Captain Marvel Parent Guide
A perfectly decent popcorn flick that combines lots of action with a pounding soundtrack and great special effects.
Parent Movie Review
“You have a mission. Serve well and with honor.” So the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening) that rules the Kree civilization tells Vers (Brie Larson), a young fighter who is anxious to prove herself. Vers is a powerful combatant, but shadows of a past life she can’t remember haunt her dreams and she struggles to control her feelings.
Vers’ commanding officer (Jude Law) includes her on their next mission which involves extracting a spy from a dangerous planet. But the mission is a set-up, the team is ambushed, and Vers is abducted by the Skrull – shapeshifting aliens at war with the Kree. Her kidnappers try to forcibly extract memories from her brain. Although they don’t get the information they are looking for, the memories start coming back, bringing emotions with them. And that unleashes Vers’ powers. Laying waste to much of the crew, Vers escapes from the ship and lands on earth in 1995. Vers knows that the Skrull are looking for someone in her past and she races to find her before the aliens do. But when your opponent can assume anyone’s appearance, who can you trust?
As superhero movies go, Captain Marvel has a pretty decent (if somewhat predictable) story. It’s a bit tedious at the start with ponderous, stilted dialogue but once the characters go on the move the story picks up, and it kicks into high gear when the action reaches earth. Fans of superhero movies will get their money’s worth with the film’s fast-paced action sequences and flawless CGI. Devotees of the Marvel Comic Universe will enjoy the introduction of Captain Marvel and her powers - flight, super strength, and the ability to absorb and manipulate energy, including blasting photons from her hands. (I thought it got a bit silly when she started flying through space and wrecking spaceships with her bare hands, but action fans will likely beg to differ.) And hardcore MCU fans who have watched all 19 of the other movies will get a kick out of seeing Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) in a prequel setting – and finding out how Nick Fury winds up with an eye patch.
As for content, parents will be pleased with the virtually non-existent swearing, drinking, and sexual content. The downside is that is because the film is chock-full of violence. Captain Marvel is basically an uninterrupted two hours of fighting, shooting, and blasting, with brief pauses for dialogue, the occasional joke, and (possibly) for the actors to take a breather. We see fistfights on a moving train, on spaceships, and even in outer space. Characters shoot at each other with guns and blast one another with photon weapons. Cars collide, planes and spaceships crash, and alien vessels explode. Given the level of violence in this movie, the PG-13 rating is merited and we do not encourage parents to take younger children to watch it.
Violence aside, the movie does provide some food for thought for teen viewers. As Vers slowly recovers her human memories, she has to fight to reclaim her true identity as Carol Danvers. And she also faces a significant moral dilemma as she tries to figure out whose side she is on in the long running intergalactic war. Hopefully, teen moviegoers will decide that real power comes from taking a stand on the right side and not just from firing photon blasts at one’s enemies.Directed by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck. Starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn. Running time: 124 minutes. Theatrical release March 8, 2019. Updated March 11, 2019
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Captain Marvel rated PG-13? Captain Marvel is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language
Violence: This movie contains non-stop science fiction violence. There are numerous fights involving punching, kicking, throwing, and martial arts maneuvers. Some of these fights occur in spaceships, but several occur on earth, including an extended scene on a city train. Major injuries are not seen, but some blood (red or blue) is shown. A character receives an injury to his eye, which he subsequently loses and covers with a patch. There are gun battles and many people are shot, although blood is rarely shown. We see aerial dogfights and battles in space. Cars, planes, and spaceships crash and sometimes explode. A woman deliberately shoots at a plane’s engine, which explodes. Flashback memories show a child crashing a go-kart due to reckless driving. Another memory shows a woman being bullied by male colleagues. A woman repeatedly fires photon blasts from her hands, killing numerous aliens. On one occasion, she blasts through the bulkhead of a ship; aliens on the ship are sucked into space. A woman is shocked by electricity. A character throws an alien out of an escape pod. We see a morgue where a doctor is conducting an autopsy on an alien whose torso has been cut open. A woman is restrained by an energy field – she frees herself and sends an energy blast against her captors. A person uses photon blasts to blow up a jukebox and to blow a hole through a door. An animal extrudes tentacles which harm aliens. An alien is shot in front of his child. A woman falls from a spaceship. A character punches her way through a spaceship, destroying it.
Sexual Content: After an alien autopsy, two men lift up the sheet over the alien’s pelvis and comment on what they see – no detail is given.
Profanity: There are fewer than 10 swear words, primarily scatological terms and anatomical expressions plus one term of deity. A man makes a crude joke based on a slang term for male genitalia.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There is minor social drinking in two scenes.
Page last updated March 11, 2019
Captain Marvel Parents' Guide
Refugees are a central element of this story. There are currently 68.5 million refugees in the world, mostly displaced by war. Do you know where they go when they are seeking a safe place to live? What obligation do other countries have to help those seeking refuge? How can you, like Captain Marvel, help refugees find new homes?
Read books about Captain Marvel
Early readers looking for female-led adventure stories they can read themselves will enjoy Shannon Hale’s The Princess in Black series. Slightly more capable readers will get a kick out of Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series.
Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness begins her series about Alanna of Trebond who switches identities with her brother so she can train as a knight and he can study magic.
Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games series features Katniss Everdeen, forced to fight for her life in the Capitol Games.
In her historical novel, The Edge of the Sword, Rebecca Tingle tells the story of Aethelflaed, a king’s daughter in 9th century England. When war comes, she can’t sit at home but goes out to battle with her people.
Related home video titles:
Wonder Woman is DC Comics’ most powerful female superhero.
In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Michelle Yeoh stars as a female martial arts expert.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec features a turn-of-the-century journalist who has adventures that resemble those of Indiana Jones.
If you’re looking for female action heroes for younger kids, Mulan is a perennial favorite with its tale of a brave young woman who disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place in the army. Brave features a young woman who puts herself in a dangerous situation and needs courage to get out. The Incredibles features an entire family of superheroes – mom, dad, and the kids all fight crime together.