Friday, April 4th, 2014
By Chelsea P. Gladden, BreezyMama.com
There’s something to be said for getting lost in the fantasy of being a superhero for both young boys and girls alike. And, well, let’s be honest: adults, too. In fact, the recent influx of franchises has been successfully catering to the PG-13+ crowd versus the younger set and Captain America: The Winter Soldier is no exception.
Returning with his shield in hand for this sequel based on Marvel’s 1941 comic book series, Chris Evans is back as the titular character in a film geared more toward the mature audience. That being said, know your child and their tolerance for the darker, scarier moments. Personally, my 8-year-old caped crusader aficionado was by my side and declared, “It was awesome!”
As a fan of The Avengers film that combined Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Captain America into one very entertaining movie, I did have some expectations of the latter’s headlining turn. Though definitely fun, it didn’t quite live up to the 2012 major blockbuster. The special effects are amazing and the action is non-stop, but I did get lost at times trying to follow the plot. However, it was enjoyable overall, including watching Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and the return of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
Starting off where The Avengers movie left off, Captain America finds himself once again trying to adjust to the “modern world” – always making for some amusing jokes. When the S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised, our hero is re-teamed with Scarlett Johansson, reprising her Black Widow role. Though the duo also soon join forces with the welcome addition of Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, the Winter Soldier proves to be a formidable villain.
In fact, there were moments where the new ‘bad guy’ appeared suddenly, which my son and I found startling. “Things were popping out of nowhere”, my son told me afterwards.
“So was it too scary?” I asked him.
“No… I liked it,” was his response.
One particularly intense scene has Samuel L. Jackson’s character blocked in his car by several police vehicles ambushing him with gunfire. Though the bulletproof car temporarily protects him, this was the point when the Winter Soldier appeared that my son noted was particularly “freaky.”
Toward the end, Captain America and the villain are face to face, “in the ship and it was falling,” my son points out, and he got very squirmy during this moment of combat that was another specific point in the film he thought was very scary. But when I wondered if my son would see the movie again he answered, “Yeah… Definitely!”
Speaking of violence, there is quite a bit, including physical fights with characters punching one another, as well as lots of gun shooting. Thankfully, the blood and gore were at a minimum as was the sexually explicit content, with one very mild kiss.
In the end, your budding superheroes ages 8-10 will enjoy the ride as long as they have their brave shields in tact to take on the scarier scenes. Watching with my son was a true treat, making it all the more enjoyable to be lost in the superhero fun.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in theaters everywhere 4/4/14.
Grade on a scale of superhero films: B
Rated PG – 13, 136 minutes. Lots of guns and fighting.
Watch the below sneak peek trailer for a preview on what’s to come and to gauge whether your children are ready for the action:
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Image: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
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Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
This is a guest post by Vinnie Penn, whose show, The Vinnie Penn Project, airs on Connecticut radio station 960/WELI. He’s wondering why his son’s friends prefer villains instead of heroes. Times have changed since Vinnie was a kid, and it looks like not everyone wants to be the good guy anymore.
My 6-year-old son came home from school in a bad mood one day. This is not commonplace. It seems he and his friends were playing “The Avengers” during recess and he didn’t get to be Hawkeye, his favorite superhero in the group. (“The Avengers” was the game du jour for the majority of the Fall of 2012, thanks to the blockbuster summer film based on the much-loved Marvel Comic series.) He was relegated to Thor, which you’d think would be considered a score, what with this particular character having a franchise all his own, and even a sequel due this coming Fall. But, no, my son prefers the archer Hawkeye, a hero with zero super-powers, just a sharp eye and an arrow for every occasion. He kept getting bounced between Thor and Hulk, both dead last picks on this elementary school playground, Iron Man, Captain America and Hawkeye being the most-coveted. With – get this – villain Loki right up there with that trio.
By Spring 2013 life got better at school. My little guy came home beaming one day that he “got to be” Luke Skywalker during recess. (The whole thing begs the question of who was doling out the roles; what is the process – could it be the time-honored rock, paper, scissor? I never inquired.) I suggested maybe he landed the plum gig of Luke because that’s his name. He shook his head no, still waving an imaginary light-saber, off, ostensibly, to destroy the Death Star. As of a few weeks ago he was Batman almost every day for a stretch, opting for Robin one day just to mix things up. Life was good.
Then, one night at dinner, he brought up Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Recess again; he was curious as to why any of his classmates would want to be the bad guy at all, basically inferring that being the bad guy was the stuff of short straw-drawing. “Daddy,” he began, “how come they all fought over who got to be Darth Vader?” I suggested it could perhaps be the voice, the “I am your father,” and so on and so forth. But when he pressed, moving on to The Joker, Batman’s ultimate nemesis, and wondering why everyone wanted to be him – “Even Matthew!!” – I drew a real blank. The Joker of my youth bordered on buffoon and got very little screen time. Today’s Joker is, arguably, the star of the show. In the Tim Burton film version Jack Nicholson is billed before Michael Keaton, the former playing the villain and the latter the hero! When did the villain become the star?
“They all say The Joker’s cool,” my Luke added, incredulous. He went on: “I’m like, cool? He’s the bad guy!” Then, after a pause, a gulp of milk, a bit of thought, he said softly, “But whatever. I love being Batman.” He’s a rare breed nowadays, I thought to myself. Not necessarily my son – the hero.
Image: boy in superhero costume, via Shutterstock
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