Welcome to the POP Culture blog where we talk about bubbles in pop culture (and beyond)!
In the first post of the series, we are going to dive in to 2018's Avenger's Infinity War by Marvel Studios, owned by Disney. Spoilers are ahead but, c'mon - it's 2023 why havent you seen Infinity War yet?
Probably my favorite use of bubbles is in this movie. In two separate scenes, Gamora's attempts to sacrifice herself for the greater good of the universe are thwarted by Thanos when he uses the reality stone to turn weapons to bubbles.
The first time we see this happen is in a really tense scene where Thanos has captured Gamora. She previously made StarLord (her love interest) promise that he would kill her before letting Thanos take her in an attempt to keep him from getting the Soul Stone. We see StarLord go through an intense inner struggle because he loves her but he realizes he must sacrifice her for the greater good and follow her wishes. When he finally steels himself to pull the trigger, Thanos uses the Reality Stone to turn the blast and his gun into bubbles. This is devastating to Gamora.
The second time we see this happen is similar. Afraid of Thanos succeeding in obtaining the Soul Stone, Gamora tries to use her dagger to stab herself. Once again her attempt to sacrifice herself is thwarted as the dagger turns to bubbles in her hand.
The use of bubbles in both these scenes is poignant. These are dark and heavy moments, with the very permanent theme of self sacrifice. Bubbles are a juxtaposition in these moments. Bubbles are light, airy, fun and impermanent. We can also tie the temporary life of bubbles to the temporary life of Gamora.
Why did Thanos choose bubbles? It makes one wonder if he was thinking of the most joyful thing he could fathom or the most benign thing. Was it a gesture to his daughter that everything would be alright or was it the opposite, was he playing a cruel joke against Gamora to always show how mighty and powerful he is versus how fragile (like a bubble) she is? Both themes are interesting takes on these scenes. I am no Marvel expert but I like to think it was the former, a gesture to Gamora that everything will be alright (to him) in the end. What do you think? Let me know!