A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight! is a Christmas-themed 2015 movie in which Captain America and the other Avengers must save Christmas from the evil Loki and the ice giant Ymir. While there is cartoon and comic book-style violence, the violence is not graphic. And unlike the intense violence, cynicism, and complexity of the DC Comics movies, this feature is clearly intended for younger audiences. If there are any attempts at self-awareness and a more sophisticated outlook and humor, it most likely comes from the nonstop quips and one-liners from Ironman. The rest of the humor is silly and slapstick-y, with some lip service given to the true meaning of Christmas.
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What's the story?
Loki (Troy Baker) and Ymir (Fred Tatasciore) are plotting to find Jolnir -- an ice giant who answers to "Santa Claus" on planet Earth -- and steal his powers, and, as a result, they ruin the Christmases of children throughout the world. But while on patrol, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Iron Man -- trailed by academy recruit Reptil -- uncover this plot and must find a way to stop it. Meanwhile, Thor (Travis Willingham) and the Hulk are in search of Santa and mistakenly grab a department-store Santa who fears flying, especially in an open sleigh. Before long, Rocket Raccoon and Groot get in on the action, eager to collect the bounty for apprehending Santa Claus so they can buy a better ship. All these groups face each other in a final battle to determine the fate of Santa and Christmas.
Is it any good?
For the intended audiences, this holiday-themed adventure will be a hit. Those expecting high-quality animation, flawed and nuanced superheroes fighting crime amid bleak backdrops, and noirish storylines should look elsewhere. This is somewhat silly and not terribly original holiday-themed fare geared toward younger kids, with animation reminiscent of the Saturday-morning cartoons of the late 20th century. Perhaps the only thing separating this is a humor rooted in self-awareness, coming out most notably in the endless quips and one-liners of Iron Man but also evident in the Hulk and Thor.
Those expecting anything more than a holiday special with obligatory nods to the True Meaning of Christmas will be disappointed. But for parents who have grown weary of the superhero animated features that are filled with profanity, cynicism, and graphic violence, MARVEL SUPER HERO ADVENTURES: FROST FIGHT! might be a welcome respite -- and perhaps even a nostalgic look back to a time when superheroes weren't constantly wrestling with their inner demons while trying to rescue a humanity wearied of the havoc they unleash but were instead, you know, heroic.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cartoons with superheroes. How are the "good guys" shown to be good, and how are the "bad guys" shown to be bad?
How is this similar to and different from other stories centered on Santa Claus and Christmas?
How is Reptil similar to other kids who must prove their responsibility to adults before they get to do things adults think they're "too young" to do?
Do you like holiday-themed stories about your favorite characters? Why, or why not? Why do so many series include holiday episodes or movies?
- On DVD or streaming: April 25, 2015
- Cast: Travis Willingham, Fred Tatasciore, Troy Baker
- Director: Mitch Schauer
- Studio: Marvel Entertainment
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Adventures
- Run time: 73 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Fantasy action
- Last updated: December 4, 2019
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