Mom on Film: Superhero Summer

Superheroes are popular in our home this summer. Our five-year-old son has been wearing his rummage-sale Superman t-shirt so often I have taken to waiting several days after it lands in the dirty laundry pile before washing it, just to get him to wear something else. He has discovered his sisters' old Batman and Wonder Woman books, and carries his Spiderman lunchbox on picnics. He is hooked on superheroes.

So it was no big surprise when he began requesting superhero movies. His education in this realm actually began a couple of years ago when he was probably too young for, but nevertheless watched, The Incredibles . I would like to say here, and for the record, that Elastigirl is my all time favorite superhero. Perhaps because like her I am a stay-at-home mom with three exceptional children, am often stretched thin, almost to the point of snapping, and somewhere along the way developed a rear-end unlike the one I sported back in the day. But I digress. His knowledge of superheroes began with The Incredibles, and although the action occasionally frightened him, overall he liked it. He especially enjoyed Dash, the super-fast son of Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, and when the bad guy, Syndrome, gets his just desserts. Our girls, Mr. Wonderful (our own version of Mr. Incredible) and I enjoyed it too, so much so that we own the DVD. The Incredibles is, in my opinion, worth owning and holds up to repeated viewings.

This summer my own little Boy Wonder's awareness of cinematic superheroes expanded beyond the realm of the purely animated variety when he discovered our copy of the 1978 classic, Superman . I knew this day would come, and have been eagerly awaiting it. This was a film that he couldn't watch alone, and I was more than happy to watch with him, because it was so real. He cried when Lois Lane dies and cheered when Superman reverses time to bring her back to life. Just like the tagline promised, he believed a man could fly. This movie was magical when I watched it in the theater in 1978 and it still works its magic, even in the confines of a basement TV room on the small screen, all these years later.

From an entertainment universe completely different than Superman comes the 2006 release, Zoom: Academy for Superheroes. Our son came home from a weekend at the beach with cousins in possession, "for keeps," unfortunately, of Zoom on DVD. He loves this movie. He says it is "awethum!" I have watched it with him and can say, without reservation, that the most objectionable thing about this PG film is that it is just dumb. But you know, occasionally, mindless entertainment is not such a bad thing. Lots of people watch NASCAR. My husband cannot believe that I admit not only to paying to see Dumb & Dumber in the theater back in 1994, but that I thought it was hysterical. Sometimes dumb fills a need. But I imagine that if he found himself in dire straits our Boy Wonder would turn to Superman, Mr. Incredible or Mr. Wonderful for assistance, the mindless Zoom wouldn't even enter his.