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Reviews | How did Pop Culture influence the 2022 World Cup?

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off this Sunday in Al Khor, Qatar, with a match between the hosts, Qatar, and our South American brothers, Ecuador. But even before the ball rolls, the first Cup contested in the Middle East has already proven to be heavily influenced by global Pop Culture and its current trend: the Multiverse. If you don’t live in a cave, you’ve probably heard this word between 2021 and 2022. Whether in television series or cinema films, this concept of multiple universes coexisting has entered the popular imagination for good. .

And one of the productions that helped to open this concept of multiverse in the pop productions of the 21st century was precisely the series of fiction and politically incorrect humor, Rick & Morty. Over the past nine years, alcoholic scientist Rick and his grandson, boy Morty, have traveled through multiple parallel universes and alternate timelines causing chaos wherever they went. Inspired by the Back to the Future franchise, this cartoon became a phenomenon among young adults, who were able to explore this multiverse with more creativity and seemingly without ethical and moral limits, letting this chaos invade their imagination.

Another production that crossed timelines and alternate universes was the Flash television series.

Take the time to watch:

Entering its ninth and final season, the series starring Grant Gustin has spent the past eight years bringing the stories of comics’ most famous speedster to the small screen as he ventures through the city ​​and the various realities of the DC Universe. . There was even a time when Barry Allen’s current two, Grant and Ezra Miller (the Flash of theaters), briefly met in a funny scene on the show.

Now, however, the big-screen Flash is heading for its biggest universe meltdown with the upcoming The Flash (2023), which will adapt the iconic Flashpoint saga, better known as The Flashpoint. In it, Barry travels back in time to save his mother from death. However, his action leads to an alternate future full of wars and conflicts. So he must find a way to prevent his past from going back in time. On the big screen, Barry will find himself in a world where he meets Michael Keaton’s Batman, bringing these two realities together in one film.

In 2022, while the topic was Multiverse, the one stealing the stage was the movie Everything in Every Place at the Same Time. Starring Michelle Yeoh and released by A24, one of the most prestigious production companies today, the feature film surprised many and racked up very high reviews from specialist critics, being cited for feature prominently in the main awards ceremonies of the season.

The plot follows a middle-aged woman who emigrated from China to the United States, where she gave up on her dreams of opening a laundry. Frustrated by the mediocre life she leads and impatient for an important event, she sees her life change hour by hour when she is mysteriously summoned into a war that could define the course of the Multiverse.

But when it comes to the Multiverse in theaters, there’s no escaping today’s biggest slot: Marvel. After the end of the original Avengers saga, the famous Infinity Saga, the studio began working on integrating its films with the Disney+ series, to have more screen space to further explore this madness that is the Multiverse.

Also in 2018, Marvel began to flirt with this story of multiple realities in partnership with Sony, in the award-winning animated Spider-Man in the Spider-Verse, which told the story of Miles Morales meeting other Spider-Men. However, since it is an animation, it has yet to reach a wider audience. That story moved forward in 2019, with Spider-Man: Far From Home, in which the villain’s plan was a big mockery of the multiverse, treating the possibility like a bad joke. Throughout 2021, however, this theme ceased to be a joke and became reality. Whether it’s with a few little hints in WandaVision or even coming to blows with Loki, which effectively shows the split in the multiverse. But the truth is, the moment the multiverse became relevant in pop culture was even with the premiere of Spider-Man: No Volta Para Casa (2021), due to many factors.

When she arrived on the big screen, the world was still adjusting to be able to return to normal life, after the Covid-19 pandemic became more controlled around the world. Cinemas therefore yearned for a film that could bring audiences back to theaters, in the same way that people longed for a film that would encourage them to come out of their homes, risk their health and go to a screening. Marvel fans themselves haven’t reacted so well to the studio’s new phase, as it moves further away from what had won their hearts in over a decade of “cinematic loyalty.”

So when the big public possibility of seeing all three of the cinema’s Spider-Men reunited in one feature film was reported, even those who aren’t fans of the MCU got excited about the possible movie-event. And finally, Tom Holland’s meeting with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield was ultimately only possible thanks to the Multiverse, which completely dominates this new phase of the studio. By associating it with the first film to cross the US$1 billion mark during a pandemic, with the feature film that has become a phenomenon and will forever be remembered by millions, the Multiverse has definitely marked its role in Pop Culture. current. everything.

And he continues to reflect today on the studio’s next phase, starring Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) with reality show jumper America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), and should reach another level in the Coming Man – The Ant and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023).

That said, if you’ve come this far, you might be wondering, “Okay, but what does all this have to do with the World Cup?” “.

Well, based in Qatar, the 2022 World Cup involves a very strong socio-political context. In addition to the countless controversies surrounding this country as the host of the biggest sporting event in the world, the choice of Qatar to host the World Cup was a very expensive way to put the country on the road of international tourism, more or less as happened with Dubai, which was a desert known for its oil power and now receives millions of tourists from all over the world every year. Likewise, Qatar wants to show the world that it is open to multiple cultures, rather than the image of a traditional country that is closed-minded and rigid in terms of customs.

The mascot of the 2022 World Cup is the veil La’eeb

Whether they will succeed is another story, but the truth is that one of the means chosen by the organizing committee to try to win over the public and “improve their image” internationally was to promote their event following the major trends in current entertainment, and this was directly reflected in the World Cup mascot, the anthropomorphic veil La’eeb. Inspired by the traditional scarves that Qataris wear on their heads, the mascot has that friendly appearance, which has drawn comparisons to the iconic Gasparzinho, the Phantom Comrade, but also acquired a background completely inspired by the Multiverse trend, making part of a MascotVerse.

Their Multiverse was revealed along with the Cup group draw, an event that caught the world’s attention as it was of general interest to see who their respective teams’ opponents would be. Along with this, the examination of historical mascots living in the same reality produced memes, such as “Fuleco Mendigo”, which quickly took over hot topics from Brazil and sparked nostalgia in the public, a strategy often used by Hollywood today. Don’t know how to sell a movie? Nostalgia promise. It’s something that’s almost ingrained in this pop culture these days.

To fix this image of the mascot, which extends over all of Qatar and which is already one of the faces of this Cup, the committee bet on an animated series showing more of the superpowers of La’eeb, capable of creating time portals and travel through realities, just like Doctor Strange, while telling the story of the World Cups and the host country itself. If you want to check it out, the episodes are available on the video channel above.

And who also drew power from this combination of multiverse and 2022 World Cup nostalgia are two of the biggest sporting goods suppliers in the world: Nike and Adidas.

Adidas decided to explore the image of Lionel Messi in a video aimed not only at the player’s fans, but mainly at Argentinian fans and Albiceleste supporters. The promotional video features a MessiVerso, in which the Messi of 2022 makes a silly circle with the Messis of the last four World Cups.

To conclude in golden key, the advertisement appeals to the extreme nostalgia of the Argentinian fan by making the clip to the sound of the song Live Is Life, by the group Opus. Anyone who isn’t a football fan can pass this up, but it’s the song that rocks a historic Napoli warm-up video, in which the late Diego Armando Maradona showed technique and skill, having fun while delighting the fans. . By bringing the image of the current Argentine idol multiplied by five and associating it with the biggest idol in the country, called by many the “D10”, Adidas has embraced the current cinematic strategy and obtained several accolades for its proposal. over the past few hours.

Nike, famous for its historic advertisements, has embraced the multiverse once and for all with its FutebolVerso. The publicity piece revolves around two scientists, a Frenchman and a Brazilian, in Switzerland, the country where FIFA – football’s supreme body – is based, who discuss who would win in an X1: the current French number 10, Mbappé, or the Ronaldinho Gaúcho of 2006, the year he stunned the world with his skills. Thus, they create a machine capable of traversing the Multiverse to bring the best versions of historical stars to compete in the laboratory.

And then, the film makes coexist three different versions of Ronaldo Fenomeno, two versions of the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo playing together, and even the ace Shuuya Gouenji, from the anime Super Eleven. This proposition of unexpected encounters of world stars in absurd situations dominated Nike commercials in the 90s, creating some of the brand’s biggest commercials in all of history. Thus, the nostalgia now reinforced by the multiverse returns.

Over the years, sports and entertainment have gone hand in hand, often overlapping. Seeing the influence of current pop culture on the biggest sporting event in the world is extremely interesting and brings together again these two facets of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment.

The World Cup begins on November 18 and will be broadcast on Globoplay.

Rick & Morty, The Flash Series, Batman (1989) and Spider-Man-No Return Home are available on HBO Max.

Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man in the Spider-Verse, WandaVision, Loki and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are available on Disney+.

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