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?
The Avengers (2012)
Finally, the money shot we’ve been waiting for. After so many origin stories, we get the full team together in one movie. And what a movie! I don’t mean to dork out here, but this has everything: epic battles with space aliens, hand-to-hand combat in close quarters, and of course, our beloved heroes all meeting each other for the first time and working together to defeat a common enemy.
In a remote research facility, Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) is working with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and SHIELD to unlock the mysteries of the Tesseract. The facility starts evacuating when the cube starts giving off unusual energy readings. A wormhole opens, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) appears, having been sent by a mysterious alien (whom we now know to be Thanos) to retrieve the Tesseract. He enslaves Selvig and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and escapes.
This prompts Fury to restart the Avengers Initiative. Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) is tasked with tracking down and bringing in Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo); Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) brings Selvig’s research to Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr); Fury approaches Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) to stop Loki; and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) arrives on the scene shortly after, on the hunt for his brother Loki.
Somehow, Fury has to wrangle all these individual heroes with their own ideas and some massively inflated egos into a cohesive team in order to stop Loki. Although they initially spend more time arguing with each other than anything else, the Avengers eventually come together just in time to battle the Chitauri as they attack New York. The battle scenes are epic; I had forgotten how high the presumed body count was in this movie.
So, should you watch it with your kids? Definitely yes, with the caveat that while it’s not gory, there is onscreen death including a major character. They might get fidgety during some of the expository dialogue but there’s enough action here to win their attention back.
Bottom line: A classic, and unmissable. The final battle in particular lays important groundwork for future films. It totally holds up over time. Watch it and enjoy all over again!