Love has been all around us this month as we talk about how to use love in your stories. I got a wonderful question from a reader about stories where characters must choose between different types of love. She asked if audiences respond to these kinds of stories. I love this question!
In my opinion, stories with different kinds of love, that are often in conflict with one another, resonate with audiences. These different storylines give the audience lots of characters and outcomes to root for. Love in all its forms hooks audiences.
Found families are the most common multi-love stories because they have so many characters, which gives opportunities for more storylines.
As an example, let’s look at all the different kinds of love stories in the Avengers movies through End Game. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a collection of movies that has captured the hearts and minds of audiences. One of the key factors in the success of these movies is the different kinds of love stories that are woven throughout. Each of these types of love creates a compelling and emotional storyline that keeps audiences invested in the characters.
Found Family love is the foundation of the Avengers movies. It is a love that is built of shared experiences and loyalty. The Avengers care about each other like a family, and when they are under attack, they fight together. We see this in The Avengers (2012) when Loki and the Chitauri aliens attack Earth, and then later in the series when HYDRA tries to take over the world.
Family Love is another kind of love that is explored in the Avengers movies. Hawkeye and Black Panther both have families that they love and would do anything to protect. In the movies, Hawkeye’s love for his family is put to the test when they are threatened, and he must make difficult choices to keep them safe. Black Panther’s love for his family drives him to seek revenge for his father’s death and to protect his kingdom from outside threats.
Sibling Love adds conflict and stakes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Loki and Thor have a love-hate relationship that is rooted in their sibling rivalry and different personalities. T’Challa (Black Panther) and his little sister Shuri have a strong bond that is based on their love and respect for one another. Her inventions are an important part of his success. These relationships add complexity and depth to the characters, showing that even superheroes have complicated family dynamics.
Romantic Love is an important part of the Avengers movies. Tony Stark and his secretary Pepper, Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and Vision, and Captain America and Agent Peggy Carter are all romantic couples that come together over the course of the movies. Natasha (Black Widow) and Dr. Bruce Banner (The Incredible Hulk) also have romantic tension, but they do not get together. These romantic relationships add a layer of emotional depth to the characters and their motivations. They also create a sense of vulnerability, as the characters must navigate both the challenges of their relationships and protecting the world.
Best Friend Love runs through the Avengers movies too. In Captain America: Civil War (2016), Captain America’s loyalty to his best friend Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) puts him at odds with Iron Man, who wants to arrest Barnes for killing his parents. Here we see best friend love in conflict with both family love and big love (justice).
Big Love is new kind of love we haven’t discussed yet. Big love is when characters love or have loyalty to a cause bigger than themselves. For Captain America, it is his love of the United States. For the Avengers it is keeping the world safe. In Captain America: Civil War, Captain and Iron Man disagree how to keep the world safe and it tears the Avengers apart. Big love drives the characters’ actions throughout the movies and creates a sense of purpose and meaning that goes beyond individual desires.
All of these threads of big love come together in the last movie End Game (2019). Both Tony Stark and Natasha sacrifice themselves to save their loved ones and the world. With great love often comes great sacrifice. In another twist, Captain America who has sacrificed his personal life for the greater good, gets to go back in time and live a happy life with his true love Peggy.
By exploring these different types of love, the Avengers movies show that superheroes are not just powerful, but also human, with all the emotions and relationships that come with the human experience. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe stories with different types of love are incredibly effective in engaging audiences. They allow for complex character development and multiple storylines, which creates a richer, more satisfying story. By exploring the conflicts that arise when characters must choose between different types of love, these stories create emotionally resonant experiences that stay with us long after the credits roll.
So the next time you’re writing a story, consider adding different kinds of love into the mix – it may just be the key to hooking your audience and making them fall in love with your characters.
And if you need some inspiration, here is a list of all the Marvel movies I referenced.
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