Parental Guidance

Don't Be Fooled - Logan Isn't for Kids

by | March 3, 2017 | Comments

Kids who may be familiar with the mostly innocuous X-Men movies up to this point may tug on your sleeve to take them to see Logan. Unfortunately for them, it might just be more than they can handle. Read on for details on Hugh Jackman’s last outing as Wolverine, as well as a YA novel adaptation and a faith-based weepie.


NOW IN THEATERS

 

Logan (2017) 92%

Rating: R, for strong brutal violence and language throughout, and for brief nudity.

Your kids probably really want to see Logan, and who can blame them? It looks awesome, and it is awesome. But it’s also awesomely violent. They really luxuriate in their R-rating here, allowing Hugh Jackman’s title character to make the most of the damage he can do with those Adamantium claws. You would not believe the wide variety of body parts they can pierce in the blink of an eye. This is Jackman’s final outing as the iconic X-Men character, and while director James Mangold’s film is tinged with a gritty melancholy, it’s also repeatedly, explosively thrilling. An ailing Logan wants to leave the drama of his life as Wolverine behind, but he gets dragged back into action when he’s asked to care for a little girl (Dafne Keen) with whom he’s got a surprising amount in common. Young viewers may ask if they can see this, especially if they’re comic book fans or if they’ve seen previous X-Men movies. Say: “No.” This takes the blood and gore to a whole new level. Teenagers can handle this, but it’s not appropriate for anyone younger.


Before I Fall (2017) 67%

Rating: PG-13, for mature thematic content involving drinking, sexuality, bullying, some violent images, and language — all involving teens.

It’s Groundhog Day meets Heathers in this angsty but well-acted high school drama. Zoey Deutch stars as a popular high school senior who wakes up the morning after a raging party to find she’s living the previous day all over again. Then it happens the next morning, and the next. And it keeps happening, over and over, regardless of the slight tweaks she makes to jar herself loose from this time loop. In the process, she learns to see her mean-girl friends more clearly and treasure what’s truly important in life. Director Ry Russo-Young’s film features a ton of language and frank talk about sex. Teens also get super drunk at the party Deutch’s character and her friends attend, and they bully an awkward girl who shows up uninvited. And there’s a major car accident that serves as an important plot point, which we see again and again from various perspectives. Probably fine for viewers around 13 and older.


The Shack (2017) 21%

Rating: PG-13, for thematic material including some violence.

This weepy religious film is based on a New York Times best seller about a father (Sam Worthington) who goes on a spiritual journey following the tragic loss of his young daughter (Amelie Eve). The little girl is kidnapped and killed during a family camping trip, leaving him bereft and faithless and eroding his relationships with his wife (Radha Mitchell) and two other kids (Megan Charpentier and Gage Munroe). Then one day, a mysterious note in his mailbox leads him back to the scene of the crime – and to an idyllic shack in the woods where he meets God (Octavia Spencer), Jesus (Aviv Alush) and the Holy Spirit (Sumire Matsubara). Thematically alone, this is too much for young viewers to handle. We see visions of the young girl being carried away, and we witness the father’s pain and remorse. There’s also a scene in which another kid nearly drowns and requires CPR. It’s pretty grown-up stuff. And at over two hours, the running time alone will make this a tough sit for kids. I’d say it’s appropriate for viewers around 11 or 12 and older.


NEW ON DVD

 

Doctor Strange (2016) 90%

Rating: PG-13, for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and an intense crash sequence.

Kids around 8 or 10 and older will love this movie, especially if they’re familiar with the Marvel franchise – but they don’t have to be to have a good time. The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe centers on Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a once-brilliant surgeon who suffers a serious car accident and reinvents himself through mysticism and magic. Under the tutelage of the powerful Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), Doctor Strange becomes a warrior in a battle between good and evil that takes place across various dimensions. It’s as trippy as it sounds, with some seriously psychedelic imagery. But Doctor Strange also features the sort of pummeling hand-to-hand combat, weapons play, and urban destruction you’ve come to expect in these effects-laden comic-book blockbusters. The crash that injures Doctor Strange is pretty gnarly. There’s some language but also a cheeky sense of humor throughout. And the ultimate, evil force Strange must face might look too frightening for younger viewers. It’s intense but also a lot of fun.

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