The MCU or Marvel Cinematic Universe is thought, by many, to be one of the most well put together cinematic universes in existence. The films seem to inspire many while they also bring a sense of nostalgia to those who have read the comic books, or watched the cartoons from the 60s to the 90s. As one of those who has read the comic books and watched the cartoons, I remember thinking about how I was going to introduce my son to the MCU. Before continuing, please remember that every child is different and that just because they are not interested or are scared of certain things in the Marvel Universe, that you can always try again later. Now, on with the show.
1) Educate Your KidsThe first thing that you may want to consider is to introduce the characters via the Marvel Encyclopedia. The Marvel Encyclopedia is filled with almost every character ever created by the fine folks at Marvel Comics. Yes the origins are a tad different than those of the MCU, but that is not important now. Right now, you are gauging the interest that your child has in the characters. If you don’t have access to a copy of the Marvel Encyclopedia, log on to marvel.com and explore their entire database of characters.
2) Watch Some CartoonsIf your kids are showing interest in the characters you have showed them in the Marvel Encyclopedia, it’s time to move on to the cartoons. A lot of people will tell you to stick with the 1990s X-Men Cartoons, but the only problem is that they are not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So while I think that the 90s X-Men is a cartoon that all kids should watch, it’s one that should stay on the shelf (just for a bit). The first cartoon I suggest starting the kids on would be Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. This cartoon is probably the best written comic book cartoon in the last 10 years. The show introduces the Avengers one by one and even brings in some characters that we will see in future MCU films. If your kids are still interested in the characters and story lines, it’s time to move on to the Disney line up of cartoons. Personally I would start with Ultimate Spider-Man because honestly, what kid is not going to love Spider-Man. Ultimate Spider-Man is filled with humor and action that will keep your kids interested and will leave them wanting more. With the Disney line up, don’t feel like you have to binge one series before you start the next. I would suggest mixing it up with Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H (also make sure you throw the Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon in there next month).
3) Start the MCUWhen you feel like your kids get the idea of who the characters are, it’s time to dive into the MCU. I suggest going slow because let’s be honest some of the movies are pretty intense. Watch the movies by yourself or with your spouse a few times so you can find the parts that you don’t want your kids to see just yet. I would skip the movies that have a sense of realism to them. I suggest starting with The Avengers. Not only have your kids seen a version of how the Avengers came together, they are not really missing a lot as most of the solo films have some underlying meanings that kids won’t understand just yet.
4) Be Aware
If your kids seem a bit skittish about the aliens/villains in the films, introduce them to some behind the scenes videos via the special features or YouTube. Show your kids that the world of the MCU is movie magic and that their are no such creatures as the Chitauri nor a powerful titan named Thanos.
However you decide to introduce your kids to the MCU, make sure you do it on their terms. Watch the films with your kids and if you see them getting upset or scared, stop the movie and start a conversation. Make the MCU something that they will love and enjoy for the rest of their lives, and make it something that you can share as a family.
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The LEGO Marvel’s Avengers video game is another great way to introduce your kids to the MCU. The game follows the story lines of almost all of Marvel movies up to Ant-Man. If you are worried about the violence and language of the MCU, then LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is a game you should get for your kids.