Wondering if Black Widow is ok for kids? Black Widow is rated PG-13 for language and violence. It’s about the level of Black Panther violence, but the females take center stage and kick everyone’s butt. Is Black Widow kid friendly? Maybe not for younger kids since it’s a darker Marvel film. Here’s what parents need to know in this Black Widow Parents Guide.
Is Black Widow Kid Friendly?
Black Widow takes place after Captain America: Civil War in the MCU timeline. And if you’ve seen Avengers: Endgame you know what happens to Natasha Romanoff.
We’re transported to 1995 when we see a young Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena (Florence Pugh) ripped from their “family” in Ohio, whose “parents” are undercover agents. They are thrown into a camp with other stolen girls who are meant to become Widows.
Fast forward and Natasha is on the run after she supports Team Cap in Civil War and broke the Sokovia Accords. Her past catches up to her as a man she thought was dead seems to be running an old operation. We see characters from her childhood and emotional wounds opened as she has to fight Dreykov, the ruler of the Red Room, and Taskmaster, his pawn.
Why is Black Widow PG-13? Because of action, violence, and a darker tone. I would rank it towards the bottom of kid-friendly Marvel movies. We go on Natasha’s emotional journey and feelings of abandonment as well as Dreykov’s sinister motives behind trafficking young girls.
There is some profanity in Black Widow including at least 7 uses of sh*t, a couple uses of a**, a damn, a g-ddamn, and phrases in Russian with subtitles like bit*h and “farewell, douchebag.”
Here’s where things get PG-13-ish. The action is a lot of close-up fighting scenes with hand-to-hand combat, people getting stabbed, a family getting separated and shot at. There are knife fights, explosions, shoot-outs, etc. So yes, typical Marvel. However, in those instances you have a group of heroes trying to save the world.
In Black Widow, the story is more personal, and it gets dark, especially with a montage of young girls’ faces who are trafficked, stolen from their homes, and put into a program to turn them into assassins. Natasha wants revenge.
If you’ve been a victim of abuse or a child has been a victim, the trafficking storyline may be too much and hard to handle.
Is Black Widow Appropriate for Kids Under 13?
There had been short-lived rumors that Black Widow was going to be rated R. And they could have easily gone there with some of the action sequences. I’m glad they held back though, because Black Widow can still be watched by older kids. That’s not to say I didn’t let my own 8-year-old watch, because she has seen all the Marvel movies, and watching on a TV screen with family is a a bit safer (emotionally) than the movie theater experience.
Florence Pugh kills it with her comedic and sarcastic timing, and it’s no wonder many call her a scene-stealer. It’s not that Johansson didn’t do her job, because she did, but Pugh gets movie quotes where she calls her sister a poser. The chemistry between Pugh and Johansson make for one of Marvel’s best duos.
Is it too late for a Black Widow solo film? I want to say it’s never too late, but the timing is so off. Marvel should have made this and released it years ago. It did bring up questions for me about Nat’s sacrifice in Endgame, and although we get more Natasha in Black Widow, I still wanted more Natasha.
Black Widow is a lot of fun and it’s about time the Marvel women are getting their dues. The stunt sequences are amazing, and it’s the females that get these action-packed moves, as they should. If you’re still on the fence about letting kids watch Black Widow, then I suggest watching it first or watching on Disney+, because it can get brutal.
There are a lot of emotional moments in Black Widow that will be hard on some children, and the tone of the intro with young girls being trafficked and captive is rough. Perhaps unnecessary for a Marvel film, it does give a better glimpse into knowing Natasha.
Black Widow does have pacing issues (it’s too long), an abrupt ending, and a weak villain arc. Taskmaster is underutilized. But if you can get over its imperfections, it’s a fantastic ride – about 5 years too late. If you’re a Natasha Romanoff fan, I hope you watch it on the big screen, because that’s where it deserves to be seen.