A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel will be a must-see for fans of either Phineas and Ferb or the Marvel universe characters, and those who know both sets are in for a real treat. Action-wise, you'll see much of the same as you would in any other superhero cartoon –- super-strength clashes, some laser blasts, and fantasy weapons like webs and Thor's crushing hammer -– but it actually accounts for little of the story's time. The rest is devoted to comical encounters among the heroes, villains, and humans, and the fallout from Phineas and Ferb's trademark fearless, fun-loving attempts to solve problems. Expect some verbal jabs like "puny" and "idiot" and a lot of outlandish adventures but also a sweet example of broken relationships that are mended by forgiveness. Of course, given that the movie's recognizable faces also grace store shelves on everything from snack food to clothing, your kids' susceptibility to this kind of marketing is also a factor to consider.
What's the story?
During a space exploration, Phineas (voiced by Vincent Martella) and Ferb's (Thomas Brodie Sangster) space station inadvertently redirects a blast from Dr. Doofenshmirtz's (Dan Povenmire) most recent brainchild, the "Power Drain-Inator." The blast zaps New York City, where Spider-Man (Drake Bell), Hulk (Fred Tatasciore), Thor (Travis Willingham), and Iron Man (Adrian Pasdar) are hard at work against Red Skull (Liam O'Brien) and his villain friends, and suddenly the heroes' powers disappear. An investigation leads them to Phineas and Ferb's doorstep, and the group hatches a plan to set things right, but a series of mistakes by Candace (Ashley Tisdale) further complicate the mess. Meanwhile, Red Skull and his cronies descend on Danville looking for the inventor responsible for nixing the heroes' powers and befriend Doofenshmirtz in an effort to steal his ideas and eliminate their enemies once and for all. Can Phineas, Ferb, and their Marvel friends fend off the villains and reinstate their powers in time to save Danville from certain doom?
Is it any good?
Mix the comic genius of Phineas and Ferb with the timeless appeal of the Marvel characters and you have a hilarious, hands-down winner that's as fun for parents as it is for grade-schoolers. The trouble starts with the heroes suddenly losing their powers, which is worrisome for all of two seconds before the riotous repercussions set in. How to transport a hammer that's just too heavy for now-average-strength Thor to carry? Who will scale walls now that Spider-Man's stick is gone? And what to do with Iron Man, whose suit goes on the fritz when his powers shut down? When Phineas and Ferb step in to help, things don't exactly go as planned (no surprise there), and hysterical chaos ensues. And that's just half the story. Meanwhile, across town, an oblivious Doofenshmirtz is stringing along a nefarious foursome; Perry the Platypus (Dee Bradley Baker) has joined forces with Marvel's Nick Fury (Chi McBride) to quietly upend the bad guys; Candace takes it upon herself to set the whole mess straight; and musical montages tie it all together.
Clearly Mission Marvel leans a bit more heavily to the Phineas and Ferb side than it does to the Marvel side, in light of its constant comedy and hometown setting. Yes, there are some good-vs.-evil showdowns, but they're not the caliber you'll find in a straight superhero cartoon. Ultimately, though, that's easily forgotten in light of the story's hilariously clever twist on the norm for both of these casts.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what works and what doesn't in this crossover story. Do the characters work well together? Does the story bring out the best in each set? Why do you think the movie's creators chose these two groups for a combo story?
Kids: What do you think it takes to be a real-life hero? Are there people in your life you consider to be just that? How do their actions show their strength of character?
Use this movie to start a discussion with your kids about how advertising influences our buying habits. Point out the characters' images on products in the store, and ask them if they're more inclined to want things because of it. Why do we like to show off our preferences with the items we use or buy?
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