Why we are waiting to show our kids the Marvel movies

It’s no secret that Avengers: Endgame, the newest of the Marvel movies, is sweeping the world. Kids are begging their parents to see the movies so they aren’t left out but how do you know if your kids are old enough for Avengers? After a good amount of discussion we have decided to not show our kids the movies yet and here’s why.

 How old should your kids be to see the Marvel movies? These are the reasons why we are waiting to show the marvel movies to our own kids.
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I have lost count of the number of times I have watched most of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). We have done complete marathons twice – once for Avengers: Infinity War and once for Avengers: Endgame. We went to a 2:00 am showing of Endgame because we didn’t want to risk getting spoiled as more and more people flocked to the theater.

All this to say – we love these movies. But our kids have never seen one.

Our oldest is 10 ½ followed by a 9 year old, 6 year old, and twin 4 ½ year olds. Four boys and a girl. Prime territory for all things superhero. But we still haven’t shown them a single film.

Despite our love of all the films in this massive cinematic adventure, we don’t feel they are appropriate for the ages of our kids – quite yet. We’ve debated back and forth over the years over which we think the older boys might be ready for soon, but in the end we keep deciding to wait.

Fair warning: This is our family’s choice. Ahead are the reasons we have decided to wait. If you and your family chooses a different path, kudos to you. I’m not judging you or talking about you behind your back. I’m simply sharing the journey we have gone on to make our decisions and what we feel is the best choice for the kids we have at this point in time.

Do we feel pressure to show the Marvel movies to our kids?

Maybe a little. Many of our friends have shown them to their kids and lots of those kids are younger than our oldest kids. Our kids come home from school and tell us about all the kids at school talking about the movies.

 Are marvel movies appropriate for kids? All the movies are rated pg-13 and contain language and situations that aren’t suited for a younger audience. What age should kids watch the Marvel movies?

But if we do everything based on the pressure we feel from others or so that our kids don’t feel left out, we would not be parenting the way we feel God leading us. Our kids are only this little and innocent for a short period of time. We don’t feel the need to rush them into seeing movies geared toward older kids just to fit in.

Are Marvel movies appropriate for kids?

Overall, I don’t think so, but that is the decision we have come to for our family. Every family is different and every child is different. I know plenty of families that do show the movies to their kids and all is fine. I look forward to the day we do this! But that day simply isn’t today.

These are action films and every movie has a large amount of fighting. We have seen the way our kids react to intense fight scenes in media so we choose to limit their exposure, especially in the form of “real life” media.

Several of the Marvel movies, despite being produced by Disney, are not as clean as other Disney films. Many feature adult situations, adult language, and suggestive humor. While some of this might go over our kids heads, we’ve chosen to simply eliminate the exposure right now.

What age can kids watch Marvel movies?

I don’t think there is a true “set age” for watching Marvel movies, even though they are all rated PG-13. Some are significantly more appropriate for an older audience due to the content and others because of the story. I think each movie should be looked at individually rather than the looking at the MCU as a whole.

The age your child is ready to watch one of the Marvel movies might be very different from another child. Only you know how your child reacts to things like explosions, fight scenes, scary creatures, and other parts of these movies. Some children have no issue separating the fantasy world from reality and others can be greatly impacted by a short viewing.

Before knowing if your child is ready, you should ask yourself a few things.

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How can I decide if my kids are ready to see a Marvel movie?

  • Have I seen it first?

Ratings are only a suggestion. We don’t make a basis on the rating because there are plenty of PG movies that are not appropriate for kids. Like Gremlins. Granted there wasn’t a PG-13 rating back then, but still. We watch every movie before showing it to our kids with the exception of G rated movies. And even those we are in the room for the first viewing.

Needing to jump up and shut off a movie because something unexpected comes on screen is a surefire way to cause problems. I’d rather watch it first and let my kids know that it’s not appropriate for them yet.

  • How does my child handle fighting and violence?

Every Marvel movie includes big fight scenes and battles to win the day. Some are bigger than others. Some are against aliens or fictitious characters and others are against real people. Can my child tell the difference? Will the fighting upset them? Will they mimic the actions they see on screen?

 Are my kids old enough to watch Avengers? How do I know if my child is ready to watch avengers? These are the reasons why we are waiting to show our kids the Marvel Movies included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • How does my child react to fantastical situations?

One of our kids has a very active imagination and at night will often have bad dreams related to the ideas swirling around inside their head. Due to a fascination with dinosaurs, one night this child came upstairs upset and not able to sleep because they were worried that a meteor might crash through our house.

Exposing this child to the world of super heroes where aliens, sorcerers, talking racoons, and very intense situations are the norm could easily cause sleepless nights for many of us in the house.

  • How do I feel about crude language?

While there is significantly less swearing in these movies than other movies, even others with a PG-13 rating, there are still the occasional bad word. If you don’t want your child exposed to these words, I’d suggest waiting on the movies.

To be honest, this is the lowest factor in our decision for waiting. There are a few movies our kids have seen that do contain these words and we’ve never pointed them out or made a big deal about it and our kids never have either. None of us use swear words and we refuse to give them power in our lives.

  • How do I feel about adult situations and suggestions?

In the first act of the first Iron Man movie Tony Stark brings a woman he just met home and rolls around with her in bed while she is only in a shirt and underwear. He’s also an alcoholic (more so in the comics than the MCU) and hops from woman to woman until realizing he’s in love with his assistant, Pepper Potts. It’s not a situation we want our kids to learn about at this age.

Same goes for Peter Quill, aka Starlord, in Guardians of the Galaxy. He is well known for being a womanizer and frequently makes raunchy comments.

Our kids are going to be exposed to all of that eventually- it’s become the norm in this world. But we can guard their eyes, ears, and hearts from it for now.

Which Marvel movies are family friendly?

Several of the Marvel movies are more family friendly than others and these are probably the movies we will be showing our kids first, despite our love of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. We would love to show them all the films in theatrical release order, but we are okay with them seeing these few at a younger age (probably age 10 or 11) and then debuting the entire MCU at a later age (closer to 12 or 13).

But again, I encourage you to view the movie first on your own to decide for your own child and family.

Thor (2011)

The first Thor movie feels very Shakespearean in nature. Asgard is a beautiful world and this movie is on the clean side compared to others.

Things to note:

  • The Asgardians are referred to as “gods” in the movie because they are based on Norse mythology. If you’ve never taken the time to explain other cultures and beliefs to your kids this could be a great jumping off point.
  • The frost giants and monster might be a little frightening for some kids.
 Are there family friendly marvel movies? Which Marvel movies can we watch as a family? Here are the best Marvel movies for the whole family as well as family friendly alternatives to the Marvel CInematic Universe.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Steve Rogers embodies many of the qualities we’d all like to see in our kids – honest, trustworthy, and takes a stand against bullies – even when he’s at a severe disadvantage. He refuses to sit by when he is able to make a difference so this is a great movie to get conversations going around this topic.

Things to note:

  • The Red Skull could be frightening to some kids as he pulls off his human face to reveal his true self.

The Avengers (2012)

The first Avengers movie changed the course of cinematic universes. It showed that bringing multiple big name characters together could work and work well. This movie is a thrilling ride with lots of fun moments.

Things to note:

  • The Chituari race of aliens along with the space whales might be too intense or creepy for certain kids.
  • A secondary character is stabbed through the chest and there is blood.

Ant-Man (2015)

This movie is tons of fun with lots of humor and silly hi-jinks. It doesn’t have many tie-ins the the larger MCU other than a few references so it’s an easy movie to watch without the background of the entire universe.

Things to note:

  • There are a few minor curse words uttered by characters.
  • A man is turned to a goo substance by the villian and flushed down the toilet.

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange might the most “out there” of the movies with it’s psychedelic effects but it’s on the cleaner side when it comes to all the movies in the Marvel universe. Some of these scenes might be a little intense for younger kids but be fascinating for slightly older ones.

Things to note:

  • There are a few minor curse words uttered by characters.
  • The concept revolves around a mystical realm that most people are unaware exists.

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther took the world by storm when it came out in 2018. The inclusion of a minority lead character (others in the MCU are all secondary characters) was very much needed and appreciated by people all around the globe.

Things to note:

  • The hand-to-hand combat scenes are very intense, realistic, and bloody.

Captain Marvel (2019)

We finally got a female-led Marvel movie and it did not disappoint! She’s a strong female that learns to stop listening to those holding her back and instead embrace who she is.

Things to note:

  • There are a few minor curse words uttered by characters.

What are kid-friendly alternatives to Marvel movies?

Because our kids are so interested in the Marvel characters and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general, we have made a point of seeking out ways for them to enjoy the stories and characters outside of the movies. Here are some ideas to bring the MCU to life in your home that are safe for the whole family.

We discovered these chapter books many years ago and they have been a huge hit with our second kid. In fact, he’s started reading them aloud to the other kids! They follow the exact plots of the movies but all the adult situations and questionable words have been removed. That scene from Iron Man I described above? Not there. Unfortunately, the books end with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. This means that the rest of Phase 3 of the MCU is not available for reading. It’s a super bummer and my little Marvel guy is especially disappointed.

We frequently try to read a book before seeing it’s movie counterpart so this could be a good way to introduce the Marvel Cinematic Universe and see how your child does before seeing the movies.

  • LEGO Marvel shows

While these don’t really have anything to do with the actual Marvel Cinematic Universe, the characters are based on the versions from the MCU. There are two Avengers movies and several about other characters like Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy. As of right now they are all available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

 Marvel books, movies, and video games appropriate for kids. Let your kids experience the Marvel universe in these kid friendly formats.

This adorable kid’s picture book tells the story of Baby Groot getting ready for bed but Rocket pulling him out to go save the day. All sorts of the Marvel characters make an appearance including a tiny Ant-Man on each page (can you find him?). This book is really sweet and the younger crowd will love it!

This show debuted on Disney XD in 2015, not long after the first movie. It follows the rag-tag group of the Guardians around space as they try to stop various villains from carrying out their evil plans.

It’s not currently available to stream unless you have Hulu: Live or purchase the seasons from Amazon, but because it’s a Disney show I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up on Disney+ this winter.

We took the whole family to see this movie and it has become a favorite in our house. The animation is outstanding, the humor is perfect, and the story is wonderful. There is typical comic book violence of some shooting and fighting that could be too much for the younger crowd, depending on the child.

With three options for LEGO video games surrounding the characters of Marvel you won’t find any shortage of fun here! All our kids love playing LEGO video games and we love that they encourage teamwork rather than competition. The Super Hero games are general Marvel fun vs. the Avengers game that pulls threads from the actual Marvel Cinematic Universe.

My Final Thoughts

Again, I love these movies. A lot. In fact, despite just finishing all twenty-two a week or so before Avengers: Endgame released I still watched a few more again while writing this article. I really adore these movies and can’t wait to share the world with our kids… when they are ready. You better believe that as soon as my husband and I decide to start I’ll be the first one popping popcorn and setting up blankets.

I hope that no matter what you and your family decide that you make the decision together and as well informed as possible. Whether you decide to show the movies at a younger age than us doesn’t matter. What matters is being intentional in your parenting and making choices you feel comfortable with.

How do you feel about the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Have you shown any of the movies to your kids?

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 Which Marvel MOvies are Appropriate for the whole family to enjoy? Read why we are waiting to introduce the Marvel movies to our kids as well as which marvel movies we will show to our kids first.

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