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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while this 1940s-set comic book-based superhero adventure is full of explosive action violence -- expect tons of gun battles, fireballs, and fistfights (all of which are even more in-your-face in the 3-D version of the movie), as well as a scary-looking villain -- in most other respects, it's pretty tame as these kinds of movies go. Captain America is wholesome, compassionate, and brave; he doesn't have the dark side that many other superheroes do, and he's not a ladies' man or a party animal. There are a couple of tame kisses and a little bit of drinking, as well as a few uses of words like "hell" and "ass," but what lingers after the last bomb has exploded and the last fight is over are the movie's messages about standing up against bullies and doing the right thing. (That and a very strong sense of "U.S.A! U.S.A!" patriotism.)
  • Families can talk about what sets Captain America apart from other superheroes. How does he compare to Batman? Iron Man? Is he more or less of a "good guy" than those characters?
  • At one point Steve Rogers says he doesn't want to kill anybody, but during the movie he dispatches plenty of bad guys. Was that his only option?
  • How does the fact that much of the movie's violence is larger than life affect its impact? How is it different watching masked human soldiers (like the HYDRA minions) get hurt than individual characters?
  • What did you think of the scenes where Captain America performed on stage to inspire people to buy war bonds and join the Army? What does that say about the role of celebrities in our society?
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