The Essential Parenting Guide to Marvel Movies

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this underground trend, but from the looks of it, superhero movies from the Marvel Universe have become very popular. So many of these features have been released that parents who have a job / life often can’t keep 18 movies (as I write) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe *.

If your child starts to get addicted to these films, it can be confusing. “What the hell is Ultron and how old is it?” You may be asking yourself, “Would Muhammad Ali, in his prime, beat Superman in a boxing match?” **

I’m here to help you and your kids navigate these choppy waters and see which MCU movies are right for which age groups. As with all age guides, there is the usual caveat here that this is completely subjective and really depends on how much your child can handle.

Formula for the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Violence, Not Sex

If you’re looking for a crystal clear, fully usable, non-violent film for your delicate little flower grower, stick with Pixar. The big Hollywood studios that make films about the Marvel Cinematic Universe have found a formula to print money in America and securely sell films in foreign markets, a formula not as soft as Up .

There is always violence in MCU movies. Violence and superheroes have been inextricably linked since the early days, because no kid wants to watch the Hulk discuss his problems. So expect a lot of guys to get beat up. But just like in comics, the violence is usually cartoony, usually without bloodshed. There is little sexually explicit content in MCU movies (other than Chris Hemsworth’s biceps), but there is some ambiguity and PG-13 curses: you might hear some “shit!” but you won’t hear any “shit”!

There is room for a lot of difference in tone, theme, quality, and intensity in this loose structure, from the more innocent Ant-Man to the more brooding, adult (sort of) fare like Iron Man 2 .

Ages 7 to 10

Ant-Man : This light-hearted, funny movie is perfect for young children. His more “mature” ideas and themes will float above their heads, while Ant-Man’s attempts to conquer a world too big for him will be infinitely close to children.

Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2 : These two movies may be a little more trendy than most Marvel movies, but they’re still perfect for kids. They don’t take themselves too seriously and move like lightning. Kids will love Groot, and parents will love the awesome classic rock soundtrack.

Thor: Ragnarok : This uneven film sometimes seems almost self-parody, but the children hardly recognize the irony. Instead, they’ll see a collection of bigger good guys fighting formidable enemies, without much of the brooding and introspection that some superhero movies fall prey to.

Spider-Man: Homecoming : The 57th cinematic retelling of Spidey’s origin story perfect for kids. The theme of coming-of-age is timeless, even if it involves fighting gun dealers in a spandex suit.

Iron Man : This is the blockbuster that started it all. Tony Stark is a wealthy hedonist, so there are some light, ambiguous jokes about his debauchery, but overall this is mostly a family movie and Robert Downey Jr. is amazing.

Thor : Huge story of earth gods, Thor is a personal favorite and that’s okay for kids too. Thor is all about huge battles, intrigue, a charming bad guy, and an inspiring message. What more do you want?

Doctor Strange: While the mystical, psychedelic journey of a good doctor after a grueling car accident can be a little hard for kids, once it comes to “then he got magical powers!” part, they’ll be fascinated.

10 to 13 years old

The Avengers: Intense and action-packed, The Avengers is n’t quite right for kids under the age of 10, but it can get a little risky depending on Junior’s sensitivity, plus there are plenty of heroes to watch out for.

Captain America: Captain America: While teachers will appreciate this film’s historically accurate account of the important work done by our country’s genetically enhanced super-soldiers during World War II, the Nazis are a rather troubling enemy for young children. Leave it to your older brothers and sisters.

Black Panther: This is the best overall movie in the MCU, but its themes of black identity and the meaning and use of violence can get out of the minds of everyone but adults. It’s still a great, well-timed film, and even if they overlook its deeper meaning, it works great as a blockbuster action movie.

Avengers: Age of Ultron: The idea of ​​teamwork winning over everything else resonates with this Marvel movie, but the massive violence and swiftness can be a little overwhelming for the little ones.

Iron Man 2 : I know you have to heighten the focus of any series with a second installment, so it makes sense that this movie dwells on Tony Stark’s alcoholism and personal flaws, but will the kids like it? Maybe if they are older.

Iron Man 3: Ditto, Part 3. In this part of the series, the violence is more personal, so young children can be upset. Plus, watching Tony Stark overcome a midlife identity crisis probably doesn’t figure high on many kids’ must-watch lists.

13 years and older

The Incredible Hulk : Children love the Hulk for the same reason he is a nuisance to their parents. The big green dude solves every problem by breaking it down. The Hulk is by nature very cruel, and a high-tech suit, magic shield or god’s hammer does not distract from violence. He’s just a big green guy smashing faces.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: I understand that the upright superheroes from the old comics don’t play in our current fallen world, but getting Captain America to distrust the US government is a little tricky for little guys who just want a hero.

Captain America: Civil War: Fighting superheroes against other superheroes is also a bit tricky for a lot of kids, and there are a few personal and harrowing deaths in it.

Thor: The Dark World: The battles in this movie are huge and overwhelming, from catnip to older kids, but toddlers can be, well, overwhelmed, especially when combined with the fact that it’s not a great movie.


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