In the upcoming Marvel movie, Logan, we find everyone’s favorite mulleted berserker learning what it’s like to be a father figure to Laura, a mysterious young mutant who shows up on his doorstep. Smart move not trying to show Wolverine trying to change a diaper with adamantium claws. But this twist does highlight the fact that in the MCU (sorry, Marvel Cinematic Universe) there are a bunch of dads that spawn super kids. Some were role models. Some were absentee war mongers. And some were uncles. Here’s a quick look at the parenting lessons hidden within what appear to be effects-driven comic book flicks.
Teach Kids Their Self-Worth
Odin in Thor
Even gods have a rough time parenting. Look at Odin. He’s the god of war and death and his kids still rebelled against him. First, his adopted son put him in a coma. His real son Thor got all preachy about how his old man was weak, foolish, and … old. But good on Odin, who, in his infinite wisdom, did what any good father would do — he sent Thor to his room. Or, more accurately, he banished him to Earth to teach him a lesson of using his heart instead of his hammer. And it actually worked. Case in point: Name another Norse hero.
Scott Lang in Ant-Man
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) went from anti-hero to Avenger all for his daughter. Well, that and a crime. But winning the love and admiration of your kid is a go-to movie trope that always works when Hollywood wants to pull at your heartstrings. Lang ends up saving his daughter from the film’s bad guy, Yellowjacket, and puts his life in the balance to not only win the day but to become a not-terrible dad.
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Always Give Positive Reinforcement
Howard Stark in Iron Man 2
Tony may have learned a lot from his father (except how to protect Earth in a robot suit made of iron), but it wasn’t always a smooth relationship. Plus, Howard had secrets. So many secrets that Howard recorded hidden messages for grown Tony in vintage World’s Fair videos. He had the foresight and unconditional love to see his son was meant for bigger things — like getting an irradiated green monster and an unfrozen WWII vet in the same room.
Be Nice To Your Kids’ New Friends
General “Thunderbolt” Ross in The Incredible Hulk
Talk about a love triangle: Bruce Banner’s girlfriend’s dad wants to kill the Hulk. Bruce Banner is the Hulk. Thunderbolt Ross is kind of an a-hole in the “kill the Hulk” department. His daughter Betty ends up hating her dad because she loves Bruce. And the General and Bruce have awkward small talk every Thanksgiving. The lesson here: Instead of attacking your daughter’s new (and possibly green) friend, hear him out. Then decide if you want to build a genetically modified super soldier monster to battle him.
Remind Them You’re Coolest
Peter Quill’s Dad in Guardians Of The Galaxy
Star-Lord’s father was a mystery in the hit film, Guardians Of The Galaxy. But director James Gunn has said Kurt Russell, who plays Chris Pratt’s dad in the sequel, will be a departure from the comic. In that world, he’s a living breathing planet named Ego. Sure, Marvel can make Ant-Man work, but Planet Dad? So far, Mama Quill only described him as an angel in the first film. Fair point; Russell has been sporting some pretty great hair since Escape From New York.
Always Inspire Your Kids With Wisdom
Uncle Ben in Spider-Man
There are almost as many Spider-Man movies as Vin Diesel car chase movies (sorry, “family” movies), and Uncle Ben has been referenced in just about all of them. Ben may be the greatest Uncle in pop culture history — hell, he may be the best dad on this list. When we the last time you said something as profound as “with great power comes great responsibility” to your kid?
Don’t Be A Helicopter Hero
Logan in Logan
You’d think having to face the extinction of mutant-kind in an apocalyptic hellscape was a bad day. But then you also have to take care of a kid! At least that’s what Wolverine is facing in Logan when he’s forced to protect a genetically similar mutant who just happens to be a young girl. “Take care of” is a bit of an overstatement, considering she also has some badass claws and regenerative healing powers. So, maybe Logan can just skip the part where he’s catching her from falling off the monkey bars.