The latest Marvel film from Disney is Captain America: Civil War, and it is rated PG-13. Perhaps you, undoubtedly a responsible parent, are wondering what that rating actually means and if it’s okay for younger kids. You were smart to come here, because being the kind of parent who takes his own children to a PG-13 movie past their bedtimes on a school night, I can break it down for you. I’m just doing my job, folks.
First, consider that all of Marvel’s previous Disney films have also been rated PG-13, and that Captain America: Civil War isn’t necessarily more “adult” than any of the others. There isn’t any overt sexual activity, and the bit of cursing included is well below the F-line. However, the action scenes do feel more gritty, filmed in a style that is fast and breathtaking, which adds a level of realism to them. Plus, the fact that most of the fights are between heroes rather than good vs. evil may send a mixed message and create anxiety for some kids. Seriously, the action scenes are intense, but my boys (ages 10 and 12, respectively) were on the edge of their seats in the best way possible. We all were.
One thing to consider, in terms of easing the effects of violence, is that the inclusion of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) adds an air of levity throughout much of the action—even more than the previous Avengers films. Note, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) is also a big part of the movie, and while he’s fantastic (we can’t wait for his film), nobody is going to accuse him of cracking wise. He’s a bit more focused than that.
Frankly, if there is anything about the film that made my kids uncomfortable it was all of the talking. There’s lots of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not gratuitous by any means, but it can be fairly dry and subtle, moving the story forward with precision and intrigue, and causing my kids to shift in their popcorn-covered seats like they had ants in their pants, which, given the stars of the film, is always a possibility. That said, the dialogue is well written, ties in previous films in a way that doesn’t feel overly recap heavy, and it sets up future stories without a lot of heavy lifting.
But what’s it about? And why are so many other heroes in it if it’s supposed to be Captain America’s film? It’s about a lot of things: relationships, power, consequences, politics, loyalty, family and loss, to name the most obvious, and Captain America (Chris Evans) is at the heart of it all. When you tell a story about someone with all of those things considered, the people in their life are going to play a rather large role, and they do. Wonderfully so.
There are plenty of lessons and takeaways throughout the movie, the best of which are spoiler protected, but if you wondering if you and your kids will have things to talk about, yes, yes you will.
Did my kids like it? They loved it. They fell asleep talking about it, and picked right back up over breakfast.
Were the kids okay with the content in regard to the rating? Yes. For perspective, there is no way that they would ever be allowed to watch Deadpool (which I loved) because it is rated R, deservedly so. Captain America: Civil War does not come close to that.
Is the movie good? It’s super good! I would put it in my top three Marvel films for sure, but I’m still digesting that. I’ll need to see it again to really decide.
Is there anything after the credits? Yes. There is one scene midway through the credits and one at the very end. That’s what Marvel does, you know that.
Captain America: Civil War is now playing. It’s good fun.
For another parent's perspective, check out this week's Mom's Movie Minute.