The world is in the middle of a superhero lovefest, and it seems each year we are offered at least four new super stories (or sequels ... or sagas).
That being said, it can be hard to figure out the good ones from the duds, especially when we’re trying to find one that will suit the whole family and maybe even teach us something important along the way.
So, if you grimace every time iron-man Tony Stark uses another sexual innuendo, or are uncertain if your kids should see the latest Wolverine film, Logan (Hint: Don’t. It’s MA for a reason), here’s my top five picks for superhero films - old and new - that aren’t just entertaining for the whole family, but also reflect godly values.
Currently showing in cinemas:
1. Spider-Man: Homecoming (M) Action violence.
The latest version of Spider-Man is the best yet, largely due to the superb acting of 21-year-old Tom Holland as Peter Parker.
While the story is witty and fast-paced, there is an undercurrent of deeper issues explored, including identity, belonging, morality and what it truly means to make a difference.
Unlike many of its counterparts, Spider-Man: Homecoming also explores the abuse of power by the privileged, biracial relationships and schoolyard bullying. For the most, this steers clear of language and sexual themes of the genre, and young people instantly feel camaraderie with a superhero who is just like them.
2. Wonder Woman (M) Mature themes and action violence.
The world’s been waiting for a strong, female hero, and DC Comics finally delivers with the release of Wonder Woman. Best suited to older kids due to mystical themes and war violence, the lead character is smart, capable and confident in her own self worth.
Salvation Army founder Catherine Booth pushed the gender norms of her time by partnering with her husband William in leadership, and in this film we see Diana Prince take the same stand for equality in an early 20th-century society.
If you want to inspire your family to question the status quo, help the down and out and champion the people around them, this is your go-to choice.
Fims available on DVD:
3. Ant-Man (PG) Mild science fiction violence and coarse language.
While Ant-Man is less well known than his colleagues in The Avengers, this origin story is a light-hearted adventure, which delves into important themes about growing up.
Paul Rudd plays master thief Scott Lang, who has just been released from prison, portraying his struggle to put aside his ego for the people he loves.
The lead character can be a little crass, however the redemptive storyline, along with the superb special effects, make it worth your time. Kids will love Ant-Man, and adults will value the depiction of family-relationship in this flick.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy (M) Science fiction themes and violence.
Arguably the most fun of all the Marvel films, this fantastical outer-space adventure is filled with nostalgia.
Based around the story of Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt), a known scavenger who will do anything to get by, it explores the redemptive power of community when he teams up with a misfit group of fellow criminals.
A little cheeky, very quirky and with an ending that encapsulates self-sacrifice, you’ll be hard pressed to find a member of your family who doesn’t like this.
It’s worth noting that Pratt is also a committed Christian in real life, which makes for a great discussion point with the family once the credits stop rolling.
5. The Avengers (M) Action violence.
A plot based around no less than seven superheroes could have gone horribly wrong, but The Avengers shows that good characters played by great actors and a decent storyline makes for an entertaining and compelling film.
When heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Thor are brought together to stop Thor’s evil brother Loki from taking over the earth, they must put aside their differences and egos.
It’s delightfully predictable and the mish-mash of characters means what would normally be filled with questionable language and mature themes is a lot more family friendly. The value of teamwork, self-sacrifice and appreciating our differences all come to the fore, but be wary of the action violence for young kids.