What age is appropriate to see ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier?’

Both of my oldest kids wanted to see the new Captain America movie, which opened on Friday. Rose is days from being 13 and Walsh is about a month from turning 11.  “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”  is rated PG-13.

I knew there was no chance I was taking my 7 year-old to see the movie, but I thought it would be OK for my older kids because I had seen the first Captain America movie and the first Avengers and I didn’t think they were overly violent. My 10-year-old has seen about three super hero movies like this in a theater.

There was very little blood, and I do think they made a very conscious effort to not have blood spurting when people were shot or dying. They also did not show people being shot in the head or face up close, and I don’t really think they showed much of the bullets entering anyone – you just heard the noise and saw people drop.

However, there was lots and lots and lots and lots of shooting and lots and lots and lots of guns – handguns, machine guns, turrets on planes, etc….

There also was a lot of hand-to-hand combat in the form of ninja-style karate fight scenes.

There were multiple moments when you were surprised and it was also intense in some scenes.

I kept asking my son if was bothered and he said it was fine.

There was only one point where I instinctively reached over and covered his eyes, and it was when they were electro-shocking someone. I thought that was too graphic. They also have an operation scene that was pretty graphic as well.

This is what Common Sense Media had to say about the new movie:

“Parents need to know that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the second Captain America movie in the Avengers franchise. This one focuses more on character, and on the themes of military paranoia, but still features heavy fantasy fighting, with shooting and punching, as well as some blood and death. Sex is not an issue, though there’s some commentary about Cap’s nonexistent dating life, and he shares a strategic kiss with Black Widow. Language is minor, but some strong words can be somewhat heard during noisy battle sequences. Like the other superhero movies in this series, this one is marketed with toys, games, and other paraphernalia that younger kids might be clamoring for.”

Common Sense Media and the parents rating it said the appropriate age was 13. The kids rating it said 10.

The first Captain America movie was rated for age 11 and Spider Man 2 was rated for age 11 but the First Avengers was rated for age 13.

I think my two oldest were OK. I definitely would NOT have taken my 7 year-old and would not take anyone younger than 10 or 11.  (There were probably kids as young as 5 in our 2 p.m. showing.)

What did you think? What age do you think is appropriate to see it? Did you fight it graphically violent? Do you think the scenes were too intense? Did you feel like I did that they were very consciously not showing blood or the moment of impact when people were shot?

28 comments Add your comment


April 7th, 2014
6:47 am

If you have to ask the question, the movie is inappropriate for pre-teens.


April 7th, 2014
7:02 am

I think the answer to this is dependent upon the individual maturity level of each child. I don’t know if your kids play PS3 or X-Box or, if so, what games are allowed, but there are plently of these where the level of violence is far greater than what you described in the movie.


April 7th, 2014
7:16 am

My neighbor took their 7 year old to see it with his cousins. They all said it was great. I have not seen it yet but will be taking my (almost) 12 yo at some point.

I actually find “conscious effort to not have blood spurting when people were shot or dying” and “don’t really think they showed much of the bullets entering anyone – you just heard the noise and saw people drop.” to be disturbing….I am not a big gore fan but not seeing some effects of the shooting is not unlike Wiley Coyote popping up after an anvil falls on his head. It is just not logical or what happens in life. Kids watching these movies may need to understand that too.

My gut says anyone taking their child to an action flick….especially one based on Marvel Comics should expect to see some violence. Unless of course they are recreating the 60’s Batman show, where all violence was in cartoon “Pow” format.

As always the age in which something is appropriate for your child is directly dependent on the parent. I have no issue with Lili not going, might have done the same with mine….but then I have no issue with my neighbor taking his son to see it at Lili’s age either.


April 7th, 2014
7:18 am

one more note on the illogical happenings when someone is killed in these movies…..”Tahiti is a magical place”

Blue Fish in a Red Lake

April 7th, 2014
7:54 am

The kids (11 & 9) were away at camp, but having now seen it myself, I would have been OK with them going. They both love a good hero romp and have seen several PG 13 movies before. (They loved The Avengers!) It’s harder to make the call before seeing it yourself, even using the advice found at Common Sense. Overall I’d say Marvel is building a world that is fairly friendly for families with tween+ kids to join in on. We’ll probably rent it and have a family movie night when it’s out on cable/DVD.

Sk8ing Momma

April 7th, 2014
8:04 am

Visit http://www.pluggedin.com to get a *detailed* review. You’ll be able to make an informed decision based on your standards. :)


April 7th, 2014
9:09 am

We took our 9 yo daughter to see it yesterday and she loved it. She also loved The Avengers, All the Spidermans, and Iron Man is her favorite. When I see a movie is PG-13, I look to see why. If it’s just violence then we are good to go because she watches the news and lets face it..sometimes the news is bloodier than movies and that stuff is real. My husband and I are both gamers and so is my daughter. Heck they kill stuff in Mine Craft and half the kids I know play that. That being said, we still try to avoid anything overly sexual.


April 7th, 2014
9:14 am

I suspect that there’s more violence in his video games that there was on the big screen. :-)


April 7th, 2014
10:17 am

You may be guilty of helicopter parenting again if you “kept asking” if your son was OK. I’d have told you, I’ll let you know Mom!

Saw Muppets Most Wanted this weekend: “Cameos” don’t matter to our kids – they have no idea who these people are. At the same time, I didn’t know all the people because I’m too old.

I was surprised to see a trailer for “Maleficent” before this movie. I’m pretty sure we’re looking for a different audience for that one. It seemed a bit much for the child screaming behind me.


April 7th, 2014
10:46 am

I guess I’m a little liberal with the rating system in place. Looking back I enjoyed Grimlins and Bad News Bears as a pretty small kid. I wasn’t damaged….these days both of those movies would carry a PG-13.

To sum up my point, I’ve taking my son to (or rented) all of the “Avengers” movies including their member films. He’s 7 now. My guess is that I showed him the first Iron Man when he was four.

That cartoonish violence doesn’t bother him, and I have no fears of him becoming a socieopath. He’s caring and almost completely void of aggression (I don’t state that last point as a good thing).

Me 2

April 7th, 2014
10:56 am

Took my 13 yr old and his friend. Depending on the maturity of the 7 yr old, she would’ve been fine. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Not a lot of cursing, no nudity, no sex scenes. It was great!


April 7th, 2014
12:47 pm

We went to see the movie as part of a corporate sponsored event aimed at families of their customers. The place was packed. As I recall, most of the families contained adults with teens or pre-teens. I’m pretty convinced that when a movie says PG-13 it should be for 13 & up and then only if that particular 13 y/o could handle it. Who decides for your kids anyway? Shouldn’t the parents step up and take control? Afterall, PG means PARENTAL GUIDANCE.


April 7th, 2014
1:45 pm

Most of the Marvel movies are fine for 10 year olds. Although, some kids are more sensitive than others, so know your child.

Ratings alone only tell you so much. Kids are more likely to get upset from a PG rated eerie or psychologically scary movie than from a PG-13 action movie. When my son was 10, he did not bat an eye when he saw Marvel movies, but was terrified when he saw the G rated 2001 A Space Odyssey on tv.

Logical Dude

April 7th, 2014
2:56 pm

First of all: Great movie!

Second of all (not really spoilers): Everybody dies. I mean, the body count in this movie is wayyyy up there.

That being said, most of the body count is hard to tell if they are dead (did Cap kill them or somehow disable them?)

I feel that 8-10 year olds who read comics (and have comic violence) are okay to see this movie. Others may get disturbed by a couple of the personal violence scenes. Many of the themes will go right over their head, though, until they are tween/preteen/teens.

Enjoyable movie at many levels.

(the other) Rodney

April 7th, 2014
3:14 pm

@Logical Dude – agreed. Totally fun movie. Especially LOOOOOOVED that meta-joke/reference near the end in the cemetery.

It’s a comic book movie, with a good bit of comic book violence. I have a 9 year old nephew and I wouldn’t hesitate for him to see it (considering he’s seen all the Iron Man and the Avengers film already). Neither would his parents (they’re planning on going this weekend).


April 7th, 2014
3:56 pm

Correction – my niece is 16. Not sure that matters to my post, but it bothered me!


April 7th, 2014
4:18 pm

Honestly, the ratings system is a joke. Case in point, a rated R movie is for kids 17-years-old, or, put another way, not appropriate for someone who is capable of driving a car.


April 7th, 2014
5:44 pm

@jarvis – How does he do with spelling?


April 7th, 2014
6:29 pm

I have an 8 year old who is not allowed to see PG-13 movies no matter who is in it or what the story line is. My reasoning for the decision is that if a liberal Hollywood rating system doesn’t think it is suitable for children under 13, then it is definitely not appropriate for an 8 year old no matter how mature a parent thinks they are. I read reviews of even the PG movies before he sees those as well. It is my job to protect my child and give him the best child hood possible. There’s enough violence out here in the real world.


April 7th, 2014
9:03 pm

I went to see the movie last night and enjoyed it immensely, aside from the rude, uncouth ‘0bamaLoverz’ sitting around us who cared more about (loudly) talking on their cell phones and “keeping it real” by yelling out to the Nick Fury and Falcon characters and selfishly ruining the experience for the rest of us.


April 8th, 2014
12:50 am

A friend and I were flipping thru some old movies the other day and were shocked to see that John Travolta’s Urban Cowboy was rated PG. LOL!

My 8 year old is not allowed to watch PG-13 movies. There is plenty of time for her to see violent/sexual contet movies etc. Not sure why so many parents feel the need to shove this stuff down their kid’s throat at such young ages. I know I have seen preschoolers/kindergarteners at Spiderman and other comic superhero movies. I’m sure by they time they are 8-10, they will be watching R rated movies. When kids are allowed to play or view violent video games/tv programming at 2 or 3, then watch superhero violent action movies at 5-7, then somehow watching R rated programming is too much of a stretch at 9 or 10. What is appropraite at 8 years old all depends on where/when they started. I get that all the toys are marketed at this age group, but that doesn’t mean the movies are for them. But that’s just me.


April 8th, 2014
12:52 am

Wish there was an edit funciton! Meant to say that When kids are allowed to play or view violent video games/tv programming at 2 or 3, then watch superhero violent action movies at 5-7, then somehow watching R rated programming is **NOT** too much of a stretch at 9 or 10.


April 8th, 2014
12:28 pm

Appreciate the reviews. As an Englishman living in the US, I am always gobsmacked by the fact that here in the US, many people have few qualms about violence, but anything sexual in nature gets them riled up (as evidenced by some of the comments). Let’s be honest – our society is too violent by far, and yet we have issue’s with sex… the very act that brought our kids into the world in the first place (unless they were delivered by a stork). What an upside down world we live in.


April 8th, 2014
7:05 pm

I took my 11-year-old son to see it and he loved it. He’s seen all the Marvel movies since the first Iron Man, but started seeing them a bit later. So he didn’t see Iron Man in the theater but saw it on DVD a couple of years ago when he was probably 9. Then we caught up on the other movies. The first Marvel film he saw in the theater was Iron Man 3 and we’ve seen every one since. It might help that we did not let him see PG-13 movies until a couple of years ago when I know his friends had been seeing them at a much younger age. It also helps that his mom (me!) is a huge sci-fi fan and can talk to him about the characters and plot as well as any violence. We are looking forward to seeing Guardians of the Galaxy this summer.


April 8th, 2014
10:50 pm

We had a PG-13 rule: not until you’re 13. As older teens, they actually thanked me for that rule. That was a surprise.


April 9th, 2014
6:48 pm

@Kat, he’s a better judge of character than a speller. He says you’re a bitch.


April 9th, 2014
8:40 pm

I just saw this movie yesterday with my eleven year old sister and our father. It was a great flick, and my sister and I have been watching Marvel movies together for at least two years – that’d make her nine at the time. It may just be that she’s rather mature for her age, but she was completely fine with every aspect of the movie, and I don’t see why other ten or eleven year olds wouldn’t be allowed to see it. As far as some Marvel movies go, it was pretty mild besides a lot of action scenes.


April 13th, 2014
4:05 am

Just took my 12 and 10 year old to see this. Wow how the west has fallen.

I remember trying to get into “First Blood” when I was a kid. This film leaves Rambo for dead in the death count. I am sad when I see the parents comments above asking their kids if they are ok during the film. Might the kids need help in understanding the sight of 2 hours of exhilarating murder, point blank gun shots, knife attacks, cold blooded murder from one of the heroes – Nick Fury? Maybe the kids should be asking the parents, is this ok for me to watch? See LizBeth above – she gets parenting. Her kids thanked her for it.

Hypocritical that almost all of the cast of this film have openly come out for gun control but have made millions from films like this where the body count is up there with their salary. Trust with Hollywood has expired for me.

And we wonder why kids are shooting and knifing in schools…