I published a conventional review of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opens nationwide in the US today, on GeekDad a short time ago. Rather than repeat what’s already there, this article will focus on questions of specific importance to parents who want to know more about the movie before they take their kids to see it, or to help them decide if they should take them in the first place. You may also want to take a look at the many other GeekDad articles about the movie, including interviews with cast and crew. If you have any questions about the movie that aren’t covered here, please leave a comment on this post or tweet at me.
1. Should I take my kids to see it?
Age of Ultron is rated PG-13, as all Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies have been, and with good reason. There is some profanity, and it’s definitely noticeable, but really no worse than your kids are likely to overhear in a mall or a crowded restaurant. There’s some sexual innuendo, roughly on a level with the Iron Man films. There’s plenty of violence, of course, but not a lot of gore – some blood, but only a couple of shots with any kind of detail of anyone’s wounds. There are many, many civilians in peril, including young children. And Ultron is a truly menacing villain.
To sum up: If your kids can handle the first Avengers movie, they can probably handle this just fine. If they can handle Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they can certainly handle Age of Ultron, no question. I had no reservations about taking my 12-year-old daughter to see it – she’s seen every other Marvel movie, and handled them all very well – and she loved every minute of it. She did hold onto my arm a bit during some of the more tense scenes, but she never got really upset.
2. Do we need to have seen the previous Marvel movies to understand what’s going on?
You don’t have to have seen all of them, but I strongly recommend viewing at least the first Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier before seeing Age of Ultron. Even better would be also viewing Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, but those are slightly less important to this film’s plot. If you watch the TV series Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, I recommend catching up to the most recent episode (the one that aired on April 28) before going to see Age of Ultron; if you don’t watch the show, you should start watching immediately (not because you need to to understand the movie, but because you’re missing some great TV).
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has said that they try to make each movie self-contained to the point where you don’t have to have seen any of the previous ones to enjoy it. The sequels seem not to be that way as much, though, and I definitely would not advise seeing Age of Ultron without any prior experience of the MCU movies.
3. When’s the best time for a restroom break?
Probably the best time is when the team goes to a previously-unseen location for a while, after the battle between Hulk and the Hulkbuster Iron Man (the one that’s in all the trailers). Saying anything more to describe it would require spoilers.
4. Is it worth paying more for 3D? How about IMAX?
No, on both counts. I’ve now seen the film twice in 2D, and I’ve discussed it with several people whose opinions I trust who saw it in 3D, and have been told by all that the 3D really doesn’t add anything. And, while I’m sure it’s pretty cool to see Age of Ultron on an IMAX screen, it was pretty engrossing in 2D on a regular screen, so if I were you I’d save my money.
5. Do I need to sit through the end credits for a bonus scene at the end?
There is a very brief mid-credits scene, but, as Feige and director Joss Whedon have said several times now, there is no end-credits scene. They weren’t kidding; I wouldn’t lie to you.
6. How much of the movie is spent setting up future MCU films?
Honestly, more than I would have preferred, but Whedon is such a skilled director that he mostly manages to make it not seem overt. I think, after seeing it twice, there are four future MCU films set up in Age of Ultron: Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and of course Avengers: Infinity War (Part I).
7. Will my kids and I want to see it again?
If your family is anything like mine, yes, absolutely. I’ve now seen it twice, and still felt as soon as it was over the second time that I would like to see it again pretty much immediately. My wife and kids, who saw it for the first time last night, have been very enthusiastic about the movie, and my kids have already asked when we can go see it again.
The press trip I went on to L.A. for Avengers: Age of Ultron was paid for by Disney. All opinions expressed here are my own.