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?
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Why, Marvel, why? After two slam-dunks with Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers, why return to tell us yet more tales of Tony Stark and his troubles? This whole movie feels like a placeholder, and in particular watching it right after the still-awe-inspiring Avengers is just a big disappointment.
After the events of The Avengers, Tony (Robert Downey, Jr) is struggling with post-traumatic stress and suffering from insomnia and panic attacks. Rather than seek professional help, of course, he ignores the problem and throws himself into his work creating more variations on the Iron Man armour.
Meanwhile, the outside world is being plagued by a series of bombings seemingly masterminded by someone calling himself The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). He orchestrates an attack on Tony’s cliffside Malibu mansion after Tony foolishly gives out his home address to a throng of reporters. Tony barely escapes, and goes into hiding, only telling Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) that he’s still alive.
Through the course of the movie we learn also that another billionaire, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce, chewing up the scenery), has been secretly experimenting on veterans. Administering a serum called Extremis, the treatment – if they survive it – allows them to regenerate and even regrow missing limbs. I won’t spoil anything else, but suffice it to say, the Big Bad must be stopped.
So, should you watch it with your kids? I’d say no. It’s just not very good. Ours were completely bored by it, aside from a couple of scenes of wanton destruction and the big, final battle. Especially right after The Avengers, it feels long, slow, and very very dumb.
Bottom line: Skip it.