A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie celebrates the idea of the hero as someone who demonstrates courage, integrity, and perseverance, believes in something greater than him/herself, and stands up for those who can't stand up for themselves. Self-sacrifice, friendship, and loyalty are also key themes.
Positive Role Models
Steve Rogers/Captain America is about as wholesome as superheroes come: He's brave, compassionate, resourceful, loyal, and kind. He doesn't have the personal demons or conflicts that mark darker heroes like Batman; he's unquestionably a good guy. Although Captain America at one point professes a reluctance to kill people, he and his soldiers don't have any qualms about offing tons of villains. Agent Carter is respected and good at what she does. The villains are clearly evil.
Supporting characters span gender, race, and body size. Agent Carter is a powerful woman who doesn't need to be rescued. Positive characters Nick Fury and Gabe Jones are Black. American soldier Jim Morita is of Japanese descent. They all help move the plot forward and are depicted as heroes as worthy as Captain America.
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Violence & Scariness
Frequent strong explosive action violence and weapons. Buildings, vehicles, and more are engulfed in fireballs; lots of gun use. A villain known as Red Skull has a skeletal face that could be very scary to younger kids. The villains are developing super weapons powered by a mysterious energy source; they're extremely powerful, and some can completely vaporize people. Characters are killed, in mostly bloodless gun fights and big explosions, but a few characters die in more upsetting ways: a couple of them are shot point-blank, and one goes through a propeller (blood is spattered). Car and motorcycle chases, fist fights, and war imagery. A child is held hostage. A character dies by suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting and a couple of kisses; romantic tension between the two main characters. Soldiers ogle a woman. Women's underwear can be seen when they dance. One implied mooning by a soldier who removes his trousers; several scenes with a shirtless man.
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Several uses of "hell," plus very infrequent use of "ass," "damn," "son of a bitch," "oh my God," and British slang like "bloody." Insults include calling soldiers "ladies" to demean them.
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Products & Purchases
Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise, as well as every other series and film connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Dr. Erskine drinks some schnapps; he later implies that he had too much, but he's not shown drunk. Soldiers drink beer (and harder liquor) in a pub/bar; one is a little tipsy. Captain America tries to get drunk but is unable to.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Captain America: The First Avenger is a 1940s-set superhero film that's part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The first of many to feature Captain America, it's full of explosive action and violence. Expect tons of gun battles, fireballs, and fist fights, as well as a potentially scary villain who has a skeletal face. In other respects though, it's pretty tame. Captain America is wholesome, compassionate, and brave; he doesn't have the dark side that many other superheroes do, and he respects women. There's flirting and a couple of tame kisses. Characters drink (but don't get drunk) and use words like "hell" and "ass" a few times. But what lingers after the last bomb has exploded and the last fight is over are the movie's messages about standing up against bullying and doing the right thing. (That and a very strong sense of "U.S.A! U.S.A!" patriotism.) To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
If you crossed Raiders of the Lost Ark with Hellboy and added a dash of Pearl Harbor and director Joe Johnston's own The Rocketeer, you'd be well on your way to creating this movie. Captain America: The First Avenger is a well-paced World War II adventure with an undercurrent of sci-fi/fantasy mysticism and a hero who's very easy to root for. Rogers/Captain America is definitely a great role model, but you might find yourself wishing he had a little bit more of Wolverine or Tony Stark's snark. (The movie's a bit short on humor overall, actually; Captain America's team of soldiers provides most of the laughs, but they don't get all that much screen time.)
Speaking of Tony Stark, those who are well-versed in Marvel history will enjoy seeing Dominic Cooper as Tony's equally suave/tech-savvy father, Howard, in a supporting role. And there are plenty of other moments that fans of the comics will enjoy, too -- when pre-makeover Steve uses a garbage can lid as an impromptu defense, for instance, foreshadowing his iconic shield. All in all, Captain America: The First Avenger is an entertaining adventure but it's not the MCU's best. (Cap really comes into his own in later movies.)
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.