Watching the Thor movies with my disabled brother

I saw a totally different set of movies than everyone else I know, and the reason was the person I took to see them.

My brother is severely mentally disabled. He is permanently at about the mental age of six, though he’s over forty, and is also autistic. He loves comics and superheroes, something we share in common, and so I take him to see superhero movies. I was the lucky person – and I say this entirely without irony – who took him to see both Thor movies.

He has a habit of whispering to himself during movies. He’s not loud enough for anyone who isn’t sitting right next to him to hear, so I situate us with him on the end of a row, and me next to him, so I’ll be the only one who can hear him and he won’t disturb anyone else. He also has an amazing ability to cut through all the glitz and layers of deception and societal expectation and crap that Hollywood throws at its viewers, to see what’s really at the heart of any given scene, and any given movie.

He also has a brother and a dad he loves dearly. If you’ve seen the movies, I’m sure you can see where some of this is going.

In this case, having him with me absolutely made both movies worth watching. In some cases, it was things I hadn’t noticed that were hilarious (for example, the shape of the high-tech gadget Thor attacks the villain with at the end of Thor 2: I was distracted by the presence of Christopher Eccleston and by the complex explanation to notice the humorous idea that Thor was attacking someone with a giant nail, until my brother started laughing and whispered it). In some cases it was things that really weren’t (at the end of the first Thor, when Odin says he’s proud of his sons, my brother whispered, “You dorks, that’s always what mattered.” I started crying like a small child). And this happened about every ten to fifteen minutes, over the course of both films, and completely changed the experience in ways I wouldn’t trade for the world.

I’m excited to go see Amazing Spiderman 2 with him next week.


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