Avengers, Three Stooges, Despicable Me, Kung Fu Panda… and Adoption!

Rebecca Cusey responds to my post about the controversial “He’s adopted” line in The Avengers:

The line is not entirely throw away. It’s a reference to events in the Thor movie (one of the many running up to The Avengers that told the backstories of the characters.) Loki, the villain (played by Tom Hiddleston) was raised by the god Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and as a brother to Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Loki finds out he was taken into the divine household as a peace keeping effort on Odin’s part and is, in fact, not Odin’s son. He’s the son of Odin’s enemy, Laufey of the Frost Giants, whom Odin beat into submission and took Loki as his own. Loki does not take this well. Thus is born the rivalry between Thor, the biological son, and Loki, the adopted son. Being gods and all, it has consequences for everyone. Norse mythology, like superhero movies, explore issues of humanity on a grand scale.

This line hearkens back to the issues of adoption in an archtypical sense. Not that that will necessarily make anyone feel any better.

Read her take on the joke here and her review of the movie here. Also, added some t:

If people want to get mad about adoption (and who doesn’t?), they should be mad at the Three Stooges movie which showed a loving but wacky and poor orphanage lining kids up and having rich parents pick one in about three minutes, and then the parents returned the kid because he wanted them to adopt his friends too and he was never adopted. Plus, the orphanage was the good thing. The whole movie was trying to save the orphanage from being shut down and the kids from being sent to foster care (“where people are paid to love me.”) It was pretty bad. Even worse on adoption than Despicable Me.

Also, I’d love to see someone explore adoption in Once Upon a Time, a show I love but has a pretty bad adoption message. The birth mother comes back into town and is the salvation of her child as well as the town. The adoptive mother is truly evil (we think), and is basically the evil stepmother, but she pretends to love the kid. You end up rooting for him to reject his adoptive mother and cast his lot with his biological mother. I’d be horrified if I were an adoptive parent. Plus, the biological mother is prettier and smarter (mostly) and definitely better and more sympathetic than the adoptive mother. No fathers around in either case, btw. (Although I think the bio dad may come through in some plot lines).

I thought Kung Fu Panda 2 was pretty good and sweet exploring these themes. You had to be ready for it, but at least it was all true and loving.

Read Rebecca’s review of The Three Stooges, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Despicable Me for more on these films.

 Nancy also writes for The Home Front blog, where this first appeared.

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About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.

  • Pingback: The “He’s Adopted” Line in Avengers Is Not Funny

  • http://www.talleyimages.blogspot.com Addie

    agreed with these… as an adoptive mother, Im probably more sensitive than the average movie-goer… but I noticed the whole audience laugh at the “he’s adopted” joke in the Avengers, and both my husband and I (with our adopted son, who has down syndrome, so thankfully he didnt get why people were laughing) just looked at each other and cringed…

    I didnt see the 3 Stooges movie, but had heard similar points about it… and weve spent many a pointless conversation on Despicable Me and how we wish all adoptions could be that easy of a process (ok, maybe not THAT easy), and the Box of Shame didnt go missed on us either and it made me sad… but I loved how it showed that Gru had really come to love the girls as his own even though he never intended to

    And Kung Fu Panda is hands down one of our favorite adoption movies – I think it gets it right, especially with the respect to the dad feeling not good enough…. Meet The Robinsons is also amazing as well… :)

  • regular joe

    All these ‘that’s not nice’ back and forths about adoption in the movies is a bit like protests about Non PC names. Yes, we can all in compassion wish to not mock those already burdened with infirmity. But its a losing battle because once Moran stops being a medical term and becomes an insult, then the replacement term Retarded becomes one too, same with Crippled to Handicapped, to Disabled to…etc. Euphamism and nicety can’t stop underlying truths, such as nobody wants to be retarded or disabled, no matter how much we celebrate them and chant about God not making junk. Same with Adoption. Genes matter, and science actually tells us they matter more than nurture for life outcomes, on average. This is non PC amongst contemporary Christians, but Truth doesn’t care what’s PC or what offends us. And Adoption is where that unwanted fact comes home to roost in our laps. Plus, come one, we can’t joke about the off color side of humanity if they are an adoptive parent. And then there’ humor. We really must analyze Despicable Me thru this particular PC lense to see if it pushes the correct political themes? Lighten up.


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