I like to believe that I am a good Father. I have taught my sons what’s important. My sons may not know how to throw a football or change the oil on a car but, by gum, they all know STAN LEE!
In 1963, Stan Lee started creating some of the most memorable comic book characters of all time. He, along with other legends like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko brought to life heroes like Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and the Incredible Hulk.
In 2008, my sons were 16, 14 and 6 years old. That was the year the first Marvel Movie “Iron Man” came out. I asked the oldest (Joey) if he wanted to see it with me and was very surprised when he eagerly agreed.
Joey and I have been to every single Marvel movie together since. It became our thing. We would get supper first while I explained the comic history of whatever icon we were about to see. We would discuss the last film and try to guess how this one fits into the overall story. We would make predictions, indicating what we wanted to happen.
In the theater, after buying the required snacks, we would just talk about how things were going. We would reminisce about previous movies and what has happened to us since then. We would always play my game of guessing how many trailers we would see before the film finally started. After each one aired, we would look at each other, holding up the correct number of fingers and indicating with a head shake or nod whether we wanted to go see that one.
During the movie, I would sneak glimpses of my son, seeing the reflection of the screen on his face. I would be mesmerized by his facial expressions and mannerisms as the story unfolded. He never took his eyes off the screen! Then an explosion or something would turn my attention back into the cinematic world.
We would wait patiently through the end credits of each movie, waiting for that brief glimpse of what the next film would bring to the saga! After the final scene, we would nearly run to the restroom! After a refill of the popcorn bucket, we headed home.
In the car, my son and I would grill each other with our own version of an “award show”. We shared a favorite scene, the best line that cracked us up, and best “scene-stealing” moment by a secondary character”. We shared our questions about the plot and hopes for the next film. And, of course, we would show our appreciation for the “STAN LEE” cameo.
Joey and I would get home and, after a few words to his mother about how much he enjoyed the experience, went to his room.
Those experiences were some of the best days of my life. As you know, Joey is on the Autism Spectrum. He has a high form that used to be call ASPERGERS (and we still do). Socializing is hard for him, as is communication and staying on a single topic. He doesn’t like large crowds or noises. He prefers routine, quiet activities.
But on those movie days, all that falls away. His conversational skills increase exponentially. His social skills as well. I remember one film (actually Iron Man 3) when he spent a good 10 minutes talking to a stranger behind us who had interjected himself into our conversation. I watched him engage in a back and forth conversation, pride pouring from me!
I write this today because we are about to see “Avengers Endgame”. We always wait about a week after an opening weekend to avoid the crowds. I am excited to see the movie but I can’t help to “Marvel” at the wonderful changes in my son since that first one in 2008.
This time, Joey bought the tickets (online). He bought three, because Josh, my youngest has been joining us for the last couple of movies. I used to take Josh after Joey and I have seen it but that doesn’t fly anymore! He gets as excited as we do now! I am proud that Joey invited his brother and this is another thing they can bond over. In addition, Joey told me he’s covering supper as well. We are seeing the movie at the Southridge Bistro, which is also a restaurant, serving meals while you watch the movie.
The thing that has changed the most since that first movie for us? SPOILERS!
We have to be wary when every movie comes out because friends and family usually see it way before us. In 2008, spoilers were easier to avoid that they are today. This time, I basically stayed off the internet the whole week and regulated my TV viewing to DVR’d programs where I could skip commercials! Everywhere I looked was a SPOILER, creeping up to ruin my enjoyment of an event eleven years in the making! I was constantly bombarded, even from my students at school! One started rattling off the events in such detail I literally left the room until one of my assistants informed me he was finished.
But now I will see the movie and determine for myself if it lives up to all the hype! I will count myself among those who have experienced the end of an era, the culmination of eleven years and twenty movies! I will be proud to call myself a fan!
There is also another saga that I follow closely. As with the Marvel Universe, I have exposed my sons to its rich tapestry of characters, plot twists and unique special effects! We have enjoyed every part of the story so far. We dissect and recount our favorite events. We share our favorite characters and best quotes, as well as those amazing moments when things are at there worst, a miracle happens and changes the entire story. We also look forward to this story “endgame”
If you haven’t guessed by now, I am talking about the Bible. These interconnected stories span over 2500 years! The saga focuses on the ultimate superhero, a Jewish carpenter who saved the world with an act of incredible sacrifice. Jesus is the best superhero! He saved an entire planet for all eternity. He lived a perfect life! He died an agonizing death that we deserve! He rose again and now rules over the whole world!
Meanwhile, Jesus archnemesis, the devil is ready to make his final assault on earth. The “endgame” is coming and it’s closer than you may think. How will it end? Who will win? What becomes of us?
Just like our movie, God has been broadcasting spoilers of the final battle for millennia, except we don’t call them Spoilers. We refer to them as prophecy. These are spoilers that, unlike the movie, we NEED to know because knowledge of the “ENDGAME” may just save your life!
We just got back and our minds are blown. I enjoyed again watching the joy, shock, and other emotions play across my sons’ faces. We shared our favorite moments, came home, talked to Mom and went into our separate rooms to process what we have just witnessed. My heart is still pounding, not just from the movie.
In case you were wondering, every plot line from the last twenty movies was tied up fairly nicely, especially when…
Sorry, No Spoilers