Marvel Battleworld: Mystery of the Thanostones

TV review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Marvel Battleworld: Mystery of the Thanostones TV Poster Image
Glorified commercial shorts have a bit of comic book charm.

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Positive Messages

Outside of the main "heroes versus villains" theme, the show also has some focus on courage, perseverance, and working together as a team.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While the show is a light-hearted adventure, the heroes still come across as genuinely good, caring, and heroic. They work together to help others and to save the universe from the schemes and actions of the different villains.

Violence & Scariness

There's some light violence in each episode, mainly consisting of throws, punches, and the occasional laser blast. There's nothing graphic, with much of the violence shown in more of a slapstick manner.

Sexy Stuff

The entire series of shorts is essentially just one big commercial for the Marvel Battleworld tabletop adventure game from Marvel and Funko. Things like random characters trapped in the stones translate to the random character packs available for purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Marvel Battleworld: Mystery of the Thanostones is a series of kids' animated shorts available to watch on the Disney+ streaming service and the Marvel HQ YouTube channel. The series follows a group of Marvel heroes -- including Iron Man and Captain Marvel -- stranded on an alien world as they try to recruit allies to stop the villain Thanos and his minions. Each episode is about three to five minutes in length, and usually pits one or more of the heroes against some foe. There is fighting between characters in the series, but it's generally mild and slapstick in nature, with nothing graphic shown on-screen. Parents should also be aware that the purpose of the series is to serve as a promotion for the Marvel Battleworld collectible tabletop game. Elements of the game feature in the series, essentially advertising the real-world toys.

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What's the story?

Based on the collectible tabletop game from Marvel and Funko, MARVEL BATTLEWORLD: MYSTERY OF THE THANOSTONES is a series of animated shorts. The show brings together heroes from all corners of the Marvel Universe to stop the latest scheme from the cosmic tyrant, Thanos. Using the power of the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos has imprisoned various heroes and villains from across the Multiverse within crystalline "Thanostones," scattering them across a patchwork world of his own twisted creation. Iron Man and Captain Marvel team with some unusual allies in the form of the mighty Throg, Spider-Ham, and Baby Groot, to explore this strange new world, tracking down Thanos and recruiting more allies for the battle to come. Will this ragtag group of heroes be able to put a stop to Thanos' plan? Or will the universe fall to the villain's gauntleted grip?

Is it any good?

Often there's a fine line that exists between a kids' cartoon and blatant commercial. Marvel Battleworld: Mystery of the Thanostone sees that line and then takes a Hulk-sized leap over it. The series does little to explain any real plot outside of a bit basic exposition with Thanos explaining how he devised a plan to trap heroes and villains while taking over their worlds. Taken on its own, it's a convoluted and head-scratching concept. After all, why keep all the captured people in one place? Why not shoot them off into deep space in different directions? Or why bother capturing them at all when Thanos could feasibly just snap them out of existence altogether? It's only after picking up the tabletop game the cartoon is based on that you fill in the gaps and start to realize it all (loosely) ties together.

Rampant commercialism aside, there's actually some fun and charm to be found in each three-to-five-minute episode of Marvel Battleworld. The animation is clean and colorful, and the characters are light-hearted, fun, and fitting to their comic book counterparts. The witty banter and cockiness of Tony Stark is matched by the snarky commentary from Spider-Ham. While the bravado of the Frog of Thunder, Throg, is balanced by the naivety and cuteness of Baby Groot and the sheer power and no-nonsense heroism of Captain Marvel. There are also blink-and-you'll-miss-them cameos by characters like the Thor Corps, Croctor Strange and Captain Americat that are an extra little love letter to comic book fans. Ultimately, while fulfilling its primary purpose of advertising the Marvel Battleworld game, this series of shorts still manages to pack in just enough mayhem to at least pique the interest of fans of the Marvel universe.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the commercialism in Marvel Battleworld: Mystery of the Thanostones. What do you think is the main purpose of the show? What are some ways that cartoons are used to influence kids' purchases? Can television shows based on toys be more than just glorified commercials? What is the impact of advertising on kids?

  • Talk about what defines a hero. What are some of the character strengths that are generally shared in comic book superheroes? How do those traits transfer over to real-world heroes?

  • What role does teamwork play in the show? Can you give any examples of when you've had to demonstrate teamwork in your own life?

TV details

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