Chances are that if you have turned on the television, looked outside, or have a pulse, you’ve heard about a little art-house film that premiered this weekend called The Avengers. Strike that. There’s actually a really good chance that you, the person reading this article, have already seen The Avengers at least once this past weekend because it just broke the record for the largest opening weekend in the US ever at $200.3 million!
You can’t see me right now, but I’m doing a wicked air guitar to accompany this gif for your enjoyment…
That’s not the only record that it broke. Other notable achievements that add to The Avengers’ mountain of money are:
- Highest domestic Saturday gross of all time
- According to CinemaScore people are giving the film an average of A+
- Fastest to $100, $150 and $200 million of all time
- Highest IMAX opening weekend (so much so that IMAX theaters plain ran out of seats)
- Is well on track to shortly earn over a BILLION dollars.
So, I point this all out to simply say that The Avengers is moderately popular at the moment. Now being a bit of a nerd, I could go ahead and gush about the film and how, under the capable direction of Joss Whedon, it was a pitch perfect summer movie. It’s relentless in its action, adventure, humor and just plain ol’ fun and, IMHO, deserves all of the accolades and the GDP of Canada that it’s earning.
However, this is a pop culture site for parents and I’d like to talk about watching The Avengers and how it had me reflecting back on my childhood. In the theater, I saw almost every kid wearing a shirt that represented his or her favorite hero, one little Captain America brandishing a shield, a little Thor lofting his mighty Mjolnir in the air (that’s Thor’s hammer and not…something else…), and a little Iron Man wearing a helmet that was at least fi5 sizes too large for him. It was fun seeing the kids having just as much fun as the big kids.
Growing up, choosing your favorite superhero was a large part of deciding what you wanted to represent as a little person. Sure, some kids were way more into superheroes and comics than others, but it’s a safe bet that ever since comics entered the Silver Age, every kid of every generation has had their absolute favorite hero. Superheroes are our modern mythology. They are the legends and symbols that our collective subconscious has manufactured from the 20th century to today. To dismiss them as pop culture nonsense is to miss the point of what superheroes represent entirely. So when someone tells you who their favorite superhero is, they’re telling you not only who they are, but what they aspire to be.
Now that The Avengers is upon us and has momentarily taken over the world, it’s impossible not to reflect on what these heroes represent and what they mean when our kids pick them as their favorite. In fact, go HERE for a hilarious comparison of The Avengers and pregnancy by our own Noa Gavin. So what if your particular child’s favorite hero is among the ranks of The Avengers? What could that mean for where your little hero or heroine is headed and what’s the best way to channel their passion? Let’s put on our Mr. Fantastic thinking caps and discuss, shall we?
Bio: The living legend, Captain America is Steve Rogers, a formerly sickly young man who volunteered for a science experiment in order to join the fight in World War II. Gifted with enhanced strength, agility and an indestructible shield, Captain America fights for anyone who is unable to protect themselves.
When Cap is your kid’s favorite: If your little patriot has picked Cap as his favorite, then he’s probably slightly more mature for his age. He has an exceptionally low tolerance for bullies and is always trying to call all of the shots. He’s got a strong sense of doing what’s right and skews towards the old-fashioned. Remember Cap’s weapon of choice is a defensive weapon. He’s a protector. He’s something to stand behind and trust in. If your kid trusts in Cap then he probably tries to show that he’s the bravest one in the room, even if deep down, he’s not.
Good Activities for your Little Avenger: Starting a business like a lemonade stand. Doing light exercise together, like nice long walks. Volunteering at an animal shelter.
Bio: A certified genius and former weapons manufacturer, Tony Stark invented the Iron Man armor after a piece of shrapnel came dangerously close to his heart. He fights to undo the damage that weapons like his have done.
When Shellhead is your kid’s favorite: If your little one wishes she could fire repulsor rays out of the palms of her hands, then she probably wishes she was the smartest one in the room. She has a natural inclination to tinker with things and see how they work. She has crazy ideas about crazy inventions. She probably has a tendency to be too smarmy for her own good.
Good Activities for your Little Avenger: LEGO sets. Lots and lots of LEGO sets. Build some stuff, then throw the instruction books away and see where your imagination takes you. Trips to interactive museums. Pull up some Bill Nye or Mr. Wizard on You Tube.
The Mighty Thor
Bio: A being from the extra-terrestrial realm of Asgard, Thor is the heir apparent to a near-immortal race. Wielding a mighty hammer and able to call down thunder and lightning, Thor is a demigod that is not to be messed with.
When Goldilocks is your kid’s favorite: Your kid definitely has a flare for the dramatic. It’s not enough to be powerful, he prefers to come off as godlike. He wants to have strength, power, and likes to show it off. He also wants to come off as noble. He may fancy himself the strongest, but that doesn’t mean he won’t stand up for the little guy.
Good Activities for your Little Avenger: Theater classes. Getting him on stage may be a good way to better play out his hammer throwing fantasies. If he starts talking in Shakespearean dialect on a regular basis, make sure you’ve got a lock on your toolbox.
Bio: A former master thief, Hawkeye uses his unmatched prowess with a bow and arrow to strike down those who would do people harm. With no actual powers, Hawkeye can still hold his ground with Earth’s mightiest heroes.
When the Avenging Archer is your kid’s favorite: Your kid probably doesn’t mind playing by herself. She’s meticulous and strives to excel in whatever she sets out to accomplish. Being the best can be very important to her and she doesn’t mind showing off what she’s good at.
Good Activities for your Little Avenger: Sports. Soccer, or Little League, or something that involves a regimen of practice to focus her natural drive. They also make Nerf bows and arrows. Set up your own little obstacle course for your little archer to run.
Bio: Natasha Romanov was a former ballerina, Russian spy and assassin who is now one of SHIELD’s top operatives. She’s the world’s best secret agent trying to do good so she can make up for her past transgressions.
When the Widow is your kid’s favorite: Representing the only female Avenger to make it to the screen, if your little one prefers the Black Widow, he probably want to prove that he’s just as good as anyone else in the room. He shows that not only can he stand up to the bad guys physically, he’s smart enough to know when talking is just as effective as smashing. He appreciates the value of a good scheme.
Good Activities for your Little Avenger: Some good old-fashioned spy appreciation. Some vintage James Bond movies or detective stories. If he’s old enough, a debate team would be a good place to show off his ability to talk circles around his opponents.
Bio: Dr. Bruce Banner, after an accident involving gamma radiation, turns into the Incredible Hulk every time he becomes angry or loses control of his emotions.
When the Green Goliath is your kid’s favorite: Your kid loves smashing things. Your little one has the ability to take whatever extreme emotion is currently rattling around in her brain and turn it into excessive amounts of energy. She wants to save the day and she wants to do it in the loudest and messiest way possible. She’s more of a force of nature than a child.
Good Activities for your Little Avenger: Get all of the building blocks you can find, build the highest tower you can, and revel in the joy of watching it crash to the ground. Try to see who can jump the farthest out in the back yard. Then stress the importance of rebuilding (aka cleaning up) before you can smash it all again tomorrow.
So what do you think, heroes and heroines of MamaPop? Who has always been your favorite superhero? Why? What did the superhero you always pretended to be mean to you? Leave your thoughts and your secret identities in the comments below!