The Top 10 Super Hero Movies to Experience with Your Kids (Part 1: #10-8)
We are currently living in the Golden Age of super hero and comic book films, and fortunately for parents, the majority of them are family friendly! With so many to choose from, it may be helpful to take a look at which films are the best for you and your kids to watch together. That’s why I’ve put together a list of ten of the best super hero films to watch as a family.
As you read this list, you may see some glaring omissions from YOUR personal Top 10 list. The Dark Knight, Logan, Deadpool, and even Captain America: The Winter Soldier are not on this list. Those titles will be in a future Top 10 list (perhaps my personal favorites or films to watch with older kids), but many of them aren’t appropriate for younger age super hero fans. Even though there are a good amount of films on this list that are PG-13, not all PG-13 films are created equally (for example, the type of violence in Winter Soldier or Dark Knight is considerably more brutal than that in Spider-Man: Homecoming).
There are also some favorites that I left off of this list because the films on this list have life lessons and topics in which you and your children can talk about. While I wanted to put Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman on the list, for its mix of noir and camp makes for a wonderfully entertaining time, there really aren’t any great messages that can be used to teach your kids any life lessons.
You will also probably notice that this list is VERY MCU heavy. While I grew up a DC Comics kid, it’s hard to argue that the MCU films have done a better job creating films for all ages.
So, with that said, here’s my Top 10 Best Super Hero Movies to Experience with your Kids:
#10: Black Panther
I almost left this movie off of the list due to some very intense scenes that may not be appropriate for younger viewers (and some of the themes may be better as discussion topics for older kids), but there are too many great conversation starters to talk with your kids to leave it off. While the headlines during this film’s released focused on the primarily African American cast and crew, one of the film’s greatest strengths is the screenplay and the motivations of the central characters of the story.
The kingdom of Wakanda is the most technologically advanced society in the world, and in its drive for self-preservation, they did all they could to remain hidden and secluded from the rest of the world. While this allowed the kingdom to grow, the resources that it kept to itself could’ve been shared with the rest of the world and help those in need. In an age where nationalism vs. globalism is front and center in many political discussions, this film can be used as a jumping-off point to talk with your kids about whether or not it is better to be focused on just your own community or be thinking on a larger scale. Is the world better off if you help others that are outside of your community?
#9: Thor: Ragnarok
I grew up watching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and collecting all of the toys. The barbarian-meets-space-odyssey motif was a peanut-butter-and-chocolate-esque con for five-year-old me, and it is still fun for me to this day. Sadly, there was never a theatrical film that properly used the He-Man IP the way it should’ve been used (the Dolph Lungren-led film from the late 80’s where He-Man comes to Earth for…reasons was, um….yeah, not good).
While Thor: Ragnarok isn’t technically a He-Man film, it might as well have been, for the mix of Norse gods and space battles made my inner-child emerge when I was watching this movie. It is also a hilarious film, where the jokes don’t feel out of place or take away from any genuinely great moments.
The dramatic moments aren’t nearly as deep as the ones in Black Panther, but the theme of redemption is one that would be a great one to talk about with your kids. When somebody has made a mistake (or several mistakes), should we give them the opportunity to redeem themselves, and what are the challenges that go into forgiving someone for what they have done in the past?
#8: Marvel’s The Avengers
It’s strange to think that not too long ago it was considered a major risk to have multiple franchise-leading characters in one film. The idea of having SIX top-billing characters together in the first Avengers film seemed like an incredible gamble, for it was uncertain if having so many big names in one movie would get too convoluted and crowded. It turns out, not only can having a super hero team-up movie be a lot of fun and profitable, it could be done with even MORE characters (as long as you had the right crew putting the story together), and create iconic moments in film history.
What makes The Avengers work so well as a movie is how vastly different they are, but their differences end up what makes them an incredible team. Have your kids think about the different types of teams or groups of people that they are associated with. Whether it’s a sports team, their class, or their closest friends, talk about what the make-up is of those groups are like and see how having a variety of personalities and skill sets makes that team better than if everyone was exactly the same.
Come back for Part 2, where we take a look at #7-4 on the list!
Originally published April 21, 2019