I came across the image above about a month ago, and decided it sounded like the perfect time/excuse to introduce my 9-year-old son to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the coming of the new year. And thus was born The 2018 Father-Son Marvel Movie Marathon Extravaganza, or The Marvelthon, for short. When I shared my plan on Facebook, my friend Maria had the awesome idea of having him write blog posts for each movie. Ultimately, I decided that for him, blog posts might be a little too open-ended and intimidating, so instead I’ll be giving him some questions to answer and which I’ll type up as posts – verbatim, with typos and all. Maybe I’ll even share some of my thoughts on his answers and where I might take future questions. Related: I teach high school film and media courses, so he’s been asking me to give him some “movie lessons,” as he calls them. So I see this as fulfilling that request too.
First up, 2008’s Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau:
Question 1: Summarize the events of Iron Man in a paragraph.
His answer: “Iron Man is about how Tony Stark goes up against a terrorist organazation called the Ten rings. Tony realizes that the weapons he made were being stolen by the Ten rings, and shuts down his company. While Stark industries is shut down, Tony makes his Iron man suit. He later Finds out that his friend, Obadiah Stane hired the Ten rings to kill him. Tony upgrades his armor and kills Obadiah.”
My commentary: I was legit impressed by his writing in the paragraph above! I don’t think I could have written up such a succinct paragraph about the movie. Mad props to his ELA teacher extraordinaire, Ms. Ward, who is seriously the best. I just think it’s such a nicely structured paragraph with a clear flow of ideas. : )
Question 2: What did you think of the movie? Write a few sentences about why you thought it was good or bad, fun or boring.
His answer: “I think that it was a good movie because the actors played their parts very well. The movie was edited good enough that it looked real.”
My commentary: This answer gave me some good insight into where I want to take future questions; especially in terms of this marathon being “movie lessons.” I can see the conflation of certain film terms that happens so often with beginning film students. In this case, I can see how he’s using the term he knows – “edited” – to try and get at something he doesn’t quite have the vocabulary to talk about yet. I’m excited to see how his film vocabulary grows throughout the Marvelthon!
Question 3: What changes does Tony Stark undergo throughout the movie? In other words, what were his main character traits in the beginning, and how did they change by the end? Give specific examples from the movie if you can.
His answer: “In the beginning Tony Stark was a jerk because he thought he could make and do anything without realizing that his weapons were being stolen and being used against him. At the middle and end he becomes aware of what he’s doing and becomes IRON MAN!!!”
My commentary: Pretty straightforward, I think. His answer, though brief, shows me that he can identify a character arc. Moving forward, I think I’ll make the questions more specifically worded to guide him towards citing specific examples from the movie for the points he’s trying to make.
Final thoughts: I’m pretty excited with how this went! I hope I keep up with something like this for every single movie. I’m thinking I’ll have the same first two questions above for every single movie, and then have one or two different questions more specific to the movie of the week.
Next Up: The Incredible Hulk (2008).