There’s only one wide release this week, but it’s probably one your kids will want to see: Captain America: Civil War. Is it too violent for the little ones? Christy Lemire gives us the lowdown.
NEW IN THEATERS
Rating: PG-13, for extended sequences of violence, action and mayhem.
The summer movie season officially begins with the arrival of the latest blockbuster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This time, Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) square off over how much autonomy the Avengers should have when so much collateral damage lies in the wake of their good deeds. Their superhero buddies take sides depending on whom they agree with philosophically, with some old friends from previous Marvel movies joining in the mix. Like 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Civil War comes from the brother directing team of Anthony and Joe Russo. And like that previous film (and every other Marvel movie, for that matter), there’s a ton of violence and destruction. But the film also addresses that head-on in a smartly self-referential way. Explosions and extended sequences of hand-to-hand combat abound, as well as the disturbing sight of the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) being activated as a killing machine with specific, sequential code words. This is about on par with all the other Marvel movies in terms of whether it’s appropriate for your kids. If they’ve seen other ones, they should be OK here. I brought my son (who’s 6 ½ and Marvel-savvy, having previously seen Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man) and nothing frightened or disturbed him. And a lot of the dialogue is knowing and playful as the Avengers poke fun at themselves, each other, and pop culture in general. This is probably fine for kids around 8-10 and older.
NEW ON DVD
Rating: PG-13, for brief strong language.
Director and co-writer David O. Russell re–teams with the stars of his Silver Linings Playbook — Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro — to tell the true story of the woman who invented the Miracle Mop. Lawrence stars as Joy Mangano, the struggling single mom who built an entrepreneurial empire by selling her products on television’s QVC. There’s some language here as Joy finds she must stand up for herself both in the face of businessmen trying to steal from her and her own faithless family members. The subject matter and situations here will probably be too complicated for most kids, but they’re harmless. And Lawrence, in a showy role as a smart, determined woman who consistently fights to protect her ideas and her brand, presents a character who’s a fine role model for young viewers — especially young women. This is probably suitable for kids around age 10 and older.