A few weeks before summer began, my son and daughter came home from watching Endgame eagerly discussing plans to watch all 22 movies in the series. I had no idea the hype Endgame was nor that the movies had all been building to something. I mean, I liked some of the movies, but at one point had decided they were all the same. However, feeding off the enthusiasm of my children, I began to spout ideas of basing our summer plan the Marvel movies. I began to talk about unit studies and themes and learning activities, to which my kids responded with moans of, "It's supposed to be for fun, Mom!" In the midst of all this chatter, Joel sarcastically declared, "It will be MARVELous." The moment he said it, he regretted those words coming out of his mouth. Because this mother latched onto the phrase and designed....
Our MARVELous Summer
Okay, I'll be honest, I really did create a unit study type schedule based on the movies. But when you need to finish 22 movies in 12 weeks (minus all of the summer camps and job schedules to work around), you pretty much just have to watch the movies. But, that doesn't mean we didn't do a little bit of learning.
Before kicking off our movie marathon, I introduced some MARVELous scriptures.
2 Nephi 27:26
Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid.
Alma 26:3, 15
Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made binstruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting adarkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting blight, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.
Nevertheless, after all this, I never have known much of the ways of the Lord, and his mysteries and marvelous power. I said I never had known much of these things; but behold, I mistake, for I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people.
Marvelous work, light and power! Aren't those incredible phrases?
And for anyone interested in the unit studies that can be done with these movies, here is the list I made up. Maybe in another lifetime I can spread the movies out over a year and then follow the plan!
The Movies and Possible Themes:
Captain America: The First Avenger (1943 – 1945) - WWI, WWII, Civil War
Captain Marvel (1995) - Air Force, Flight
Iron Man (2010) - Cold War, Robotics, Iron, Business, Money/Economics, idealized portrait of first American Inventors
Iron Man 2 (2011)
The Incredible Hulk (2011) - Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, emotions, “It ain’t easy bein’ green,” muscles, strength training
Thor (2011) - mythology, hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind
Avengers (2012) - Good vs. evil, teamwork, STEM challenges
Iron Man 3 (2012)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) - astronomy, love, family, caring, outsiders, 10 life lessons learned from Guardians
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015) - bugs, metaphysics/matrix stuff, parenthood, pursue your goals and passions, 3 Lessons learned from Ant Man
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016) - spiders, bullying, Greatness Starts with becoming a servant
Doctor Strange (2016 – 2017) - time travel/teleporting, sorcery/magic, doctors/medical field studies/tour hospital; dissection/anatomy
Black Panther (2017) - panthers/large felines, social structures, national and family culture, kings, Africa
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Ant-Man and The Wasp (2017)
Avengers Infinity War (2017)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Though we didn't follow the plan above, there were some unexpected moment that occurred for me as we watched the movies.
#1 - I did not expect to fall in love with the Avengers. I loved almost every character! Iron man unexpectedly became my ultimate favorite and I could do without Thor.
#2 - There are some great discussions that can come from these movies. Ethical, moral, behavioral questions and discussions arose from this intricate saga. Familial relations, choice and accountability, character development, working with others to solve big problems, courage, time and possibilities...the list goes on.
#3 - I did not expect to cry when it was all over! Not only was I mourning the loss of some beautiful characters, but also the end of our family moment. I could not have planned a better activity with kids ranging from age 2-17! These movies gelled us together.
So, maybe we didn't go hiking, or camping, or travel or visit the lake, in that regard it was a pretty lame summer; but despite the stress we encountered through it all, we did create an incredible memory. It truly was MARVELous!