I really hadn’t grasped this remarkable concept until I was writing my movie review for Captain America: The First Avenger. Once I came to that realization, I noticed that the father figure is present in every single comic book story. Mothers also play an important role (such as Martha Kent and Aunt May), but it is truly the father that calls out the hero in the ordinary man; the father’s words that becomes the hero’s actions; the father’s sacrifice that becomes the hero’s salvation.
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Capt. Steve Rogers// Captain America
Dr. Abraham Erksine & Colonel Chester Phillips
|Dr. Abraham Erksine|
Before the procedure, Steve asks Erksine why he chose him of all people. Erksine answers, it was because of the goodness he saw in Steve. It may not seem a good reason, but for Erksine, who has dealt with life in Nazi Germany, he is searching for a good heart and a good soul, for through true goodness, can true courage abound.
Erksine called out the hero in Steve Rogers, before Steve even knew he possessed it. When Erksine is shot by HYDRA, he dies in Steve’s arms, his last words, “A good man.” His sacrifice for his belief in Steve Rogers became the foundation for Captain America of which the salvation for humanity was finally built.
|Colonel Chester Phillips|
When Steve finds out that his best friend and most of his unit (the same unit his own father was in) has been taken prisoner by HYDRA, Steve defies Phillips orders to stay there and do nothing. Phillips may seem heartless at the decision of telling Steve to stay, but the man is a soldier who must learn to make hard sacrifices. After Steve’s successful return, Phillips finally realizes his full potential and gives him a place in the SSR.
Colonel Phillips may not be the warm, generous type the Erksine was, but he gave Steve a real sense of duty, hard work, and responsibility. He was a disciplinarian who didn’t marvel and wonder at Captain America, but rather saw him as a kid who got a lucky break. Phillips brought out in Steve a sense of rebelliousness that can be useful in times of desperation and afterwards, that rebel heart in Steve Rogers never died.
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Tony Stark//Iron Man
Dr. Yinsen & Howard Stark
His parents died when he was young, but the damning part wasn’t their death; for Tony it was the fact that he felt that his father never loved him. The lack of parental and especially paternal love in Tony’s life caused him to wear an invisible mask that hid his anger and resentment for the father who chose work over his child. Tony works, but only when it brings him a profit. When he’s off the clock, he’s out partying and well, wasting his life.
On the day of their escape, Yinsen is struck down and lies dying. Tony tries to save him, but even he knows it’s too late. Before Yinsen dies, he says in his last breath, “Go home and don’t waste your life.” The death of the man who has been the only real friend and father compels Tony to fight for his life and return home, but not as the same man. Tony goes home and starts working on the new Iron Man suit in plans to return and protect the refugee people and gain justice for his mentor’s death. Yinsen called out the hero in Tony and told him that his happiness was for him to make, not for others to make it for him.
Although there is a change in Tony due to Yinsen, he still harbors resentment against his emotionally absent father. In the second movie, Tony falls off the deep end due to his failing health, but is brought face-to-face with the reality of his overworked father in old film reels; a frustrated man who had the genius to change the world, but was held back by the technology of his time. In the last reel, Tony is surprised when his father has left a message for him, telling him that he, his own son, was his greatest creation and left behind for him a pattern to decipher that would change his son’s destiny and give him a new chance at life.
For the first time, Tony finally hears what he has longed to hear his whole life; that he had always meant something to his father. It may not have been a lot, but it was enough for him to pick himself up and live. If Yensin helped Tony discover his destiny, then Howard Stark helped Tony continue his legacy. Sometimes it takes a walk through the dark for a person to find their own light and at times, we must look to the past to find our future.
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Thor, the God of Thunder
Dr. Erik Selvig & Odin Allfather
Now alone with no powers and no use of his mighty hammer, Mjelnor, Thor must learn to survive on his own. Except he may not be entirely alone. When he comes across brainy astrophysicist, Jane Foster and her mentor Dr. Erik Selvig, he finds an unexpected familial foundation.
|Dr. Erik Selvig|
Erik was a close friend to Jane’s father and keeps a close eye on her. When he becomes concerned about Jane’s wellbeing after she and Thor get into trouble with the government, he believes that Thor is nothing but bad news. One night in the bar changes that. Thor tells Erik about his mistakes that led him to where he is and wonders where he is meant to go in life. For Erik, who seems to lonely most of the time, he may see a lot of himself in Thor and realizes that Thor wants to atone for whatever mistakes he makes.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is just be there. Erik realizes that this guy has a great amount of potential and understands that he has learned a great deal about life in his short time in New Mexico. For Thor, Erik is a kindly man who already possesses a father’s heart, due to his relationship with Jane and he finally sees that his father’s lessons are universal. Erik’s is a mortal with no strength or superhuman abilities, but believes as deeply in moral responsibility as Odin does, as well as the position of loving and caring for others.
In the second film, Thor goes above and beyond his father’s expectations in bringing peace to the Nine Realms and Odin believes it’s not long before his son takes the throne of Asgard. All that he has taught his son, reinforced by Erik Selvig, have become the cornerstones of Thor’s life. Odin is a powerful warrior, a great king and a good father whose hard decision of banishing Thor to earth made personal inward war for his son that forged a warrior whose worth was the stuff of legends.
When Odin’s wife is murdered, he goes into an intense state of grief and despair and his judgment becomes clouded with anger and revenge. Thor must make the hard decision of whether to go against the law of his grieving father and bring justice to Asgard or to remain the obedient son he has finally become. Unlike the first film where Thor’s betrayal of his father’s trust was made for adventure, now Thor betrays that trust again to protect his father, the realm and the throne.
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Professor Charles Xavier
Founder of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters
and creator of the X-Men
Charles is a man on a multi-fold mission, help young mutants, train them to live successful lives, and have them use their abilities to protect humanity. It has been his bedrock principle since he was commissioned to find other mutants. Although he has extraordinary mutant abilities with his mind, his greatest ability is truly in his heart, the ability to see the potential in others, to be non-judgmental, to live everyday with the mentality that life is about others, not just yourself and above all, there is always hope.
In Days of Future Past, Charles falls off the deep end, due to the war in Vietnam and the loss of his students and teachers he had planned on training. In one last desperate attempt, Logan demands that Charles' read his mind and sends him to talk to his future self. Never has Charles Xavier been better explained than in this one scene.
If you don't read anything in this post, then at least, please watch this video!!! It has the most beautiful universal message that society needs today.