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The life of a movie mad dad

Being a dad who is obsessive about movies, sharing the films you love with your children can be very rewarding, and also rather frustrating

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang in Ant-Man

Being a dad is great. I have two children that I love very much – a twelve year old daughter, and a son who is approaching the terrible twos. They’re like little versions of myself, that I can mould in my own image – or at least try to. But, being a dad who is obsessive about movies, sharing the films I love with my children can either be very rewarding, or very frustrating.

I got a pretty big win when I introduced my daughter to the MCU way back when, and now we get to share the experience of watching every new MCU movie together, and seeing her genuinely get excited about the various MCU characters is a brilliant feeling. But, for every Marvel-shaped win, there is a Star Wars-scale disaster waiting to break my heart.

Of course, all children are different, and I’m very aware that there are just some things that will interest me and bore the life out of my offspring. Even when our interests don’t align, I really feel lucky that I get to share so many wonderful stories and moments with my children through the medium I adore so much.

There is one huge benefit to having kids of course. Yes, you get the fulfilment of raising a child and the feeling of unconditional love that comes with it, but most importantly, you have a great excuse to go to the cinema and watch kids movies whenever you want.

Ever since my daughter was old enough to properly engage with film, we have religiously watched the various Disney movies and Pixar movies. The output from these animated movie studios are almost always a win, and even the most average release is still enough to get us stocking up on sweets and treats and settling down for a movie night.

Perhaps my biggest victory as a movie mad dad so far, though, is introducing my daughter to the joys of the MCU timeline. I’m a big comic book fan, so naturally, having someone to share the phenomenal rise of the superhero shared universe with is a pretty big deal.

I feel very lucky that she was almost instantly enamoured with the world of Marvel, and continues to be excited about what Phase 4 and beyond holds. Thanks to Marvel, my daughter also learned the hard way about just how important it is to not spoil movies for other people.

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Back in 2019, I took her to a showing of Avengers Endgame on opening weekend. She loved it, naturally. But, as we walked out of the screening and passed a line of fans waiting to go in, she committed the ultimate cinema sin: “I cannot believe Iron-Man died, can you Dad?” Suffice to say, she did not get her pocket money that week.

My other big geeky obsession is Star Wars. For me, the magic of a Star Wars movie cannot be beaten. My daughter, on the other hand, has zero interest in adventure movies from a galaxy far, far away. I’ve tried on numerous occasions to indoctrinate her with the ways of the force, but the only effort from the Star Wars timeline that came close to piquing her interest was The Force Awakens.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back

If I ever suggest we watch a Star Wars movie now, all I get is a roll of the eyes and, “Do we have to?” You win some, you lose some, I guess. I am very much looking forward to showing her my favourite Kubrick movies when she’s old enough, and I am fully prepared to disown her when she calls them boring.

Now, with the little demon child who is approaching two years old, it’s very different – his attention span hasn’t properly formed yet so his ability to watch a full film is very limited. He is a bundle of energy and is more interested in digging up the garden and breaking things. They’re cute at that age, aren’t they?

We have made it through the Toy Story franchise though, with Toy Story 3 being a particular highlight that kept him pretty much engrossed throughout. And, of course, let’s not forget the power of Encanto, a delightful family movie that has been played on a loop for the past few months in this household, and definitely hasn’t sent me insane at all.

One obsession of his that I can get on board with though, is the very understandable urge to watch the trailer for The Batman at least once a day, usually first thing in the morning.

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Obviously, he’s way too young to actually watch the latest Batman movie, but the trailer has just the right balance of hard-hitting action to keep him entertained, without being overly violent or inappropriate. I’m very proud that “Batman” is already a part of his burgeoning vocabulary.

But, loving films and having a toddler is more about the way I watch films now. That is to say, with the volume turned right down, lots of unplanned pausing when he stirs from a nap, and searching for the perfect 90 minute runtime in the hopes of getting to the end credits before the beast has awoken.

One thing’s for sure though, I’m pretty confident that my little wild child will love all the chaos and carnage that comes with the great action movies and epic science fiction movies I enjoy. And, I already know he will love The Batman when he comes of age – only 13 years to wait!

Regardless of what movies they love, how many times we have to pause the movie, or how expensive cinema snacks become, family movie night will always be a source of joy for us, and that makes me a very happy father.