As Marvel fans, we’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment over the last decade with introducing our kids to these stories; first watching at home, then as they got older, seeing them in theatres and witnessing them flip out with giddy excitement at character reveals and plot twists. But recently we realized: we’ve never watched all of them as a family, and certainly not in release order. And that’s left some gaps in their understanding of the relationships between all these heroes.
Thus, as a family, we pledged to embark upon an epic MCU rewatch before we see Avengers: Endgame in the theatre, and answer the all-important question: should you watch these with your kids?
ICYMI: read our thoughts on Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, Ant-Man, The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Doctor Strange (2016)
Following the shattering events of Captain America: Civil War, Marvel returns to form with another standalone origin story, but one that’s much more closely tied in to the larger Infinity Stones arc, and is an essential piece of the overall story leading up to Avengers: Endgame.
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an arrogant and brilliant neurosurgeon. After a devastating car accident badly damages his hands, he’s unable to operate; he desperately pursues experimental and risky procedures in an effort to repair his hands, nearly bankrupting himself, but to no avail.
At the end of his rope, Strange follows a mysterious tip from a former paraplegic and travels across the world to seek out Kamar-Taj, in the hopes that the practitioners of ancient and mystic arts who reside within the enclave can heal him. There, he meets The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who reveals to him the existence of other dimensions and realms. Enthralled with this new knowledge, Strange has found a new purpose; and The Ancient One reluctantly agrees to train him in the mystic arts.
During his studies, Strange learns from Wong (Benedict Wong), the librarian at Kamar-Taj, that there are three Sanctums protecting the earth from threats from other dimensions; and numerous powerful artifacts within them, such as the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto, which allows the bearer to manipulate time. Spoiler: Yep, it’s the Time Stone!
But there are dangerous temptations in mastering the mystic arts; a former pupil of The Ancient One named Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and his followers stole a spell from Kamar-Taj that allows them to contact Dormammu in the Dark Dimension, and they plan to let Dormammu consume Earth in exchange for eternal life. Guess who’s going to have to find a way to stop them!
With its trippy visual effects and charming deadpan humour, Doctor Strange is a perfect palate cleanser after the angsty infighting of Captain America: Civil War, and it nicely and neatly sets up critical characters and events leading up to Avengers: Infinity War. By now, we’ve met nearly all the main players, and have seen all but one of the Infinity Stones.
So, should you watch it with your kids? I’d say yes; although some parts can get a bit scary or spooky, overall it’s a fun ride, with amazing visuals as well.
Bottom line: It’s a critical part of the Infinity Stones arc and shouldn’t be missed. Blow the $5 and rent it on iTunes or wherever you stream movies.