Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why I Let My Daughter Watch the Avengers

I overheard two guys say, “what’s this thing rated?” when we walked past them and into the theatre to see Avengers: Age of Ultron last night. It’s rated PG-13 and I assume they were commenting because we had Kid Rock, age 7, in tow.

That’s right. I let my daughter watch the Avengers and you should, too.

I’m kidding. I don’t care what you do with your kids, just as I assume you don’t care what I do with mine. But yes, I let my daughter watch the Avengers for a couple reasons.

One. It shows her that there are good guys in this world. That’s it, more than anything. Yes, you can argue the franchise is violent. Graphic. Gory. It’s not, really. It’s sort of like Coyote trying to blow up the Road Runner with dynamite – it’s implied. The violence is sci-fi. Captain America throws his shield, Thor his hammer, Hawkeye his arrows. The bad guys stop pursuing. We need heroes in our everyday lives. She needs to know that bad guys – even if they win a battle but not the war – will be met with a troupe of superheroes. She needs to know that you can be a girl and kick ass, too. Thanks Black Widow.

Two. Because I’m so glad she’s moved on from princesses. I wasn’t a girly child. At all. I fought when I had to wear tights and dresses, and sleeping in those pink plastic curlers the night before Easter made me cry. While I revel in Kid Rock’s affinity for piles of jewelry and the-fluffier-the-better when it comes to her skirts, a (large) part of me is rejoicing in her tomboy-ish ways … and I know her Daddy concurs.

Three. Be careful what you wish for. You can argue that Tony Stark and his unwillingness to accept just good enough created Ultron. Just let shit go, man.

Four. It’s OK to root for the protagonist every now and again. I mean, who didn’t love Loki just a little bit? And also – don’t judge a book by its cover. The Twins, as they’re referred to in this film are nasty, evil-filled little humans. They are Romanian, to boot. You want to hate them and hope for their demise. Yet underneath those covers are their hearts and stories and you might change the way you previously judged them.

Five. Finish what you start, and carry a big stick … or, hammer. There are some intense scenes near the end of the film as the Avengers discuss how they’re going to proceed. They’re injured. They’re weary. They’re outnumbered. They’re pissed off at each other, at odds with personal decisions. But, Avengers always avenge even when they assume they’ll die trying. Hawkeye has always been my favorite Avenger, and his speech to Wanda … Academy Award-winning!
            You go out there and you fight, okay? And you fight to kill. If you stay in here, you’re good. I’ll get your brother to come and fetch you. But I need to know, okay? I’m going back out there because it’s my job. And I can’t fight and babysit. So I need to know because the city is flying, we’re fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense, but if you step out that door, you’re an Avenger.

Six. It teaches her to appreciate the theatre. I just spent 12 years in the cinema industry and I know how magical, how tangible Hollywood is. Even when we have 2008’s and budgets have been stripped to the minimum, there’s always a way to buy a ticket at the box office. She might not get to go to Disneyworld again, but I can promise her we’ll take her to see every single Disney film in the theatre and for those few hours, life is sweet.

Seven. The power of the sequel. And sequels and franchises. I’ve always been a huge proponent of giving my daughter something to look forward to, no matter how big or small. As the film wrapped up, there were conclusions drawn that allude to a sequel. She loves to know she’ll get to see her heroes in action again, even if it’s not for a few more years.

Eight. Find someone to be your lullaby. When Hulk smash gets really Hulk SMASH, he needs someone to be his touchstone, his reality. He finds that in Black Widow. Only she can calm him down, and she knows when to apply it. When you can't see past your rage, sadness, anxiety, whatever it is, count on someone to tell you, Hey big guy. The sun's getting real low.

So, yes, two grown-up men sitting in the first row of auditorium six last night ... it's rated PG-13 and I parental guided the shit out of the movie for my under 13 kid. She loved every single scene, and clued her Mama in on the subtle nuances and character references even I missed.