A New Fangirl is Born: Watching The Avengers with My 5-Year-Old - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
5May/123

A New Fangirl is Born: Watching The Avengers with My 5-Year-Old

I have raised my kids to be a geeks from a very young age.  This isn’t something I did on purpose, but it just happened because our house is decorated by huge geeks.  For over 5 years my daughter has seen posters of Star Wars, Spider-Man, Buffy, Pixar and more all over the house. She even had a framed poster of Batman drawn by Jim Lee in her bedroom when she was very young.  She has also seen the “toys” I have around the house like Superman, Buzz Lightyear and Green Lantern and is interested to know about these things.  She might ask me how a Lantern ring works or to explain Dr. Fate (not an easy task) and as she has gotten older the more into this stuff she has gotten. She is such a geek that for Christmas it didn’t surprise me she wanted a Batcave instead of a My Little Pony Castle.

Early Christmas morning, a bit hit wit with the kids!

These last few months she has gotten more interested in all that I am and it is because of the cartoons.  As she has stated many times “Daddy watches as many cartoons as I do” and while I might not be proud of it that is probably true.  The Clone Wars, Young Justice, Spectacular Spider-man (how I miss that show), Avatar: The Last Airbender and more, it is such a good time to like geeky things and I enjoy watching these cartoons every week more often than not with my daughter on my lap.  She knows a lot of the comic characters and will ask me about their back story or why they do certain things so I will explain them.  Sit down with my daughter and talk about the Justice League and she can act out ALL of the characters.  She also knows that all of the characters are in their own movies so when The Avengers started advertising on Nickelodeon she somehow knew it was a big deal.

“Dad, Captain America, IronMan and THE HULK (The Hulk is something growled in my house more than spoken) are all in the SAME MOVIE!” she excitedly told me a few weeks ago.  I could tell she was very excited about the movie but this gave me pause because I knew The Avengers was a longer movie and frankly, she hasn’t sat through the movies all that well.  She really liked Captain America when we watched it together but I also had bought her a Cap Shield so that might have had something to do with it but when I watched Thor with her she got bored in 5 minutes.  All of the characters might be in The Avengers but would that keep her excited for over 2 hours?

To hedge my bets I made a deal with her. If she sat down and watched all the Marvel movies with me before the film premiered and did well I would take her, a deal she took all too quickly.  She really loved Iron Man, yelled "Hulk Smash!" Every 5 minutes in The Incredible Hulk, was still bored in Thor and dug Captain America.  She did pretty good during the movies and wasn’t that fidgety so I had to keep up my bargain and off we went to The Avengers.

Wearing daddy's hero shirts to bed

The movie doesn’t start off the way she would have liked, the first person we see is not Tony Stark or Steve Rodgers but Nick Fury and that old man from Thor.  She has no attachment to them or to one of the new additions to the franchise, Hawkeye, and has never found the Cosmic Cube all that cool so the beginning of the movie was rough sledding.  Although I am an alcolyte of Joss Whedon, his snappy dialogue and sure handed direction doesn’t do anything for her and my wife had a lot of walking her to the bathrooms, getting concessions, and finally us juggling her on our laps while the table was set in the film.  It didn’t help that her least favorite movie by a large margin was Thor and that its villain Loki is back for a second movie.  When I pointed out that Loki was threatening all the good guys, I could feel her roll her eyes and tell me “didn’t Thor already beat him up?” I could see that Loki didn’t seem to be a big threat for Her so I just hoped that Iron Man would show up pretty damn quick.

When the characters started showing up one by one in the film, I would point them out to her only to be met with either a bored “yeah, yeah” or a question like “why hasn’t he turned into the Hulk yet.”  Then everything changed when they captured Loki and the fight in the forest happened, she started geeking out hard core.  “Daddy, Thor just lightening-ed Iron Man!”  “The shield stopped the hammer!”  The movie was winning her over quickly with the humor and mayhem and all of the sudden she didn’t care about her drink or her candy she was drawn into the world on screen.

The final damn to break that turned her into a fangirl grinning ear to ear was the appearance of the Hulk. Probably because The Hulk is all Id, kids eat him up like candy.  If you don’t believe me, just look at the merchandise sales of Hulk toys compared to the rest of the Avengers.  So Banner Hulks out and it is bliss for my daughter.  He is throwing cars, jumping on planes, beating people up and she is mesmerized.  The Hulk leaves for awhile but now it doesn’t matter all the heroes are around IN COSTUME (we have a disconnect figuring out the heroes and their alter egos are the same person, I still don’t think she believes that Bruce Wayne is Batman) saving the day.  Captain America is throwing the shield, Iron Man is flying through town, Thor is using his hammer and all is right with the world.  When the aliens show up she whispers in my ear “those are the villains daddy” and the God of Mischief can’t catch a break with my little girl but she is happy because finally there is a real threat for The Avengers.

I bought this for her but I think I get as much enjoyment out of it.

If this would have been it for the movie she would have left being very happy but the movie went up another 3 or 4 levels when the Hulk shows back up and tears the house down.  He smashes, he punches and he made my daughter laugh so loud at three different parts of the film that I couldn’t hear the dialogue over her laughing.  This Hulk isn’t broody like Ang Lee’s version or all rage like the Marvel one, this one is just FUN and used sparingly that the audience wanted more.  In the end, the day is saved, the heroes have their moment and the film ends, I look over at my daughter and she is jumping up and down in her seat.  The movie was the ultimate sugar rush for her that all of the sudden it didn’t matter the movie was 2 ½ hours long or that it was way past her bedtime she could have sat there and watched another hour of the film.

I would have been a huge fan of the film even if I hadn’t seen it with my daughter but watching her enjoy something that much is something that I can’t describe.  For over 5 years she has seen all of my stuff around the house and just thought it was how all houses were decorated.  She didn’t understand that there was a point in my life where it touched something deep in me and made me a lifelong fan of their characters and stories.  She knew that people liked this stuff but just went with it.  When we finished the movie I could tell that if we had the time and money at that particular moment she would have bought every single Avengers toy out and played with them for hours.  She finally saw and felt why I like the characters and enjoy reading and watching stories involving them.  The Avengers is 100% pure fun and what movies of that type should be.  It is a movie that a 5-year old could love and a 31 year old could love and for the same reasons!

I have always loved watching films but being able to experience a movie with my daughter that we could both love is a wonderful feeling.  Maybe in a few years daddy is not going to be the coolest thing in the world and she will lose her love for superheroes.  Maybe she will roll her eyes at me when she is 14 and I stop by a toy aisle just to look at a Superman figure.  She might someday believe I have wasted way too many hours of my life talking about these characters with my friends. All of this might happen and I will deal with it if it comes to be.  I will also know that no matter what happens nothing can ever take away the pure exhilaration I felt on a warm day in May of 2012 when I had the sweetest girl bouncing on my lap and geeking out with daddy to see big men hitting each other with hammers and shields.  If these movies aren’t made with this goal in mind, I don’t know why they are made.

Starting the 2nd child young, maybe when DC figures it out she will be old enough to geek out on Justice League.

Finally, I had to share the top ten quotes and lessons that my daughter took from all the Avengers films these past few weeks.

10. “Eye patches are cool”- After seeing Odin in Thor, this might also be from her love of pirates though.

9. “I want to play Frisbee with him”- I don’t agree with this, I think Cap would be a show off when throwing the old flying disk around.

8. “Why doesn’t he just say sorry?” Her answer to what Thor should do when Odin is casting him out of Asgard, I tried to explain if he did that we wouldn’t have much of a movie but she still thought it was dumb on Thor’s part.

7. “Why doesn’t he just eat him?”- A morbid thought when General Ross is chasing after the Hulk.

6. “Daddy, I know what he should do, run away and build a BIGGER robot suit” my girl’s solution to how Stark could be the Iron Monger.

5.  “Why doesn’t he hit him with the hammer?” Her quick solution when Thor and Loki fight.  Full disclosure, I didn’t have a good reason why not when she asked this.

4. "Iron Man shouldn’t fly high because of freezing on the suit".  I think this is the biggest thing she got out of Iron Man because every time he took to the air after that she would get worried he was going to freeze and plummet to his death.

3. “Can Hulk beat that guy up so more, that was funny” With how she is going, Loki is going to have a complex because of my daughter’s indifference to him.

2. “Can he make it rain too” She was asking about Thor’s power with lightening but I could only imagine Thor in a strip club throwing bills in the air and I am not ashamed to admit the tickled me greatly.

1. “What does the Hulk do when he has nothing to smash” Ladies and gentlemen, deep thoughts from a 5-year old.

Posted by Ryan

Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. We’ve been nervous about taking our five-year-old to the Avengers, but you’ve almost convinced us. almost.
    (I think we’ll go, but sit near the exit. Just in case.)

  2. I wish that we lived near you. My five year old daughter has all the same toys. She enjoyed The Avengers….and Lord of the Rings…and Star Wars.


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