over the world have to produce a piece of original research during their final year. For my Diploma in Communication and Media at UiTM, my groupmates and I did research on The Portrayal of Skin Colour in Malaysian Advertisements. Even conducting research as a group gave me severe head pain – but nothing compared to my degree dissertation! In fact, that Diploma assignment looks so amateur now compared to my most recent work. 

So for those of you who don’t know, I am a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and have been since the first Avengers movie came out in 2012. Obviously, I was super pumped for Endgame (my followers would know…) and had the best cinematic experience of my life watching it with an amazing crowd. Being a media student, I was extremely fascinated observing the amount of social media hype regarding Endgame. I think my curiosity about this started as early as Infinity War (April 2018) – because before Infinity War, I’d known invested Marvel fans to be a tight-knit group of people. Like, among my circle of friends… I know who the Marvel nerds are, and I rarely talk about Marvel to those who aren’t interested. But when Infinity War came out, there were spoiler leaks all over the internet (yes, I’m still traumatized by that… that’s why I ended up writing a whole dissertation about it…). Which made me scratch my head and wonder, SINCE WHEN DID EVERYONE AND THEIR GRANDMOTHER BECOME A MARVEL FAN????? I was getting forwarded spoilers in class and housemate Whatsapp groups – something I have NEVER witnessed for any other movie ever. I barely even remember anyone talking about Avengers: Age of Ultron when it came out in 2015 other than my fellow Tumblr mutuals! So naturally, I decided to pursue this area of interest for my dissertation. I mean, if I was gonna be investing a lot of time and effort into writing something, it might as well be something I’m passionate about. 

I had to write my research proposal while Avengers: Endgame was still screening. A whole year before my dissertation submission. Yet, a nagging thought entered my head: what if people don’t remember engaging with Endgame on social media anymore months later when it’s time for me to conduct my research????? So I did something probably nobody else did: I collected data immediately. I got an ethics form approved and distributed my online questionnaire to people. Before I had even done literature review readings or been assigned a dissertation supervisor. Insane, I know. But I had to do it, to ensure respondents’ maximum retention of their experiences engaging with Endgame on social media. I asked them stuff like “On which social media platform do you encounter the most Endgame content?” and “Which posts from the cast/crew stood out the most for you?” and “How did social media raise your awareness of Endgame compared to traditional media?”.

Continue reading Avengers: Endgame Dissertation (Part 1) – Producing A 10,000-word Research Paper During A Global Pandemic

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Assalamualaikum w.b.t.

I was recently assigned to write the Fashion article for Niexter Online. It’s for the Raya issue, so I came up with… TA-DA, Avengeraya!

avengeraya

Are you bored of typical and predictable Raya clothes? Were you first in line for Age of Ultron tickets? This year, I thought – why not combine traditional Malay clothes and the cinematic superhero phenomenon that is Marvel? Here are two Raya outfit designs with sprayed with the essence of my two favourite Avengers.

The male outfit is clearly based on Iron Man. I came up with a red baju melayu of cotton with gold metallic patterns. The sampin is black and gold, made of songket cloth. For a touch of classiness, I threw in a pair of shiny black shoes. Best of all, I fashioned a songkok representing the Iron Man face piece and an actual glowing arc reactor. You can now look as elegant as Tony Stark this Raya!

The female design was inspired by none other than Captain America. I designed a baju kurung of satin with a blue, star-spangled top. The bottom part is a classic kain batik but with floral designs in the colours of the American flag. I added flare to the outfit by coming up with a striking red leather handbag with matching flats. To top it all off, I created a white hijab with streaks of red and blue, and Steve Rogers’ signature ‘A’ symbol.

Yeah.

I also watched Age of Ultron yesterday. I can’t be bothered to post a proper review so here are some comments (spoilers!):

  • SCIENCE BROS
  • Bruce/Natasha was 500% unexpected. Hellooooo, the MCU fandom has been shipping Clint/Natasha since 2012! But honestly, it’s actually kinda cute, though MANY people are uncomfortable with it.
  • No Coulson ‘coming back from the dead’. WHY?
  • I LOVE AVENGERS TOWER
  • HAWKEYE HAS A FARM. HAWKEYE HAS A WIFE. HAWKEYE HAS KIDS. Everyone in the audience had their jaws on the ground.
  • The scene before Ultron came to life was just adorable — when the Avengers were all just joking around and having fun, and trying to lift Thor’s Mjolnir. It was just like in the fanfics.
  • Natasha was sterilised during training. THAT IS SO SAD.
  • The twins were fantastic. Pietro died. But knowing Marvel (and film culture in general), Quicksilver will rise from the ashes lulz.
  • Steve hallucinated about being back in the 40’s, the war was over, and Peggy was asking it it was time for their dance. It was actually painful to watch.
  • Nick Fury just looks weird in a turtleneck.
  • That scene when Tony was hallucinating, saw all the Avengers dead, and Steve saying, “You could have saved us”. Sarah and I were hyperventilating in our seats. I have a history of telling Nabilah who dies in a film/show/book, so I found a gifset of this scene, linked it to her and told her Captain America dies. HA HA HA. Boy, was she angry (at me). Whatever, she’ll find out tomorrow when she watches it.
  • Sarah and I were the only ones who sat through the whole credits with muka tebal in front of the cleaners, assuming the rest of the audience weren’t real Marvel fans, only to find out there was no clip at the end, defying the tradition of Avengers films. Agh. Buat penat je tunggu.
  • I dressed up in Captain America’s colours and Sarah dressed up in Loki’s colours. Except, y’know, Loki wasn’t even in the movie. And she told me she’d dress up in Iron Man colours. SIGH.