I dug it. It’s one of the better movies I’ve seen this summer and definitely one of the better superhero movies I’ve seen in a while.
What I really appreciated, though, was something beyond the super heroics.
There wasn’t a daddy issue in sight.
I’m not sure when it was decided that all male movie heroes had to be saddled with some kind of issue caused directly by their fathers.
But some of the greatest, most popular heroes have the absolute crappiest fathers imaginable. I think there is a certain generation of men that deals with dads being absent or disinterested. But that pales in comparison to what some of these guys had to deal with.
Luke Skywalker: Father cuts off hand, wears fetish gear, commits planetary genocide and crashes dinner at Cloud City without invitation.
Superman: Father lectures constantly from beyond grave. Says he has to let his girlfriend die.
Thor: Father kicks him out of kingdom and exiles him to Earth, right after calling him an arrogant jack ass in front of said kingdom.
Iron-Man: Father is brilliant, absent, dismissive and a drunk.
Indiana Jones: Father inexplicably Scottish. Also a bit of a prick who continually makes fun of Alex Trebek on Jeopardy.
So the message is this: the only sure fire way to become a hero, aside from being near radioactivity, is to be raised by the worst father available.
Real nice, Hollywood.
There is a lot of conversation going on about the state of American fatherhood. About how fathers are getting more involved with raising their kids. Opening up about how they feel about being fathers.
That’s good. We’re not the most emotionally revealing gender.
But it does make me wonder what the state of fatherhood has been — or is perceived to have been — that so many writers, producers and directors have been compelled to let some kind of feeling come out in their work.
Working it out didn’t seem to be the case with Captain America.
Steve Rogers is a good man.
His choices are his own. He is concerned with larger issues — about doing what is right in that bigger, grander sense of the word that made him feel like a refreshing, timely throwback in an era of burst bubbles and internet bitching and governmental bickering.
Maybe his father influenced him. Maybe he didn’t.
We don’t know. Steve never mentions his dad. Not once that I can remember.
And that is the mark of a truly outstanding father, I think.
That someday, the kids grow up to make good, fine decisions and lead good, fine lives without us hovering like ghosts in the background.
Alternatively, they grow up to make bad, unhealthy decisions and lead bad, unhealthy lives while we sit on their shoulders and whisper inadequacies.
I hope to become forgotten and unrecognized.
To teach and guide my kids to make their own way in the world so that they are the heroes of their own stories, not mine.
If only there were a Super Soldier Serum for that.