Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow parents guide

Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow Parent Guide

A case only an arachnid could solve.

Overall C

Theaters: Inspector Sun, a spider with a successful detective career, decides to take a vacation to begin his retirement. But on board a luxury plane, a millionaire is murdered and Sun's skills are needed to solve it.

Release date October 27, 2023

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A
Substance Use B

Why is Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow rated PG? The MPAA rated Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow PG for action and some suggestive material.

Run Time: 88 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Inspector Sun (Ronny Chieng) is a huntsman spider with a successful past as a detective. In this animated film-noir-style whodunnit, Sun and his sidekick Janey (Emily Kleimo), a jumping spider, investigate the murder of Dr. Spindlethorp (Scott Geer), a funnel web spider-scientist who is killed on a trans-Pacific flight from Shanghai to San Francisco. The main suspect? Spindlethorpe’s new bride, the black widow spider Arabella Killtop (Jennifer Childs Greer).

I want to structure this review as a compliment sandwich because there are innocent people who worked on this movie.

Here’s the first compliment: I really liked the sets and costuming, if that’s what you call those in the CGI world.

Here’s the criticism: I have no idea how it got so far into production without someone saying, “Why is this still so bad?”

Y’all, this movie was a draggy, confusing mess. My 9-year-old took breaks from watching it to play with the seat recliner button or ask how long I thought it took them to build the theater. She also pointed out that the title referred to a curse that never surfaced in the story.

The story! The story was all over the place. Inspector Sun was totally disinterested in the investigation, but also never quite caught up with his kid sidekick. I do want to give the writing team the benefit of the doubt, since the movie was originally written and voice-acted in Spanish and I was watching an English dubbed version.

But then crimes started overlapping crimes like scalloped potatoes until I had to ask my nine-year-old to explain what was going on.

“You missed that part where the bad guy escaped because you were knitting,” she whispered.

“But how did he escape the first time?” I said.

“Oh, they didn’t explain that,” she said, calmly eating a handful of popcorn.

Part of what made Jim Henson’s projects so successful was his assumption that kids were sophisticated. (RIP Jim, the Muppets have suffered lately, especially since the Mouse booted Frank Oz from the team.) This movie seems to make the opposite assumption: that kids won’t notice if things don’t make sense.

Believe me, they notice. As a content advisory, they will also notice when a bug gets distended and explodes, and when another superbug villain kills a dog in the luggage hold of the plane.

Here’s my last compliment in the compliment sandwich. This story had potential. I mean, listen to the premise! This could’ve been a great little movie with a diverse cast and a neat film-noir feel, highlighting the intersection between the world of insects and ours.

Instead, we got…this.

Directed by Julio Soto Gurpide. Starring Jesús Barreda, Andrea Villaverde, Catherina Martínez. Running time: 88 minutes. Theatrical release October 27, 2023. Updated

Watch the trailer for Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow

Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow
Rating & Content Info

Why is Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow rated PG? Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow is rated PG by the MPAA for action and some suggestive material.

Violence: There is lots of animated peril, some lethal. A dead, bisected insect is seen. A bug spews acid. There are potentially frightening transformation scenes. Bugs bite humans. Bugs are eaten/spit out by people.
Sexual Content: Married characters kiss.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use:   Insects drink an unidentified liquid which could be alcohol.

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Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow Parents' Guide

Who was the bad guy? Seriously, did you figure it out?
Who killed Inspector Sun’s wife?
Why did the bad guy want to create superbugs?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

If your youngster loves creepy-crawlies and can’t get enough spider tales, there are plenty of great books for them. The obvious place to start is E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, one of the great kids’ stories of friendship and loyalty.

Also time-tested is Be Nice to Spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham, a story set in a zoo. When Helen the spider is banished, the animals become miserable without her insect-eating abilities.

Diary of a Spider, by Doreen Cronin an dillustrated by Harry Bliss, is full of laugh-out-loud jokes for kids as they follow the day-to-day adventures and misadventures of an arachnid. For more eight-legged jokes, your kids can try Spider…The Celebrity, written by S.D. Burke and illustrated by Grace Ji.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

For a more intriguing mystery with a better story, go dust off The Great Mouse Detective on Disney+. This movie from the 1980s is a tight 90 minute yarn with a great voice cast (including Vincent Price, for heaven’s sake!) The ending scene in the clock tower might be a bit intense for very young viewers. But this one is a favorite of mine.

Animal detectives also crack the case in Zootopia, Hoodwinked, and Chip’n Dale: Rescue Rangers.

If you’re looking for a fairly bloodless mystery with a compelling first-person narrator, watch Enola Holmes and Enola Holmes 2 on Netflix. If you have tweens or teens who watched Millie Bobbie Brown in Stranger Things, I think you owe it to them to see her like this: articulate, funny, and free of constant nosebleeds.