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As my son gets older, he’s getting harder to parent. Sure, there are the expected things like huffing and puffing, complaining about homework, major attitude when TV time is over, and, of course, proclaiming he hates water when he simply wants a soda.
I mean, come on, does anyone really hate water?
Where the difficulty comes in is my attention span. He wants to talk to me, which is super awesome. He likes complaining about his art teacher (and I think he has some valid points). He likes telling me about the latest drama at school. But it’s all the other stuff. Like Pokemon abilities and evolutions. Or Minecraft building. Or Clash of Clans fighting. And the latest is some Adventure Time video card game where apparently he was blessed by Disney magic when he won an extremely rare algebraic card on our most recent trip.
If you’re feeling confused, chalk it up to what I like to call “boy problems.” #boyproblems
Yes, I’m a mom and I love hearing what he’s into. But I’m also a girl. When my husband talks to me about the viscosity of motor oil, my eyes glaze over and tune out. And when it comes to video game details, the same thing happens.
We recently went to the movies as a family and started down the same path. I was as excited as anyone else to go see Avengers: Age of Ultron, but I probably wasn’t as up on my Avengers history as I should have been.
In case you didn’t catch my error, the movie is The Age of Ultron, not The Age of Voltron, the cartoon Defender of the Universe.
I also realized that I wasn’t as well versed in my Avengers knowledge when I saw a random blue dude in the teaser scene at the very end of the movie. This teaser is supposed to give you a hint about who the villain will be in the next Avengers movie. Again, I saw a random blue dude. My 8 year old son saw THANOS!!!
That’s when I realized that other parents out there might feel just like me. I know enough about superheroes to participate in a conversation and know who’s who in a movie. But I don’t know enough about the Avengers to really talk the talk. If you’re like me, I’m here to help.
What Parents Need to Know about The Avengers – A History Lesson
There’s lot to know in the comic book superhero world. I don’t proclaim to be an expert but don’t underestimate what you can learn from Wikipedia. Here are the basics.
- Most comic book superheroes are either associated with DC or Marvel. The Avengers are ALL Marvel. Please don’t confuse this.
- The Avengers were formed in 1963 as an answer to the success of DC Comics’ Justice League.
- The original members of The Avengers were Iron Man, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Thor, and the Hulk. Captain America was added once he was discovered and thawed from the ice.
- The modern day movie Avengers include Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye.
Want the nickel tour of who The Avengers are? Here’s their history.
The purists will kill me for this watered down version but this is just meant to get you through the movies and a few detailed conversations.
- Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, is a rich guy at the head of Stark Industries. He created the Iron Man suit which pretty much made him invincible. Played by Robert Downey, Jr.
- Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, was a wimpy guy that gained superhuman strength when injected with a serum by the U.S. Government during WWII. He ended up getting stuck in some ice and waking up in modern times. Played by Chris Evans.
- The Hulk, aka Bruce Banner, is a reluctant superhero as a result of a gamma radiation experiment gone wrong. He’s mostly a good guy but is difficult to control. Played by Mark Ruffalo.
- Thor, aka dreamiest man on the planet, is from the planet Asgard and carries a hammer of amazing ability. His half-brother is the evil Loki. Played by Chris Hemsworth.
- Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, is a former Russian spy and assassin who is recruited to joy the global spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and ends up hanging with these guys. Played by Scarlett Johansson.
- Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton, is another former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent whose only claim to fame seems to be his ability to shoot arrows. Played by Jeremy Renner.
- Other characters that appear and have some sort of history that makes them significant: Ultron (James Spader), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), James Rhodes / War Machine (Don Cheadle), Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany).
And if you go and see the film, you might wonder exactly how your kids have learned so much about the Avengers, even if they’ve never set foot in a comic book store. If they’re like my son, they have the knack to pick up complicated characters and storylines from watching shows like Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Super Hero Squad, and other superhero movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and the namesake movies (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, etc.).
If you wonder why they can’t remember their vocabulary words or math skills, trust me, they can. Their little brains can hold a lot of knowledge when they want to.
If you’re not sure if this movie is right for you and your family, you can always check out Fandango for the Mom’s Movie Minute. I love this video series that gives you the bottom line on many of the potentially kid-friendly movies out there. I didn’t watch the Mom’s Movie Minute for Avengers: Age of Ultron until after I wrote this post but it pretty much confirms everything I said. Nice to know my mothering skills aren’t too far off!