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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Captain Marvel is the first female-led superhero movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's an Avengers prequel, telling the story of how Air Force pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) becomes Captain Marvel, one of the most powerful superheroes ever. While there's plenty of action violence (including guns/weapons), most of it is of a sci-fi/fantasy nature, with just a couple of curse words ("s--t" being the strongest). The film offers several positive messages related to perseverance, integrity, and more, but the greatest takeaway is watching a fearless, confident, mighty woman become a superhero. Carol Danvers is a fantastic role model: She always sees herself as capable, she's not objectified, male counterparts recognize her intelligence and strength, and she has a strong sense of integrity. Women support women, the characters are diverse, ageism is nonexistent, and romance doesn't figure into things at all.
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What's the story?
CAPTAIN MARVEL's origin story begins as Kree warrior Vers (Brie Larson) visits Earth on a mission to stop a shape-shifting alien infiltration. She teams up with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to save the planet from a war between two alien races. As she regains lost memories, she realizes the extent of her own powers and develops into the universe's most powerful superhero.
Is it any good?
This superhero flick is basic but still engrossing, enthralling, and rewarding on many levels, just one of which is seeing Marvel's first female superhero get her own movie. Captain Marvel is fairly paint-by-the-numbers, but that doesn't lessen its powerful impact. It's an Avengers origin story as well as a story of Captain Marvel herself, which doubles the glee, especially the introduction of a young Nick Fury. While each Avengers movie is funnier than the last, Captain Marvel returns to Captain America-level humor, while keeping the themes simple and the action frequent. One of the Avengers franchise's strongest story elements has been encouraging audiences to look at a situation from both perspectives -- this film continues in that tradition by embracing a perspective shift.
Carol Danvers is an ideal female heroine: She's Katniss Everdeen without the self-doubt, Wonder Woman without the sexualization, and Black Widow without the moral complexity. With an everywoman charm, Larson quickly convinces viewers that she's the right woman to be Marvel's most powerful superhero: Girls everywhere can see themselves in her. And, by the way, there's no reason boys can't as well. The most amazing feat of the film is that Larson's character is somewhat gender-neutral: Viewers won't necessarily think "wow, that's a WOMAN landing those punches" -- instead, they're likely to think "wow, what a great superhero."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about women's roles in comics and superhero films. What makes Carol Danvers a role model in Captain Marvel? How does she compare to other female superheroes? How is she portrayed compared to other Avengers?
Captain Marvel stands out among Avengers movies (and most superhero movies) in that women hold significant filmmaker roles: writing, directing, producing, and editing. Why is it important that women have a hand in making big, popular movies? What's a potential consequence when men tell a story about women? What's the potential consequence when the majority of films come only from one gender?
How does Captain Marvel embody courage, perseverance, and integrity? Why are those important character strengths? Even though she's powerful enough to be a one-woman show, why do you think she still invites teamwork?
How does Carol's perspective change on the war she's fighting for the Kree? Do you think "bad guys" think they're bad? How do you determine what's right?
- In theaters: March 8, 2019
- Cast: Brie Larson, Gemma Chan, Jude Law
- Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Space and Aliens
- Character Strengths: Courage, Integrity, Perseverance
- Run time: 124 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.