I had planned to go to a movie today, but I didn’t.
Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this.
The movie was Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. While about half of Marvel’s phase 4 has been underwhelming, I’m excited about this film. I was looking forward to seeing it tonight, but I didn’t, for a variety of reasons. I’ve travelled quite a bit in the last week. We had an annual Ikea run on Saturday (what used to be an annual event), and spent the night setting up new furniture. Our 6-year-old randomly decided to set an alarm clock, which went off at 0-dark-thirty after I’d been up really late anyway, and I was just wicked tired. I decided to help with dinner instead. All good reasons to skip a movie that I can easily catch later.
This film has already been in theatres for a week as a I write this. So the fact that a Marvel movie has been playing that long without me in an audience, and then I postponed it likely another week….well, if you know me at all, you’ll appreciate the paradigm shift.
There was a time when Marvel film releases were on my calendar and planned for weeks or months in advance. We were in the theatre on opening weekend. If there was a scheduling conflict, the other thing was shifted. Child care was booked and confirmed. Think of it as the Superbowl, but for geeks, often followed promptly by a review of the movie on this very blog. That really hasn’t been the case lately. It’s part of a post-Covid mental shift for me. As with many, I’ve just re-prioritized things. I still really want to see this movie, but I’m also really happy that I took the afternoon and had a relaxed dinner with my family.
When Black Widow opened in theatres during the pandemic, I was still very uneasy about venturing back into that environment. I waited three weeks to see that film, and only then during a sparsely attended matinee. This for one of my all-time favorite characters. I never saw Spider-Man: No Way Home in the theatre due to the virus…I (im)patiently awaited it’s Blu-Ray release. And now Wakanda Forever. Which, as much as I want to see, I’m honestly just questioning if I want to make it to a theatre, less now because of concerns over the virus, but more because there are just so many other priorities, things that would have been shifted three years ago in favor of the movie, but that are now reasons why the movie hasn’t happened.
I love the experience of going to a movie. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t call myself a movie lover, but the experience feels similar enough to attending live theatre that I’ve always enjoyed it. Now that I’m on the other side of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, however, I find myself thinking, can I just wait until this is streaming somewhere?
I fully intend to see Wakanda forever in the theatre (and wow, is it difficult to avoid spoilers for this long). I’ll probably post a review here when I do. I miss that buzz of seeing some of my favorite characters come to life on the big screen, the excitement of being there as soon as it is available, but other things have taken its place. I guess that, no matter how much I wanted…and I think that many of us did…the end of the pandemic to bring things full circle to exactly the way they were before, it’s simply not the case. Different things have changed for all of us, and won’t be the same. I question how much longer movie theatres will survive, and that is a thing that has shifted for me. My movie-going habits won’t be the same.
Interestingly, life still goes on, and I’m even the better for it.