I managed to watch the Avengers movie before having any of it spoilered for me, which was impressive mainly because I had promised my eldest son that I would see it with him, and, at nine years old, he has one of the busiest social calendars of anyone I know.
The thing about his calendar is that it is comprised of only one thing: birthdays. I rarely have to attend adult birthday celebrations, and have made my feelings on them very clear in this column . Children’s birthdays are dangerous for the parent who struggles to retain information, and picking up our kids afterwards usually involves my wife covering for me as I call parents the wrong names and ask them about children who aren’t theirs.
Birthday parties meant that I couldn’t go to the cinema with my son at the weekend, so I had to negotiate with my wife to let me take him after school. This was an issue, because the film has such a ridiculous running time that he would have to stay up late if we went to any screening after 10am.
We rushed to the cinema straight from his afterschool club, which my wife informed me could not be missed under any circumstances, even to watch Avengers; we agreed to disagree on whether that was an insane misplacement of priorities. I bought him a cinema dinner of nachos with a dip claiming to be cheese. It seemed so far removed from actual cheese that I can only assume food regulations allow any product to be called cheese if it has been in the same room as cheese at some point.
For the first time in more than 10 years, I had decided not to have any snacks, following a horrific incident during our last visit to watch Captain Marvel. (Our cinema trips all seem to involve either a Marvel or a Star Wars film; I am starting to wonder at what point Disney is going to reveal its Thanos-like plan to release so many films that we can no longer afford to eat.) It was on leaving the cinema from Captain Marvel (four Roms out of five) that I noticed some discomfort in my mouth. After close examination, I discovered a sliver of popcorn had become lodged between my tooth and gum and was slicing the flesh, causing intense pain. There was a fair bit of irony in watching a woman save the universe while simultaneously being defeated by a popcorn hull. I haven’t been officially diagnosed, but I am pretty sure I now have popcornophobia.
A woman sitting next to my son started texting about 30 minutes into Avengers: Endgame, lighting his little face enough for me to see he was upset by it. She then turned her phone over and I became enraged, willing this woman to do it again. I would tell her to switch off her phone; we would be able to enjoy the film; and my son would feel his dad was some sort of cinema Avenger. Maybe people would approach me on the way out to congratulate me.
Sure enough, two minutes later she went to start texting again. This was my moment. I steeled myself and, as I leaned over, a woman behind us asked her to turn her phone off, which she did. My son looked grateful, and thoroughly enjoyed the film. I spent the rest of it furious with the woman behind us for ruining my opportunity to become my son’s Thor. I’m sure there will be a sequel.