Last night my husband, our teenager and I went to see the long-anticipated Avengers Infinity War. We are big Marvel fans in our house (especially them, but I DO enjoy the movies a lot!), and we were excited to see it. Going in, I had a vague idea that the movie was going to be dark (POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD), but as I had never considered taking my younger children, ages eleven and seven, I wasn’t worried about it. My eleven-year-old daughter has seen some of the Avengers movies but isn’t SO into them that she would want to see this; my seven-year-old simply isn’t old enough for a PG-13 movie, and definitely not THIS one. But I’ll get to that in a minute as this Avengers Infinity War review gets going.
Now, let me say that my ten-year-old cousin also attended this movie with us (and his parents), and I think it was appropriate for him to do so. He and his dad are very into Marvel, spend time each week at the comic book store, and have a vested knowledge of ALL the Marvel storylines. In addition, his dad is very good about talking with him and taking time to discuss the ins and out of plot lines. This child has a good knowledge of what is reality and what is fantasy. He loves his Marvel characters, but he also knows he’s NOT going to be Spiderman when he grows up. I say all that to say, all ten-year-olds are NOT created equal. When my son, now fourteen, was ten, he would have been far too emotionally SENSITIVE to see this movie. As parents, you need to really think about what your kids can and cannot handle. Some Avengers movies are all fun and games, even in heavier moments, compared to this one. This one is really just NOT fun. Or games. It’s WAR.
Ok, now we’re getting into the nitty gritty. If you want ABSOLUTELY ZERO SPOILERS, skip to the part below that says “RECOMMENDATIONS” in italics and bold!
Avengers Infinity War Review for Parents
As I was preparing to write this Avengers Infinity War Review, I came across a review from children’s pastor Evan Weppler on Facebook. He’s a guy who, according to his Facebook post, loves the Avengers and was already preparing to see the movie again the next day because he loved it so much. BUT, as he is in children’s ministry, he had some serious cautions for parents. As his full-time job is shepherding and guiding young children’s hearts, I was very interested to read his note to parents, and I found that it hit the nail on the head, so I’m going to quote him heavily. Weppler begins:
Parents, I encourage you to think carefully before taking your kids to see “Avengers: Infinity War.”
I will NOT give details of events in this post, but I will write about the end of the film so this has POTENTIAL spoilers. As someone who HATES spoilers, I understand if you want to avoid this, but as someone who works with kids, I need to write this. If you want to skip to my RECOMMENDATIONS at the end, please feel free do.
I have never written this type of warning before, so I hope you take my words to light. I love movies and believe that most films, from action to comedy to dark drama and more, can contain great beauty, tell compelling stories. This movie is excellent, contains many exciting moments and keeps you pulled in the whole time. No doubt you, and your kids, are excited to see this movie. Please keep reading.
The film ends with a very somber, very serious, very sorrowful, very troubling conclusion. This is a two-part film, so there is hope for the future; but if this film had another tagline, I’d say it would be “Hope Destroyed.” I believe there are many situations that might never be remedied. (POTENTIAL SPOILER) More than half of main characters are dead at the end of this film. This was expected, but it was very hard to watch. Personally, I felt crushed. If your child has a favorite character, loves a specific hero, and gets emotionally invested in their stories, this could be heartbreaking.
Parents, I am with Weppler here. I KNEW this was going to not be the feel-good movie of the century, but even so, I left the theater feeling CRUSHED. If your child has recently suffered loss of a loved one, has had childhood trauma or a serious illness, I would not take them to see this film — there is a devastating amount of loss that is difficult and overwhelming when projected on a giant screen. Again, you know your child best. Some should not see this film for a few years, and some simply need to wait to see it on a smaller screen, in the emotional safety of their homes. Weppler continues:
As is typical for an action movie, there is violence. But we often ignore that or tell kids to look away. (POTENTIAL SPOILER) The deaths at the end of the film are not violent, but could be extremely frightening, disturbing, and tough for tender-hearted kids. People disintegrate slowly before your eyes. And they feel it happening. And people who care about these people witness it happening. The filmmakers have made a very powerful film with an unforgettable ending. It brings to mind the pain of losing someone to disease or cancer, the helplessness of living in a world filled with death, one’s inability to do anything. As a Christian, it even stirred within me a yearning for the souls of those who do not know Christ—and will face death apart from Him. As an adult, I could process all of this. But children… many might not be able to handle such loss.
I did see some kids in the theater, and as we left, some seemed fine—and others seemed weighted down. As a parent, you know your child best. You know how they process things. You know what inspires nightmares or brings tears. You know what movies they can get through—and should know where to draw the line. In wisdom, most parents keep their kids away from scenes filled with sex, violence, or language—but this is a unique situation. How will your child handle death at this level?
Of course, it’s all pretend—to us, that is. But many kids still accept fantasy into their reality—whether on a mental, emotional or heart level. This could be very difficult.
Again, Weppler stresses that YOU most likely know what your own kids can handle, but I encourage you to REALLY THINK ABOUT IT, and honestly – go see this yourself FIRST before taking them. Weppler makes some similar recommendations and I am in total agreement with him. He finishes up by laying out these recommendations for the parents he knows.
RECOMMENDATIONS (NO SPOILERS)
– I believe that MOST Elementary age kids and younger might not do well with the finale—possibly some young middle schoolers.
– PLEASE see the movie by yourself first, or with other adults who know your child. Discuss whether this would be best for them.
– READ reviews online from Christian organizations (Plugged In) or other family focused groups
– If you WILL see it with your kids, see it EARLY in the day. If this is the last thing your child sees before bed, sleep might be hard.
– If you WILL see it with your kids, PREPARE them ahead of time. Tell them that people will die—and that they can tell you at any point in the movie if they want to look away, to sit with you, or even to leave the theater that you will be there for them.
– If you WILL see it with your kids, TALK about it afterwards. Ask them questions. Remind them that even when things are frightening, God is in control. This is a movie where God does not play a role—we do not live in this universe, because our God is real and alive and powerful and cares for all His children. Thanos’ beliefs about death and keeping the universe balanced are not true. Thanos sacrifices others to bring His plan to fruition—God Himself came to save us. The theme and mood of this film is reminiscent of Good Friday—however, we don’t know what the next film holds. We DO know that Jesus died and rose again—and through Him we can live forever. “Therefore, since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity, so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Hebrews 2:14-15
– If you WILL see it with your kids, CONSIDER telling them ahead of time the characters that will die. I know this doesn’t make sense in a spoiler-cautious culture, but what matters more—a spoiler or your child’s heart?
– If you decide NOT to see it with your kids, EXPLAIN why. You could give spoilers, specific reasons, or just tell them that they are not ready for it. They will likely hear about this ending at school or elsewhere—people will be talking about this for years.
– If you decide NOT to see it with your kids, go WATCH another fun movie. There are plenty of fun Marvel movies, other kid-friendly films, a great superhero film “The Incredibles” (our VBS Theme!)
– If you decide NOT to see it, consider watching it at HOME when it comes out on DVD and digital download in a few months. Then you can skip or fast forward through scenes.
– If you decide NOT to see it, DON’T go tell other parents what they should or shouldn’t do—but if you feel compelled to share this post or talk with other parents about your concerns, please do.
This was on my heart as the movie ended. I hope no one is angry about me for sharing details, but I believed this was important enough to share. If you do make comments below, do not give specific spoilers away. I will likely delete them if I see them.
It truly is an excellent movie. I will see it again Saturday and may change some notes on this post. I have no doubt people will remember this film for a while. But if your child has to wait to see it at home or when they are older—I think it’s worth the wait. Just my thoughts.
Ok, parents – NOW YOU KNOW! Go forth and enjoy the movie with or without your kids! It was a great movie, but I personally was quite sad a few hours after seeing it, and I’m forty years old. So give a lot of thought to what your kiddo’s emotions CAN and CANNOT handle, and decide what is best BEFORE going to the film.