**Endgame spoilers ahead, if you have not seen it and still plan to, please proceed with caution.**
My oldest son took his two brothers to see Endgame last night. For a standard movie release, seeing the film the second weekend it is out is not considered too late, for this movie they have been tiptoeing all week trying to avoid anyone who could not keep their mouths shut.
I have seen it, twice opening weekend.
We are a comic book family, are fluent in both DC and Marvel, and discuss character arcs as if they are people that we know personally. When they were younger, it was not uncommon to find one, two, three, or even all four of them wearing some superhero costume at any given time.
We ARE a comic family.
I was not prepared for how deeply ingrained that is in my boys.
In a world with continuous reboots and recasting of DC’s Batman and Superman, a world where Marvel has made multiple Spiderman franchises, and in the comics themselves the heroes live forever, something is different in Endgame.
My kids have grown up watching these movies. In American cinema, it is widely accepted that the “Good guys” not only win but live. They always live.
Except when they don’t.
Natasha Romanoff (Blank Widow) does not live. Her death, her sacrifice, was a hard one to watch.
Then there is Tony Stark, Iron Man himself, the pillar of the MCU. The original Iron Man was released in 2008. My two youngest boys were born in 2005 and 2007. They have never really lived in a world without Tony Stark as Iron Man.
Through all the comic changes, the reboots, the recasts, the rise and fall of popularity, there has been Robert Downy Jr. bringing this character to life.
His death was hard for me to watch, as a beloved character. For my boys, it was more. They came home shook. They are both still processing.
To many, it is just a movie. A made-up character. Fiction.
To my boys, that made-up character embodies SO MUCH of their childhoods, so much of what they have known and loved their whole lives.
While the character is fiction, the death for them is very, very real. They are mourning.
I had that stark realization last night as we hugged and dried tears.
From the adult standpoint, I fully understand contracts and aging actors, and that nothing lasts forever. To them, it is the death of a hero, of a friend.
Though the death is fiction, the feelings are very real.
I am grateful that my oldest got to take them to see it, to experience it with them. As they look back, they will forever remember him being with them, not laughing at them for the tears, and for just understanding that it may take them a bit to process it all.